mardi 5 avril 2011

Down in the street below

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Lost in a constant stream of travellers and families reuniting, I wondered how we would find each other but as the platform became a little emptier and thanks to a short phone call, a figure in a white trenchcoat came towards me, both familiar from her blog yet still unkown. The small grey suitcase was stuffed full of wonderful presents from Austria. Manner Schnitten (wafers filled with hazelnut cream) which brought back memories of my brief time in Linz when I went into the supermarket and bought them for the first time. Delicious Staud jam which made me rediscover the charm of the Austrian names (Weichsel instead of just Sauerkirschen or sour cherry and Marille instead of Aprikose or apricot); some intriguingly named Kater tea with a black cat on the tin (Kater means both male cat and hangover in German) and some addictive savoury biscuits with Bergkäse (Austrian Alpine cheese) and cumin seeds.

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The kitchen was filled with the smell of pizza and fresh thyme that first evening and on the second of an omelette with chives and blue stilton, and yes, it was just as good as in her video. I admired her ability to break eggs with just one hand like Audrey Hepburn does in Sabrina and read a whole book in a day.

Sunlight poured down onto the market on Karl-August Platz where I returned for the first time since leaving Charlotttenburg. Bunches of fresh asparagus and the pinkest and thickest rhubarb I have ever seen were presented proudly over the different stands. The strawberries were also back but I couldn't smell them and have it on good authority that you shouldn't buy them until you can. Masses of tulips in all varieties and colours, cherry blossom, jars of exotic sounding honey and freshly pressed juice. Afterwards, there was lunch at Rogacki of Matjes, or salted herring in Hausfrauen sauce and later coffee and cake at the charming café Ottenthal in Knesebeckstraße which seemed to specialise in Austrian treats (if you go there, please choose the creamy cheesecake over the rather dry Linzer Torte) and served Latte Macchiato with a huge amount of froth.

It seemed too soon to say goodbye early on Sunday morning when the first rays of golden light were beginning to pierce the grey cloud and I thought with sadness of the brunch we could have had and the visit to the flea market afterwards. Later that night heavy rain washed away the last traces of that early summer weekend when the trees turned green overnight and every inch of grass in the park was occupied by Berliners and tourists starved of sunshine throughout the long winter and keen to soak up every minute of it.

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At the crêpe stand

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Feinkost honey and juice

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In the Bürgerpark in Pankow

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It was too late to take photos of the pizza or omelette so I can only offer you another one of the Linzer Torte I made yesterday using the recipe I already posted (just one slight modification as I halved the amount of icing sugar, taking 100g instead of 200 and found it didn't make any difference to the taste). I'm looking foward to returning to the cherry trees in blossom near Wollankstraße, waking up to birdsong, finally taking a trip out to Rheinsberg and discovering its castle and eating my first ice cream of 2011 if the queue isn't too long.

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27 commentaires:

  1. I love the tulips and baklava! The coffee shop is so cosy and you Linzer Torte is perfect.



  2. Spring has sprung. and, PEOPLE, glorious people (I know, obnoxious right?) galavanting around a watery maypole. i'll take one crepe and one cafe au lait!

  3. What a lovely warm and fuzzy post. Drenched in sweet memories and many things to look forward too.

  4. Tout me plaît... absolument tout ! Et ta Linzer Torte est splendide. Bravo !

  5. Oh oh I spotted the krautersirop stall and had such a karl-august market flash really pulls on my heart-strings. Also Ottenthal with my parents last June for schnitzel und sacher torte...I am envious of your weekend and really have to book flights soon.
    I love the pink Manner bars and am reminded that the Austrian ski-jump teams have pink Manner helmets - they look so retro-cool.
    Nice post with happy memories, thanks

  6. Sounds like a wonderful week-end! Time spent with friends is the best, and the memories that stay afterwards are so special.
    Will have to give your Linzer Torte a try!

  7. @Rosa - I bet you make wonderful baklava and would like to try some.
    @Jg - Coming up right away!
    @Tracy - I know, it was like summer with 23°C, parks packed with people and the population if Berlin seemed to triple overnight - where have all these people been hiding?
    @Ju - Ton commentaire me fait super plaisir :-) Je veux essayer ton cake au thé matcha et au chocolat blanc ce week-end!
    @Elizabeth - I know, I thought of you on Saturday because I remember reading it was one of your regular places in Berlin. I used to live 5 minutes away and used to go there every weekend so it's a pity we never met up there. It'd be nice to see you sometime when you're visiting. I can't believe you also went to Ottenthal.
    @Pearl - The time together was too short but the weekend couldn't have been any better so that's a good sign. The Linzer Torte is so easy and I hope the recipe gives you good results. Let me know.

  8. stunning photographs you have here. i am craving some fresh fruit right now. those strawberries!

  9. I'm becoming increasingly jealous of your life, each post reveals an even lovelier array of delicious food and lovely places to visit.

