Namur Bamkuch
© Pancake! Photographie

The Good Life Gourmet food and pastry in Luxembourg

5 minutes

A gourmet nation

Luxembourg, land of sweet temptations. Its influences are as varied as its specialties. From “Riesling-pâtés” to sweet “Cobblestones” and fine pralines, from elaborate “Baumkuchen” to freshly roasted coffee. “Gourmet” is truly imprinted in Luxembourg’s DNA.

Making Bamkuch requires time and a steady hand. It needs to be spun slowly around an open gas flame. It all begins with dough wrapped around a cardboard roll. As it grazes the flames, the cake’s layers thicken and brown tips slowly form. The grooves are then shaped with a finger. “One roll yields twelve Bamkuch,” says Anne Nickels, Namur’s CEO. The cake and its irresistible aroma are a hit with clients. “We make it twice a week. This old family recipe has become a tradition. We even use special machines that aren’t manufactured anymore,” she explains. The cake is made in a special room while other Namur specialties, from sweet to savory, are created in a different area.

Namur has been one of the country’s top confectioneries since 1863. Anne and her brother Max Nickels are the sixth generation to run this family business. Just as the layering technique adds ‘tree rings’ to the Bamkuch, old and new traditions are interwoven everywhere in Luxembourg along with external influences. Originally from Eastern Europe, the Bamkuch recipe made its way to Luxembourg around the time the Grand-Duchy was founded. “We’re proud to have made it our own,” says Anne Nickels. Creating new traditions? That’s inherently Luxembourgish!

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Nibbling on Cobblestones

Oberweis also values tradition and offers a panoply of specialties: from macarons, fanciful cakes and sweet nibbles, over brioche and chocolate bread, to ice cream, pralines and more. “We always come up with something new,” says Jeff Oberweis who runs the family business with his brother Tom. The “Pavés du Breedewee”, cobblestone-like sweets named after “Breedewee” street, are one of his new creations inspired by the city. The delightfully crunchy, cube-shaped delicacy represents the cobblestones of a typical street in the old city. “Biting into crunchy brittle somehow reminded us of cobblestones. That’s how the idea came to us!” remembers Jeff Oberweis. Add Piemont nuts, cocoa, chocolate, flakes and caramelized sugar and voilà! Jeff loves the Breedewee Cobblestones and even exports them to Trier as “Domstein-Cobblestones”.

“I always go all out and love innovation,” says Jeff, smiling. His career began with a classic five year pastry chef apprenticeship in Paris. He now runs his family business with all the challenges this implies. Founded in 1964 by Pit and Monique Oberweis, he currently employs over 330 people across seven locations. While he’s had many opportunities, Jeff wanted to work and settle in his home country. Take a seat and unwind at one of Oberweis’ many locations in and around the city!

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Perfect pâté with a side of Riesling

Kaempff-Kohler is another Luxembourg institution. “My grandfather Pierre invented the famous Riesling pâté in 1928,” says Christian Kaempff who runs the family business with his brother Guill. “He got the idea while drinking wine with friends. There was Riesling, and they began to feel peckish but there wasn’t any food that complemented the wine. That’s when he thought, why not create pastry using Riesling? Add a little meat and jelly?” According to Christian, that is how the “Rieslingspaschtéit” came into being. “Everyone wins! Clients can eat while sipping wine, end up staying longer, drinking more wine…it’s a win-win!” he says, grinning. “Rieslingspaschtéit exists only in the Grand-Duchy,” he says proudly and adds that Luxembourg is definitely a gourmet-nation, as the Riesling Pâté illustrates. The pâté was even given a younger sibling, the “Tourte au Pinot Noir” made with Pinot Noir from Luxembourg.

Kaempff-Kohler also produces many other specialties of course, ranging from sweet to savory. Collaborating with local businesses is key. You’ll find the Riesling pâté at fellow delicatessens for example. Along with Oberweis and Namur, Kaempff-Kohler is recognized as “Fournisseurs de la Cour”, a label that bestows official recognition by the Grand Ducal Court.

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Delicious Madeleines for the Grand-Duke

The scent of Léa Linster’s fluffy madeleines, in her store near the Grand Ducal Palace,  is irresistible. In 1987 she received a Michelin star for her restaurant “Lea Linster”. In 1989 she was the first, and to date the only woman to win the famous cooking competition “Bocuse d’Or”. Many other successful projects followed, including her mouthwateringly soft Madeleines, which she has been making since 1985. “I worked on the recipe for a year,” she says. The dough is made at headquarters in Frisange, then brought to her shop in the city to make the shell-shaped pastry, sometimes with chocolate.

