Our destination was Salzburg, a gorgeous Austrian city noted as being the birthplace of Mozart, the setting for lots of scenes in The Sound of Music and various other things...but you know me well enough to realise it was all about the cake!
The CCBF (Caked Crusader’s Boyfriend) and I stayed at the Hotel Stein which has a wonderful rooftop terrace looking across the old town (Salzburg is split by the Salzach river – one side is known as the Old Town...and I’m sure you can guess what the other half’s known as!).
Our first cake was on the terrace shortly after arriving, and when I say ‘shortly’.....let’s just say that our suitcases hadn’t even been unpacked at this point! Here is the striking Mozart cake:
I would describe this as a hazelnut japonnaise style cake but with the addition of pistachio marzipan. Under the top layer of pistachio marzipan was a thin layer of apricot jam. The sponge was extremely light and the filling moussey. Very easy to eat!
One of the most striking things you will notice walking around Salzburg are the iron shop signs. Most shops have them and, although they look centuries old, some are recent. This one outside a baker’s caught my eye:
Spend more than a second in Salzburg and you can’t fail to notice the rather imposing fortress that looms over the City. It is called Festung Hohensalzburg, literally meaning High Salzburg Fortress and is reached by funicular railway. The views across the City are worth the trip alone:
But views alone cannot sustain one for long and, luckily, the Fortress eateries sell rather tasty treats! On our first visit to the Fortress we had delicious plum cake:
The light sponge base was topped with plums. Between the plums and sponge was an additional layer – the CCBF and I disagreed as to what this was. He thought it was custard of some sort whereas I thought it tasted more like a cheesecake. Whatever it was the buttery, vanilla taste was heavenly! Do you think a cake has ever had a better background than this?
We chose the Fortress (on a different day, I stress!) to sample Salzburger Nockerl, the eponymous dessert of the City. I think Nockerl means dumpling but I’m willing to be corrected if wrong. It’s cooked to order and takes about 20 minutes to arrive (although due to some rather indifferent service ours took an hour to arrive). Here it is:
I consider myself to be blessed with a hearty appetite (i.e. greedy) but even I think this is a big dessert for two people. Yes, you read it right – this is meant for two people to share...and after a hearty Austrian main course!
The Nockerl is extremely light, almost frothy. It tastes and looks like a cross between a soufflé and a meringue. The texture is such that it dissolves in your mouth meaning that you can eat a lot of it – it’s sweet but not sickly. There is a thin layer of fruit in the bottom of the dish and extra fruit and jam was provided on the side.
We both agreed that the best bit was the thin crust that forms on baking – it’s squidgy and sugary. After we had both had large servings this much was left (don’t worry, we rallied and made further inroads after the photo was taken!)
After a tiring day’s sightseeing, shopping and eating one sometimes needs a pick-me-up to raise energy levels. Purely by chance we stumbled upon Sporer one of the strangest little shops we’d ever seen –so small that four customers would crowd it. It sold bottles of schnapps and liqueurs but also, at the shop counter, sold tiny measures to drink in the shop – it isn’t a bar but you can stand at the counter and get intoxicated (rather quickly) on lethally strong spirits. The Nuss likor almost did for me and, even though the measure was only 2cl, the CCBF had to help me out! This photo shows the wares on offer:
Strudel was a conundrum. There seemed to be a difference as to whether the strudel was served with a cup of tea/coffee or whether it was a dessert. In my mind, strudel has crispy, flaky pastry but the dessert strudels – the kind we had – were softer and totally un-crispy. Our first strudel was of the apple variety at the intriguingly named “Zum Wilden Mann” i.e. the Wild Man.
The website isn’t in English yet, but if you click on the Speisekarten tab the menu is available in English – it’s a good read if you want to see what Austrian cuisine is all about.
The apple filling wasn’t overly sweet so the natural flavour of the apple dominated. The vanilla sauce and whipped cream complimented the strudel well. I thought the vanilla sauce was lovely – far lighter than custard and with a strong vanilla taste. The CCBF described it as being like “thin Bird’s custard” but then clarified that he liked Bird’s custard so it wasn’t a criticism.
Our second taste of strudel was a sweet cheese-filled strudel at the Golden Ente located in the fascinating Gold Gasse (a street full of small shops selling a range of items from jewellery to decorative painted metal ornaments)
This strudel was a real taste of the past for me. Whenever we used to have family get-togethers when I was younger the CCM (Caked Crusader’s Ma) would always make a baked European-style cheesecake. This was quite different to an American cheesecake, the main differences being that it was less sweet and had no fruit or topping of any kind. This strudel filling was exactly the same taste. Funnily enough, when I was younger I didn’t like the CCM’s cheesecake but my tastebuds have obviously changed and I really enjoyed this dish.
Part 2 to follow midweek.....