Posts Tagged ‘Austria’

Surprise! I’ve changed continents. Here’s hoping you’ll enjoy my dispatches from my new home, Berlin—where every trip to the grocery store is an adventure, the produce is fresh and cheap, and the cashiers are surly but move at the speed of light.

Like so many others, today’s recipe started with one irresistible seasonal ingredient:

chanterelle mushroom

It’s mushroom season in Germany, and these beauties (chanterelles, or Pfifferlinge) have been cropping up all over menus in Berlin.

I stumbled upon a brimming basketful in the market this week and began plotting ways to highlight their deliciousness.


In a nod to my new surroundings, I settled on German cutlet (Schnitzel) marinated in tangy lemon juice, gently pan-fried, and swathed in a creamy mushroom-herb sauce.

turkey schnitzel

This dish is a fantastic study in contrasts: the crisp coating against the sultry sauce; the bright lemon against the rich, mellow mushrooms.  In short, delicious.  Guten Appetit! (more…)

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A moment of silence to remember the creator of the mouth-watering street snack, the Döner Kebab



Credit: The Local

A German news site, The Localreports:

In sad news for anyone who has been drunk and hungry at 2 am, the man who invented the döner kebab sandwich nearly four decades ago in Berlin has passed away.

Mahmut Aygün, the Turkish immigrant who revolutionised German fast food with his tasty creation, died at age 87 this week after a serious illness.

Aygün came up with the now ubiquitous döner while working at the “City Imbiss” snack shop in West Berlin in 1971. Cutting meat off a huge rotating spit, he was inspired to put it in pita bread and dress it up with vegetables and yoghurt sauce. Selling for two marks, the döner quickly became a staple of German street food alongside Teutonic favourites such as the bratwurst.

Although Aygün went on to considerable culinary success in Berlin, he didn’t make money from the thousands of kebab shops across Germany that copied him because he failed to patent his invention.

Still, he will be remembered by countless legions of döner kebab fans around the world.

“The news of his passing fills me with sadness, but I’m also overwhelmed by a sense of everlasting gratitude,” Andreas Tzortzis, a London-based editor and self-professed döner connoisseur, told The Local on Thursday.

Learning to love the meaty snack while living in Berlin for several years, Tzortzis – who has Greek roots – initially had to overcome his hesitation towards the Turkish treat.

“I actually stayed away from döner during my first two years there, but eventually realised my folly after ravishing my first one at three o’clock in the morning around the corner from my apartment in Prenzlauer Berg,” he said. “After that, the döner gave me comfort during both the deep dark of the Berlin winter nights and the lazy days of summer.”

But for Tzortzis, the divine sandwich created by Aygün almost forty years ago became much more than just good drunk food.  “There were even a few good döner places in Berlin you could enjoy while sober,” he told The Local.

Dying to try one, but find Berlin a bit of a stretch?  Head over to Cafe Divan (Georgetown) or Hamburg Döner (Leesburg) for a bite.  You might also try shawarma at Shawarma King (1654 Columbia Rd., NW ), which approximates (if not replicates) the kebab experience.  I’m not exactly sure what the difference is, so I’ll be investigating.*

*Explanations here and here, but no nice, succinct answer.  This post on chicken shawarma is also vivid.

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Credit: Koboko

What it’s called: Kaesekrainer (“kay-ze-kryner”), aka Krainer Wurst

What it is:  Smoked sausage made from a minimum of 68% pork, 12% beef, 10-20% Emmentaler cheese, and not more than 20% ham/bacon or 5% water.  Spices include seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic. 

What it tastes like: Similar to the American version of “Polish Kielbasa,” except it’s injected with Swiss cheese throughout.  Salty, a tad garlicky, and totally addictive (especially after a night on the town).

How to eat it: Very carefully.  The molten cheese can be explosive, so chomp with caution.  Like most delicious things, it is a bit of a mess.  Order it “hot dog”-style (inside a hollowed out mini-baguette) to save your clothing.  Traditional condiments include spicy mustard, freshly grated horseradish, or curry ketchup. 

Where to find it: Kaesekrainer has been popular at Austrian sausage stands since the 1980s, and hails originally from Slovenia (where, according to wikipedia, it is a national dish).  It is also popular in Australia and New Zealand, where it is known as the “kransky,” thanks to Slovenian immigrants who arrived there in the 1940s and ’50s.

If you can’t make it that far: You could try the “3 Cheese Bite” (cheddar, American, and mozzarella) at 7-11…but I wouldn’t recommend it.  Look:

Proof that some things just get lost in translation.

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