When I first bit into this loaf of bread, I wanted to cry. It was sour, a little sweet, and very bitter (not in the way that medicine is bitter, but rather more like coffee made from dark roast beans). The flavors seemed to morph--first bitter as I chew the crust, then sour near the center. The crust is hard and painful to chew but with a very satisfying graininess, and the center of the bread is soft enough for a baby's palette. I think to myself, "My god, how have I been missing out on this my whole life, why do Americans not demand their bakeries for bread with CHARACTER, bread that weighs like a brick and FIGHTS BACK against even the sharpest knife and conveys a taste that contains all the bitterness and joy of life itself? (Images come to mind of a Nietzschean Over-man standing on a cliff, watching his weaker brethren fall into the abyss below whilst he chews heroically on a loaf of bread. A tear trickles down his expressionless face.)"
The picture you see above was taken 10 minutes ago. Right now I've eaten about half of the loaf, because I can't stand the thought of letting it sit and lose its freshness. Every waft of breadiness that I smell now is another miniscule fraction of the bread's vitality, lost forever. And another thought strikes me. I need to start using a bread knife! Ripping out chunks of bread entails digging my fingers into the exoskeletal crust and compressing the soft interior, thus ruining to an extent the wonderful contrast of texture that this bread offers.
Shockingly, I have no reason to believe that this loaf of bread is anything special. There seems to be a bakery in nearly every block near Bismarckplatz (the commercial hub of Heidelberg), all offering similar varieties of bread, baked fresh daily. I can already guess at what I will miss the most when I return to the States. Before I thought it would definitely be German beer, but the bread is now a contender, for sure.