Zachhofalm in Hochkönig

Why go to a ski resort on a cloudy week in September? It’s not warm enough to enjoy summer hiking or biking, and of course no snow yet to ski.

Well, here’s why.

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Zachhofalm is situated in one of Salzburgerland’s most popular ski areas – Hochkönig. It is a old Alm with a beautiful tale of two ladies who cared for the alm, the region, and explored the healing and health effects of nature’s produce that grew around them.

The Alm is now run by a young woman who is continuing to build upon this wonderful spirit – there is an extension which includes a seminar room and modern hotel-style rooms, many out-door bathing tubs and an open kitchen perfect for group cooking. Zachhofalm sources food as locally as possible, has an abundant herb garden, and prides itself with Vegan dishes (very unusual for a rural hut in Austria!).

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We stayed up in Zachhofalm for one night and used the bright, airy, view-full conference room in the day. For the evening we went over to the main hut restaurant area which had a beautifully rustic open kitchen giving it an authentic homely feel.

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Dinner was amazing. Vegan, flavoursome and all made from scratch: a salad with figs, wild mushrooms, walnuts, grapes and an amazing blueberry balsamic dressing.

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Then on a bed of cabbage salad was Kärntner Nudeln or like a ‘Pasty’, filled with potatoes, onions and stinging-nettles.

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And if you think dinner was impressive, look at breakfast!

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But now onto the highlight. The Vegan Kaiserschmarrn with Apple-Elderflower-Berry Compote.

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(For those who are not sure what Elderflower Berries are, they are these very dark blackcurrant-like berries).

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FOR THE FULL KAISERSCHMARRN VIDEO CLICK HERE.

Thankyou to all at Zachhofalm who made the stay so wonderful! http://www.zachhofalm.at/

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Heidelberger Hütte in Silvretta

3 days of heavy snowing (at the end of April!) just before the last weekend that Ischgl – one of the biggest ski-resorts in Tirol (crossing Austria and even Switzerland) – is open.

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Big, beautiful, Ischgl with numerous skiing routes

And the weather forecast? Sunny bluebird. This means one thing: get up Saturday, take all our skiing gear and head direction Ischgl. Goal of the day was clear – a proper skiing farewell to 2016/17’s winter season.

Conditions couldn’t be better, might even have been the best during this entire season. Fresh, glittering snow covers the slopes…but most importantly, the great off-piste areas.

Whilst waiting for the first gondola, we saw that we weren’t the only ones that had realized these heavenly-conditions. Many groups of excited skiers and snowboarders were standing in the line with us. We needed to be fast to catch as many fresh-lines as possible before all of it was ridden. Of course, with full avalanche -equipment in the backpack. Safety first.

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Paradise found: champagne snow only for us.

At 12pm it was time for a well-deserved break. As we already had skied the best lines, sunbathing and food was now more attractive than staying on the slopes. We wanted to avoid the usual midday-overload in restaurants in Ischgl, and rather find a cozy, calm place to have a break. So we took the off-piste ride to Heidelbergerhutte.

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Break is calling! On the way to Heidelbergerhütte

Heidelbergerhütte is a mountain hut located in Silvretta Alps in Switzerland, almost touching Austrian boarders. It is easily accessible from Ischgl resort – via Piz Val Gronda and some nice off piste ride (otherwise via several ski-touring routes). Skiing over the border, we found us a sunny table on the terrace of hut. It was the last week that the hut is open for the winter season (it opens again for the summer season beginning of June).

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Heidelbergerhütte is a beauty in the winter sun.

They serve Kaiserschmarrn. Amazing. There is no need to read the other possibilities of sweet-treats (even though the home-made cakes are very luring). After 15 minutes, the Kaiserschmarrn was served in pan, I love this ‘authentic’ touch as it gives me the feeling of being at traditional hut. It had big fluffy pieces with two different and delightful toppings (cranberries and apple mouse), a sufficient dusting of sugar and no raisins. It was delicious, and did not take long until it was all gone.

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Our fresh, tasty and energy-giving Kaiserschmarrn

With happy bellies it was no problem to take a quick nap on the sun and afterwards enjoy last ride down, back to Ischgl.  Nicely tired driving home to Innsbruck, we agreed that we couldn’t ask for better winter-goodbye session. It was a blast! Can’t wait when the next winter starts again.

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Crossing borders. Going back to Ischgl and home.

