Smile Politely

The gifts of Geschenk

Summer is here and that means it’s time to hit the road and travel. With that phrase in mind, I spent a recent Saturday traveling to St. Joseph to investigate Geschenk Boutique, Coffee and Tea Haus. German for “gift,” Geschenk certainly lived up to its name. Although my primary goal was to eat lunch, it was hard to miss Geschenk’s extensive boutique. From chocolate and dried soups to jewelry and candles, Geschenk has a wide assortment of goodies to choose from.

Speaking of goodies, let’s get to the edible kind. Not content to rely on coffee and tea drinks alone, Geschenk also offers sandwiches, soups (cool seasons only), breakfast wraps, baked goods and ice cream in the other half of their store. After placing my order, I took time to admire the scenery. Large wooden tables near the front of the store provide ample space to spread out any work or reading a customer might have, with large cushioned chairs nearby for those desiring more padding on their seat. Personally, I preferred sitting in the wooden chairs next to the metal and glass tables, as they had personal lights, which was perfect lighting for taking pictures of food or reading, for those so inclined.

After a brief wait I used to walk around and admire the boutique, my order arrived. Needing a late morning pick-me-up and enticed by the faint caramel scent, I took a few sips of my Salty Dog Latte ($4.30). Perfectly smooth, this caramel mocha latte was exactly what I needed. I appreciated that the chocolate was in greater quantities than the caramel, as I wasn’t quite ready for something so sweet that morning. Also, the salty aftertaste prevented the latte from overpowering me as other sweet drinks sometimes do. However, I recommend periodically stirring the Salty Dog Latte, as the salt tends to sit at the bottom and is much less pleasant in large quantities as the drink is finished.


With the chocolate, caramel, and salt lingering on my tongue, I started in on the Ham, Egg and Cheese Wrap ($4.25) as it was now cool enough to eat. Biting into the wrap, I was welcomed by the crispy exterior of the wrap surrounding the soft eggs, stringy cheese, and sweet ham. The latter was a wonderful surprise, as the cheese and eggs weren’t especially seasoned, so the ham provided most of the flavor. All-in-all, the wrap was nice, but over before it even began. I liked what I ate for the price, although I wanted a bit more seasoning (maybe salsa or hot sauce) in the future.

Ready for my main course, I was very excited for the next dish. Noticing it was on special, I made sure to try the Blueberry Turkey Panini ($6.50) with a bag of kettle-cooked chips. As I always do, I ate my side first. Not a brand of chip I recognized, I was nonetheless pleased. Nicely crunchy without a mess of oil or excessive salt, I finished my chips in a good mood, ready for something a bit sweet to counter the salt. Thankfully, the blueberry jam on the panini had me covered. Peeking through the crispy bread in several places, I enjoyed every bite that included an extra dollop of the not-too-sweet jam. The jam nicely complimented the turkey and cheese, both of which were much more mellow in flavor. My only regret is not getting to this panini sooner, as it cooled down much faster than the breakfast wrap. Live and learn, as it goes.

Finally, I made it to the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffin ($2.25), the item I was most apprehensive about. Having had several bad experiences with dry muffins and underwhelming chocolate cake mixes in the past, I was cautious adding this dessert to my order, but I decided to give Geschenk the benefit of the doubt and try it anyway. I’m glad I did, as the muffin was the standout of my entire meal. Filled with plenty of giant-sized chocolate chips and coconut flakes, the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffin had plenty of flavor. This was all greatly aided by bread that was not only moist, but surprisingly dense, like the consistency of banana bread. My muffin did not long survive its time on my plate.


Walking out of Geschenk, I was full, happy and ready to return. Even though not all my dishes were as flavorful as I might have hoped, I was hardly displeased. Next time, I plan to take more time perusing the boutique side of Geschenk, exploring what lies hidden in that wonderland. I also will make certain to sample their ice cream, maybe even an ice cream float. A suitable gift to myself, for sure.

Geschenk Boutique and Coffee and Tea Haus
228 E. Lincoln St
St. Joseph
M + Tu 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
W-F 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sa 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Photos by Matthew Macomber

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