  10. Thanks again for having me! Fun to look at your blog and see these images and feel "I saw that!" xxx

  11. I've been craving spring for so long, there was snow-rain in Montreal when I was leaving, and I stepped off the plane and walked into spring. And you captured it so nicely in your photos! See you soon!

  12. Ah Manner biscuits, your post too beautifully painful, wonderful images. Now I will have memories of Berlin in my head all some Austrian reminiscences.

  13. Finally getting to read your lovely blog again :-). A weekend of cooking, reading, chatting and taking photographs with a fellow blogger sure is a recipe for guaranteed fun. And it's spring again (although the sun is kind of shy around here this week)! And you're right about the strawberries: it's way too soon. Even more so for the raspberries.

  14. I'm pleased for you that spring has finally made an appearance in Berlin! And what yummy gifts from your friend. (She has a lovely chocolate giveaway on her site right now.)

    The deep colors of the tulips are lovely, as are the rest of your photos. And rhubarb has made an entrance as well. Lucky you. You know me and rhubarb!

  15. @Naomi - Oh thanks! I'm with you on the fresh fruit but am still trying to wait just a little longer for the first strawberries this year so they'll be really good.
    @Hila - It's true that I have a great life in Berlin and feel so lucky. The city and area around it are wonderful and you can do so much for not so much money. I'm jealous of the fact that you don't live far from the sea though.
    @Sasa - My pleasure! Thanks again for the lovely presents and for making the weekend so special.
    @Kat - At last we're seeing the same skies and breathing the same spring air. It must be so much milder than in Canada. Looking forward to Sunday!
    @P.K - It's hard to leave a place you love and I know that melancholy that sweeps over you when think of certain things. Glad you love Austria and also Manner Schnitten.
    @Agnes - Hey, I was thinking of you today so it's nice to find your comment. I'm going to visit your blogs too again because it's been way too long. It was such a great weekend, one of the best. Here too it's a bit grey and cold but everything seems so alive that I don't mind. I love raspberries perhaps even more than strawberries but still I'm going to wait before getting my first batch. Luckily there's rhubarb.
    @Barbara - I know who I'll be coming to for my rhubarb recipes! Fingers crossed I win that chocolate giveaway and you should enter too.

  16. Wow, so many amazingly beautiful images. And I loved learning that Kater means both male cat and hangover in German ;)

  17. Vanessa,
    Why being jealous of people who can read a book a day. The best thing about you is your ability to really go into things you are reading. Of course - I might have told you before - you can read fast and should try the experience once or twice. I would recommand Modiano for that, the books are beautiful, sad, short and such a pleasure to read.
    On the other hand, the trick with the egg and just one hand seems essential

  18. Those first signs of spring are always so anticipated and enjoyed. I could not pick a favorite photo from your post today, though I may be leaning towards those of food. I am new here so I've taken some time to browse through your earlier entries. I really love the food and recipes you feature and that along with your photos will bring me back over and over again. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  19. Gorgeous photos! I wish I was in Europe too!

  20. @Denise - Oh thank you! Yes, I know I love that word in German too and if you have Muskelkater it even means sore muscles after the gym.
    @Max - To get the hang of breaking the egg with one hand, I'll have to do more research and watch Sabrina again. People read at different speeds and mine is pretty slow but this is helpful for Proust.
    @Mary - How lovely to wake up early and read your comment - a big thank you, I'm really touched!
    @Maria - I wish I could photograph food the way you do though. I'm hoping to track down a few lingonberries or Preusselbeeren as they're called here to try your recipes.

  21. Il y a trois jours, je regardais tes Manner avec envie. Et hier soir, une bonne fée m'a tendu un petit paquet avec justement deux Manner et une petite boîte de Ildefonso :-)

  22. Good times spent with friends, old and new. It's precious really.

    That Linzer torte is begging for me to make it but, I will resist.

  23. comme toujours, une jolie balade pour les yeux mais aussi pour l'estomac !!!!
    j'adore cette tarte lizertote que je n'ai jamais faite mais toujours acheté en boulangerie notamment en vacance dans une petite boulangerie qui ne payait pas de mine mais qui faisait les meilleur lizertote de toute ma vie ainsi que les meilleures galettes russe .......enfin !!!
    jolie rencontre aussi

    bisous à toi et bonne soirée gourmande


  24. @MM - Quelle bonne nouvelle! A Berlin on trouve aussi des Mannerschnitten (une autre raison pour venir!) et je t'en enverrais volontiers si Vienne te paraît trop loin.
    @Magda - I feel that there are more good times like that ahead and that makes me happy. Good on you for resisting cakes!
    @Virginie - Merci. Ah, je ne savais pas qu'on pouvait trouver la Linzertorte en France mais tu as bien fait d'en essayer et tu me donnes envie d'en savoir plus sur ces fameuses galettes russes.

  25. Toutes ces couleurs de printemps, combien elles font plaisir a voir! Et cette tarte, tout simplement magnifique.

  26. Oh, I so wish I could have jimmed in on this little meet-up! Those crepes and berries... that baklava... and, of course, your divine company.