Visit her store to experience her joy and dedication first-hand. “For me, madeleines are pure Luxembourgish ‘joie de vivre’ thanks to the simple, natural ingredients”, says Léa Linster. A customer bought them by the boxful for his pregnant wife, she remembers, laughing. The Grand Ducal Court is an enthusiastic client, for good reason.

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Baroque chocolate

Chocolate House

Nathalie Bonn’s Chocolate House, across from the Grand Ducal Palace, makes your wildest chocolate dreams come true. Colourful baroque exuberance, luscious shapes, chocolate and cream all snuggle up underneath a glorious chandelier. The Hot Spoons are a favourite: Chocolate chunks on spoons seductively melt into hot milk. “Our speciality is hot chocolate without cocoa powder,” says Nathalie Bonn, the heart and soul of the shop. “You can truly taste Luxembourg. We use local milk and cream, no substitutions. We just want to be authentic,” she explains. Trained as a chef, she loves all things beautiful as well as her customers. Celebrity pictures adorn the walls. For a sweet peek behind the scenes, look through the store window around the corner.

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Genaveh

“We offer a kaleidoscope of flavours as diverse as Luxembourg and almost as many different pralines as there are cultures here,” says young pastry chef Alexandra Kahn. Both Luxembourg and her confections are shaped by diversity. A few years ago, Kahn took over the traditional chocolaterie “Genaveh” in Steinfort. She still uses many original recipes of its late founder Geula Naveh. As a “Luxembourgish artisanal chocolatier”, she supplies celebrity chefs and beckons with homemade pralines in lovely blue wrapping. In her Steinfort kitchen, she transforms fair trade cocoa, ganache, caramel and praliné into sugary works of art. In 2022, the pastry chef added a store in Rue Philippe II, in the heart of the city. The young brand carries the label “Made in Luxembourg” and is also recognized as a supplier of the Grand Ducal Court.

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Lola Valerius

Lola Valerius’ chocolate creations resemble smooth, colourful, shiny gemstones. They are sorted by colour and esthetically perfect. Her store in Esch features glass walls to merge shop and production. Visit the former architecture student to experience her take on pastry arts. “Connecting with our customers is really important to us,” says Lola Valerius. She discovered her passion for all things sweet when she baked cakes for her friends while studying in Vienna. She decided to swap architecture studios for bakeries and went on to study at the École de Boulangerie et de Pâtisserie in Paris before working in Taiwan. A fresh breeze in Luxembourg’s world of pastries.

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Savouring coffee

Coffee and pleasure go hand in hand. For a peek into the inner workings of a coffee roastery, head to Maison Santos in Grand-Rue, the building with the glass facade. Founded in 1928, it’s a portal to a different world: the aroma of freshly roasted coffee, machines roar and gurgle. Some of them are over 70 years old. There’s roasting, filling, vacuum packing. Ana Tavares has been working here for over 20 years. She knows all secret blends. Maison Santos is steeped in tradition. “During the Second World War resistance fighters hid here,” she explains. In 1993, Maison Santos became Luxembourg’s first fair trade roastery. Proudly so, since pleasure and sustainability should go hand in hand.

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Gourmet addresses

8 results
  • © Mike Zenari
    Lola Valerius - chocolatier du Luxembourg
    Lola Valerius - chocolatier du Luxembourg
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  • © Genaveh
    Genaveh - chocolate factory
    Genaveh - chocolate factory
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  • © Pancake! Photographie
    Confiserie Namur Luxembourg city
    Confiserie Namur Luxembourg city
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  • © Mike Zenari
    Boutique Delicatessen Léa Linster
    Boutique Delicatessen Léa Linster
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  • © Mike Zenari
    Maison Santos
    Maison Santos
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  • © Chocolate House Luxembourg
    Chocolate House
    Chocolate House
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  • © Kaempff-Kohler City
    Kaempff-Kohler City
    Kaempff-Kohler City
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  • © Pâtisserie-Traiteur Oberweis
    Patisserie-Traiteur Oberweis
    Patisserie-Traiteur Oberweis
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