German Food Guide
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Bahlsen Cookies

The name Bahlsen stands for Germany's oldest and best known commercial cookies. It is hard to find a German who didn't grow up with Bahlsen cookies. Today, Bahlsen makes a wide variety of cookies and snack foods - both sweet and savory. Its products are available world-wide. Here in the U.S., you'll find Bahlsen cookies in your local German delicatessen.  

Throughout Germany 

The Bahlsen cookie tradition was started by Hermann Bahlsen (1859-1919) in 1889. Bahlsen, originally from Hannover, worked as a sugar merchant in Great Britain, where he learned about the english cakes. In 1889 he founded the Hannoversche Cakesfabrik in Hannover. He broke away from his competitors by selling cookies in packages rather than individually. In 1891he developed what was to become Germany's most well-known brand-name cookie: the Leibnitz-Cakes - a butter cookie named after the Philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz from the city of Leipzig.

Bahlsen was a pioneer in both marketing and production. He used innovative advertising techniques: in 1898 he installed an illuminated poster (the second one in Germany) at the Postdamer Platz in Berlin showing the Leibnitz-Cakes as an ideal travel snack. Likewise, Bahlsen was the first in Europe to implement an assembly-line.

Bahlsen also had an impact on the German language. In 1911 he created the word "Keks" as a translation for the english word "Cakes." He used this new word in his business name, changing it to H. Bahlsens Keks-Fabrik Hannover. At the same time, he changed the name of his butter cookie to Leibnitz-Keks. The word Keks (plural: Kekse) was added to the German dictionaries the same year.

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