Visit the website for Heidelberger Hütte: http://www.heidelberger-huette.at/

Written by Zuzana Gálfyová, living in Insbruck and spending all her time in the mountains. She is actively taking part in supporting outdoorchicks, community of outdoor motivated girls in Innsbruck (check the website: www.outdoorchicks.org) She is an avid and experienced Kaiserschmarrn lover, and part of the Schmarrn Kaiserin family. 

Zapferl Alm in Mühlbach am Hochkönig

Hochkonig, is one of the most popular skiing areas in Salzburgerland; famous for the Königstour (an easy to follow 32km skiing route) and the Bue Tomato Kings Park . Mid way through the day on a dreamy, blue-skied Sunday, we checked out the Kaiserschmarrn at Zapferl Alm.

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Credit: zapferlalm.at

If you have been to Hochkönig, you probably know which Alm this is. It’s located at the bottom of the park, beside the Kings Cab, and the restaurant marks the start of that lovely long blue run that takes you through the trees back to the car park in Mühlbach.

We sat outside in the terrace with the sun beaming down on us and gazed at the staggering mountain range that dominates the backdrop. We (two friends and I) decided to share a Schmarrn – usually a wise option when you have already eaten a stuffy main course! A friendly and fast table service meant that we didn’t have long to wait until the Kaiserschmarrn arrived.

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The Kaiserschmarrn was presented in a lovely, piping hot pan, but the portion size wasn’t particularly justifiable for three of us to share.

Javi commented on the Apfelmus ‘It’s is very creamy, you can really taste the apples so you know it’s natural’. Dani added ‘and there’s a lot of it which is good’.

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This Kaiserschmarrn contained no raisins, and the pieces were an assortment of small, crispy fragments, to chunkier slabs. ‘I’d give fluffyness an eight’ said Dani, which is a pretty high score for this crucial texture element. The batter, however, was a bit too oily and this slightly offset the overall taste.

All in all the guys gave it 7.5/10 and 8/10. This, combined with the positive experience (the stunning surrounding, easy location and friendly atmosphere), Zapferl Alm is a must for anyone spending a day in Hochkönig. It’s perfect for a terrace sunbathe, a pre-last run Apres ski, and of course a Kaiserschmarrn.

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Check out the website at http://www.zapferlalm.at/

BierBeisl Imbiss in Los Angeles

In the midst of Downtown LA you can find BierBeisl Imbiss, a café – or better literally translated “snack bar” – serving modern Austrian street food. The owner and chef Bernhard Mairinger, an Austrian but resident in Los Angeles, has established BierBeisl in the city, and still has boundless entrepreneurial-like vision for the years to come.

I visited this place on a weekday evening, along with some colleagues (an Austrian and two Americans). The food game in Los Angeles is strong, and although many don’t know what to expect from the Austrian cuisine, expectations were naturally high.

With wooden benches, an open view kitchen and hospitable staff, this café felt immediately like a home, tucked away between towering Downtown buildings. The menu was flooded with the finest exotic offerings: Stiegl, Kartoffelsalat, freshly grated horseradish and Leberkäse. Special attention was paid to authenticity in BierBeisl, for example, there is a bakery attached which ensures the Leberkäse is accompanied by fresh semmel by regional standards.

We began by stuffing ourselves with fresh Pretzels, Schwarzbrot, a cheesy quince dip (I feel this was the American influence seeping in) and steins of beer and Radler. Next came the Leberkäse or, as my American colleague passionately described it – an ‘awesome hot dog burger’ – along with the award winning sausages. Yes, we can ensure you the Käsekraner (cheese sausage), Hungarian and WeißWurst thoroughly deserve the #1 spot on the Discover Los Angeles best sausages list.

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Photos: Cheesy quince dip, Rädler and Stiegl (top), Leberkäse Semmel (middle), 3 types of wurst (bottom)

Enough with the build up. Here’s what we came for – the Kaiserschmarrn. We watched as Mairinger swiftly crafted three variations of the desert for us to enjoy – effortlessly serving them alongside two compote variations.

I’ll start with the texture – the most melt-in-your-mouth Kaiserschmarrn I’ve ever tasted. The pancake mixture had a delicately crispy shell, which instantly dissolved to leave a non-eggy pancake that was both light and wholesome. No messing around with small pieces, the Schmarrn was very loosely chopped, rather folded, which meant you retained the steaming hot freshness as you took a mouthful.

