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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Traveling – Kufstein, Austria

After leaving Oberammergau (Fall 2007 Europe trip), we traveled due East to Kufstein Austria.  The driving is Austria was very easy once we purchased our required road pass and bright green emergency vest (in case you have to get out of the car on the road).

Why would we pick Kufstein you might ask?  When we were planning our trip, my wife received some information from a friend that had the dates for the town of Kufstein’s fall festival.  We decided that if the dates matched with when we would be in the area, that we would try to attend.

We drove into the outskirts of Kufstein and visited a supermarket.  We are always amazed at the wonderful assortment of yogurt available in central Europe.  We have not found anything quite like it in the states.  The photo is of the yogurt aisle.

Once we stocked up on food, we drove to the center of town to find the festival area.  It was easy to find the square with the festival because of the banners and people.  We parked in a nearby parking garage and walked across the street to the festival.

The first thing saw were all the people of all ages enjoying the festival.  It was quite fascinating because when we arrived, music was playing and a group of the local men dressed in their lederhosen and white shirts were snapping cart whips with the music.  I used our digital camera to take some brief low-quality movies.

As for the band playing at the end of the video: Die Brixentaler, and yes we purchased their CD.  My favorite tracks are: 30 Jahre Brixentaler and Stiegle Bier-Polka.

As the band played on and the dancing continued, we walked the three block length of the festival.  I had a good laugh at the name of the café at the far end of the street.

There was a very wide array of products offered for sale, beer, wine, cheese, honey products (including honey wine), smoked meats, roasted nuts, bread, potato dumplings and Prügeltorte.

What is Prügeltorte?  Until yesterday, we really didn’t know.  I had tried looking it up on Google several times without any luck, but yesterday I found an obscure reference that took me to information about Baumkuchen or Cake of Kings.  In Kufstein, we purchased a ring of the pastry, which is crisp but not too hard and has a taste like sweet goats milk.  It was very good to eat, but even more fascinating to watch it made.

The cook starts with a four foot long tapered cylinder that is rotating horizontally on a spit by the fire.  They pour the thick batter over the length of the cylinder.  As the cylinder rotates, the batter starts to cook and adheres to the cylinder.  Some of the excess batter drips off the cylinder into a pan below, but most stays on to cook into a pastry.  They continue this process of adding a little batter, cooking, and more batter until the cooked pastry is about one inch thick.  When they reach the desired thickness, then remove the cylinder from the heat and then let it cool.  When it is cool, they slide the approximately three foot long pastry off the cylinder and then using a saw, cut it into sections for sale.

The great thing about this festival is that the town tried to include all ages into the celebration.  Even the children were able to participate by wrapping dough around the end of a stick and roasting it over a fire. 

We really enjoy visiting small towns during their celebrations, it is a unique way to experience the culture and try some foods and products that you normally you wouldn’t find.

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

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