I know, I know. It's been a while since I've updated. I'm sorry!
12.02.2019 - 12.02.2019 40 °F
Ok! So... I have been extremely busy these last two weeks and that is why I haven't updated y'all with anything new with what I've been doing while abroad in Deutschland.
Before I proceed however, I'm going to explain how these next few posts are going to be structured. I have three maybe four things specifically to write about from these past 14 days and instead of doing one really long post about all of them, I'm going to instead break them up and post one each day for the next few days. That way instead of spending an extended amount of time reading... and for me, writing, we can both do our independent tasks for a shorter amount of time over an extended amount of time. Sound good? Great! Well continue reading to find out about my first rather exciting story about my experience baking apple strudel in a small kitchen with about 15 other people. It's a story full of learning, tasting and above all, plenty of smiles!
On Tuesday, February 12th, a few of us met at a train station in North Berlin and made our way to a recently closed, very quaint restaurant in the neighborhood of Wedding. The owner recently has become pregnant and has decided to close up shop to instead focus on family. The people I spoke to about this said that the closure has a lot of people sad to see the timely place go.
The evening started off with all of us being seated and handed paper brochures that described the recipe of what we were about to prepare... except there was a catch. It was all written in German, so while our host continued to prepare the kitchen for us, Nele, our resident director and go-to person here in Berlin, helped us translate the recipe cards so that when we went home and decided to make some strudels for our friends and families we would have at least an idea on where to start. It was a lot of fun having Nele ask us what we thought different words meant and it was exciting for us when we guessed correctly.
(Some words were easy while some were hard... Zucker and Apfel mean sugar and apple respectively but Essig does not mean eggs it means vinegar. So it was really touch and go for a few of us to say the least )
After working as translators for a bit the kitchen was finally ready for us! As the ingredients were put into different bowls for us and we divided ourselves into working pairs, mulled wine was served to us individually. If you aren't aware, mulled wine is a hot wine that is a combination of different spices, red wine, citrus fruits and sugar. My mouth is still drooling from it if you were at all curious.
Our host showed us the process of making a delicious apple strudel as we sipped on our wine and then when she was done explaining she tested us on how well we listened and told us it was our time to shine.
We began by rolling out the dough and making sure there weren't any air pockets in our pieces. To do this, we pounded, beat, slammed and threw our balls of dough for about 15 minutes even though it felt as if it were an eternity. By the end of the whole process many of us were complaining about the amount of work that was being exerted. As exhausting as it was, I thought it fun to see who could make the loudest noise when their dough collided with the metal table.
After eliminating the air pockets, we began chopping our apples and adding our spices to the mix. The taste of apple slices with vinegar, cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice among a few other things is one of the best things I have ever tasted. I am not one for tart foods but the vinegar mixes with the cinnamon like chocolate mixes with milk and it is a beautiful combination. After the breadcrumbs were roasted we began to roll out our dough to add the ingredients before putting them in the ovens to bake.
Creating the strudels were a lot of fun and I got to talk to more people in my program that I had not talked to a lot beforehand. I even have become really close friends with one of the people there that night! Between learning and laughing there was a lot of fun memories of that night and I'm really glad I went and explored something I probably would not have done at home necessarily.
While we waited for the strudels to bake we sat back out in the sitting area where we were translators just a few hours before and we sipped on hot chocolate and coffee. I ordered a hot chocolate of course and added some sugar from one of the many options on the platter. The host had a serving tray with what had to be 20 little dishes all containing different types and forms of sugars. Brown, course, granulated, and a few different cubes were among the types on the serving tray. It was really cool and just another reason I could further understand that this place was going to be seriously missed.
The oven went off and we prepared the strudels for digestion by cutting them up individually and absolutely dousing powdered sugar over them. The strudels were very tart and the amount of sugar put on made them amazingly mouth watering. I bit into mine and immediately felt pure satisfaction. They were warm and tasted of those amazing apple slices I mentioned earlier and paired with my hot chocolate I could not imagine a better place that I'd rather be in that moment.
Surrounded by new friends, new foods and new experiences, I was extremely contempt.
Tomorrow I will talk about my weekend trip to Milan and Venice. Stay tuned for that!