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Photos: ‘normal’ (top), Chestnut (middle), Raspberry (bottom)

The selection of flavours was outstanding. The chestnut Schmarrn had the most sophisticated feel. The shavings of chestnut, complimented best by the chunky apple and rhubarb compote (with plenty of cinnamon) gave it a very wintery taste. The raspberry Kaiserschmarrn was unanimously the favourite of the evening – the berries were mixed into the pancake mixture in the pan, eliminating the need for the side-serving of compote (a technique I’ve only seen once before in Gabühelhütte). It moistened the dish even further, and the juices from the fruit burst over the pancakes, creating a sugar coating with slight raspberry glaze. With every forkful came more exclamations of delight from each one of us, as we constantly struggled to find another ‘mmm’ noise to express how delicious each mouthful was.

Although the quantity defeated us, the waiter packed the leftovers in boxes for us, even providing a takeaway tub for the compote, meaning we could bring it into work the next day for mid-meeting fuel (I like that this is becoming a more regular concept!).

So thank you to BierBeisl for giving us such a wonderful evening, and most importantly, delicious Kaiserschmarrn. For anyone visiting or living in Los Angeles – this place should be on the map.

Website here: www.bierbeisl-imbiss.com

 

Kipferl in London

Even though I was only in London for a very brief visit, word got out that The Schmarrn Kaiserin was in town.

Half way through a day full of meetings, one of the others from the office had gone to Kipferl Café, located off Camden passage in Angel, to pick up takeaway Kaiserschmarrn. Even though he, nor most of the other guys in the UK office had never heard of the traditional Austrian dish before, everyone was intrigued by this dish and wanted in.

The Kaiserschmarrn came in these takeaway boxes (see picture) and I thought this rather hipster brown box was a great look for it. Despite it’s journey on a London bus, it arrived still warm. No compote, but with strawberries to garnish. The pancakes looked great, perfect array of torn sizes, and the portion size per box was good.

The taste and texture of the Kaiserschmarrn was amazing, the edges were crispy, middle gooey and fluffy. Ample raisins, plenty of icing sugar, and despite the lack of compote (I think may have been due to taking away), each mouthful was moist and absolutely delicious. There was a prominent vanilla taste (perhaps vanilla icing sugar was used) and a note of lemon, which gave it a flavorsome edge, a substitute the lack of fruit tang from the compote.

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As this experience was completely out of the context of Austria, and I was dubious how this dish would taste in a London office setting. Usually Kaiserschmarrn flourishes when enjoyed in a mountain hut mid-hike. However the delightful taste and spot-on texture was first-rate, and put many other Kaiserschmarrns that I’ve tasted in Austria to shame.

So to anyone in London, living there or just visiting – go to Kipferl! Whether it be a lazy weekend Austrian style brunch, an dinner date with a difference, a special occasion for the biggest foodie in your life who is always wanting to try the latest dish – or, as proven by the guys in the office on this occasion – go and pick up a takeaway from Kipferl and experience the mid-meeting Kaiserschmarrn!

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Check out the Kipferl website here, or visit the locations in Camden Passage or Golborne Road.

Stay tuned for the next blog post later in the week – another London special – giving you a rundown of what’s on offer in the city. If you are intrigued to taste more from the Austrian, German, Bavarian….the overall Kaiserschmarrn world of cuisine, then this one’s for you.

Stadt Alm in Salzburg

When it’s the weekend. When the weather is sunny. And when you’ve spent all afternoon in a beer garden. Eat Kaiserschmarrn.

That’s exactly what we did. And it was great.

Colleagues of mine were spending some time in Salzburg. They were over from the US and had never heard of Kaiserschmarrn (despite Buzz Feed together with LA based but Austrian born chef Wolfgang Puck creating a viral video about the dish).

It was a 30-degree weekend in Salzburg, and we opted to have a non-mountain, non-lake day, and explore the city. You can definitely ‘do’ Salzburg without booking onto an organized tour or immersing yourself into the sea of tourists that swarm the city. All you need to do is carefully select the places that show off Salzburg for what it really is, and plan your day around these stops.

First for us was brunch, at the famous Café Fingerlos followed by a walk through the dwarf statues and mazes within a secret garden, which, despite being right next to Mirabell Gardens, keeps itself hidden from the masses. After stopping at 220 Grad for some iced coffee, we continued on to Stieglbrauwelt’s courtyard beergarden, where we soaked up the shade and sampled many-a-beer.

By this point we were pretty tired, the sun was strong and it was a good while since our brunch. We headed up to the shady Mönchsberg – a surprisingly vast park area on the top of the ‘hill’ that towers over the old town. Up on the top there are lots of paths to explore, as well as M32 (museum and café) and the fortress. Tucked away in the middle is Stadt Alm, a quaint gasthaus, with a small inside cabin area and a good amount of outside seating overlooking Salzburg.

The menu is quite extensive here, but of course we ordered the Kaiserschmarrn. A plateful arrived laden with icing sugar dusting, and a pot of Zwetschgen compote, garnished with mint. The Zwetschgen compote was really great – compared with other Kaiserschmarrn I’ve tried, the alcohol taste was pungent. I enjoyed this, as it the flavor melted the plum skin and non-blended chunks of fruit into the sweet plum juice. Although the pancake mixture had a nice vanilla taste to it, the texture let it down slightly – it was neither fluffy nor crispy, instead it was something between the two, with no variation to it. The result was chewy pancake pieces. Digging for the smaller and crispy pieces in the bottom of the dish and lathering these in the sauce was the best way to eat this Kaiserschmarrn.

 

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I would definitely recommend this place to eat, and when I return I will take the desert again (fully aware that the texture easily changes day-by-day, dish-by-dish), as the views and flavor meant it was still an enjoyable and satisfying Kaiserschmarrn.

Check out Stadt Alm here.

 

 

Forsthofalm ‘Holz Hotel’ in Leogang

The UCI mountain bike world cup was in Leogang this summer. I’ve never taken much interest in this before, but since living in Austria for over a year, I have fallen culprit to be a keen winter season’s ski pass holder. I came to realize that the skiers summer twin sister is inevitably the downhill biker, and it would be somewhat hypocritical to not delve into this summer biking world.

We had friends over for the weekend so decided that Leogang was worth the 1.5hour drive from Salzburg, albeit slightly drizzly.

The atmosphere was buzzing. Dozens of tents with bike mechanics, latest bike wear tech, and the pro-biker’s crews littered the Bergstation car park. Everywhere you looked a rider, covered head-to-toe with mud was pushing his bike back to the station. We made our way to the bottom of the track, purchased a ticket that allowed you access to the viewing areas all the way down the course. The path skirted the edge of the course all the way to the top, lined with spectators who had obviously set up camp there all day. It was so atmospheric being up close to the athletes – not only did you get flicked by mud each time they skidded past, but you saw and felt how insanely steep the whole course really was.

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Climbing up the adjacent path was not easy in the rain and mud, and as the races were winding down for the day, we veered away from the course and headed for the Forsthofalm. The wooden paneling and vast deck area gave visions of bustling après ski holiday makers – to the extent that we even thought it may be closed, biding time until the winter – but as we got closer we realized there were indeed summer visitors, the mountain bikers.

We went inside the large dining areas, at a large wooden table. This hotel prides itself for offering luxurious wellness facilities, and it’s décor reflects a modern take on the traditional alpine style.

Amidst a variety of vegetarian soups and superfood salads we of course ordered Kaiserschmarrn. The helping was very decent, served in a pan with a decent helping of plum compote on the side. The pancake mixture was on the more eggy side, but the texture was well balanced, not too airy yet not too heavy or stodgy either. The icing sugar had slightly melted into the steaming hot pancake pieces to create a moist sugar coating, adding some sweet taste to the plain pancake chunks. The plum chunks in the sauce, which had a more liquid consistency than most, was not overly sweet. This meant that you could fully dunk the pieces in without risk of ruining a very palatable mouthful!

As usual, we were stuffed after this portion, but my English friends thoroughly enjoyed it. Although Forsthofalm’s Kaiserschmarrn didn’t include much variation or any special twist to this traditional dish, their plain Kaiserschmarrn was nevertheless satisfying! Somehow their wellness approach had seeped into the dish to perhaps leave you feeling a bit less unhealthy after eating it!

Replay some best moments from the UCI downhill event here. And check out the Forsthofalm website here.

 

The First Kaiserschmarrn Challenge!

Whilst reviewing, eating, talking about Kaiserschmarrn, the conversations always open up personal stories – your mother’s treasured recipe that regularly fed all eleven hungry mouths, your uncle’s restaurant’s secret ingredient that makes his dish a cut above the rest – these are the stories that lead you to believe that the Kaiserschmarrn sat in front of your drooling mouth, is bursting at the seams with memories, each piece crafted with loving labour.

What creativity do we have to give to this delectable dish? Always talking about it creates an appetite, so much so, that a group of us decided to address our own Kaiserschmarrn mastery. The Kaiserschmarrn Challenge was born.

Take six people (and note, one of whom was a vegan!), and three teams. The aim: to identify what each one of us desired to bring to the Kaiserschmarrn – what was important, what we aspired the dish to be…and to achieve just that. Three dishes were created, with the pairs making combining towards the goal. We would then all sample intensely, and explore each others creations.

Team one. Team vegan. These guys had it tough from the outset, but a brief research (thanks Google) provided the necessary substitutes. The key? Alpro Soya Yoghurt. The outcome: amazing gooey texture, a smooth vanilla taste and caramelized sugar coated pieces. Delicious.

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Team two. The team with Austrian blood, and a recipe that had been passed down the generations. The dish lived up to the rumours, it tasted fluffy but had plenty of consistency and alpine-hut-worthy flavour. The key? Tossing in toasted almond flakes along with the raisins for texture contrast, and bitter sweet crunch. The outcome: whatever an ‘authentic’ tasting dish is, this was it, and with a modern almond twist so it lingered longer.

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Team three. The team with obscure dreams of sparkles, glitter, and a somehow making cute Kaiserschmarrn. The key? Red food coloring and sprinkles. The outcome: A somewhat Leberkäse-like shade of pink (with a scarily similar texture too) but that managed to combine that perfect note of vanilla, along with seductively sticky sugar and fresh’n’firm consistency. Somehow strange but mesmerizing.

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So who was the winner? There is no winner. Yes, you can talk and debate, improve and refine. But at the end of the challenge the Kaiserschmarrn speaks for itself, and triumphs. It stimulates curiosity of it’s creator, paints a picture to reveal the intention at the moment those first ingredients merged. It somehow captures the ingredients of people, places and processes, combines them with a balance of recollection and experimentation, and binds to form a memory on a dish. That tastes so incredibly good.

 

 

Gabühelhütte in Hochkönig

A friend of mine had told me that the best Kaiserschmarrn she ever had was at a little ski hut on the Dienten section of Hochkönig. Since then, I needed to try this place out.

After Easter weekend, I was in the area, catching the last few days of ski season at Hochkönig. The snow wasn’t too great, but the Kaiserschmarrn was calling, and so skiing was the only option for me to taste the acclaimed dish.

We must have been one of the only ones in the hut, but it was really nice – cosy and small (a total contrast to the large rooms that many huts on the main ski pistes have), and tucked away behind the forest. It felt like you had stumbled upon a little hidden house!

By this point I was eager and very curious to try this Kaiserschmarrn, wondering whether it would live up to the expectation, and asking myself whether it was worth the slightly slushy detour.

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The Kaiserschmarrn came really speedily …and was so good!

As you can see, it is a slightly different approach, mixing the sauce in with the pancake. This creates a very, very moist Kaiserschmarrn with bursts of fruit and juice. It was blackberry instead of plum, which gave it a more strong taste, and a lot of icing sugar ensured it was very sweet. The sugar had slightly crystalised with the heat, and formed delicate crunchy patches – which contrasted really well with the juicy-ness.

The texture was exquisite, the batter delightful, and of course the bright purple colour made the dish look very tasty!

If you are in Hochkönig it is definitely worthwhile to plan your day around this hut!

It is situated right next to the Gabühelbahn – see the website here.

Jennerkaser in Königsee

Spring has come! And to celebrate a beautiful sunny day a few of us drove 30mins in the car to Königsee in Berchtesgaden. This place is amazingly close to Salzburg, so if you are here for more than just the weekend, I’d recommend getting out to this majestic lake surrounded with astoundingly high mountains.

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We took the round loop (see map here) which took us to some stunning views, was quite easy hike and didn’t take too long either. Perfect for a short afternoon. But of course, we had to taste the Kaiserschmarrn in the huts that were at the bottom of the Jennerbahn ski lift.

The hut looks very picturesque, lovely old wood and decorations – particularly if you go inside and sit in the back room where every inch of the wall is covered in some sort of old fashioned tool.

We enjoyed a table outside in the sun, and watched the skiers, who were clinging onto the winter season, ski down the grassy snow and come for a sunny après ski meal.

Ordering coffee and Kaiserschmarrn, we were happy with the rather big portions, coming in a baking tray dish. The apple sauce was a very generous portion too, making this dish perfect for even 2 hungry hikers to share. The raisins were sporadic, and there were almond flakes included in – something I’d never seen before – and really loved. They added a brittle crunch to the texture (the pancake texture was really beautiful) and the almond taste was complementary to the sweet pancake batter.

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Overall, really great Kaiserschmarrn, and great value! Will be sure to stop here for more when in the Berchtesgaden area.

See their website here.