Cinnamon, the one from Ceylon, is my favourite seasoning in winter, as far as I’m concerned, it needs cold temperatures to develop its charm, and some apples from our garden, slightly sour and ever so organic apples. All through winter, my family’s entire house smells of my mother’s cinnamon-apple-pies, flanked by some roses from the hall, like an edible version of Estée Lauder’s Youth-Dew perfume. Anyway, when we were having them some time ago, with tea of course, they’re best with some strong tea, it started snowing, which always puts a smile in my face, and then it started snowing heavily, really heavily, and then I stopped smiling and started worrying if I would make it to the station to get my train to Berlin. There were no more cars on the streets. Frozen traffic. Thanks to the only taxi company that hadn’t given up, I made it to the station, I enjoyed a 10 km/h one-man show and was deeply impressed by the driver’s unyielding performance, he laughed in the snow’s face, and it wasn’t a pretty face—if Napoleon had been surrounded by such hardy people and striving, the Russians would speak French today. But I would have made it on time no matter what though, as my train arrived four hours late. Apparently, Napoleon’s soldiers were all reborn as Deutsche Bahn engineers.
This morning, I felt very French. Very, very French. So, instead of having my usual toasts with tea, I had to leave the house to get some Franzbrötchen at my local organic bakery. They are not really French like a croissant, but the Franz-part of the word comes from the time when Germany was occupied in the early 1800s, when Napoleon had just invaded the country, and he was definitely a Frenchman, a Franzos’. Nothing lasts forever, and the Russians made him go back to where he came from—later the French got sick of him, too, and sent him far off to St.Helena, an island so secluded nobody really knows where it is. Anyway, Franzbrötchen are part of the culinary leftovers of that time and I do enjoy them a great deal: a buttery, crispy, cinnamon flavoured delight to have with your coffee in the morning, and, in my case, François Truffaut’s masterpiece “The Last Metro”. As I’ve said, I felt very, very French this morning.
Quarkbällchen, curd balls, are best when dipped in hot coffee. They soak your morning blend all up, mine is an organic single origin from Ethiopia at the moment, and the sugar coat sweetens it ever so crispily. It’s really the best start in the day. Just make sure to be alone when you take your breakfast like that. Eating them like that, one tends to look like a toothless old caveman. It’s not very becoming. If you want to get rid of your partner though, you better start a curd-ball-coffee-dipping-diet right away…
The best thing about having a garden is having an apple tree in that garden, especially one that carries Boskop as these are the best for baking apple cakes. They’re slightly sour which presents a nice contrast to the sweetness of the dough and wonderfully aromatic. We had lots, this year, and thus we had to make a lot of apple pies, and apple cakes, and apple tarts, and apple jalousies, and, well, you get the point, don’t you? What’s second best about having an apple tree in your garden is the fact that you really know every single apple growing on it is as organic and as healthy as it possibly gets. So, here’s to you, good old apple tree of mine!
Sometimes, when I’m awfully low, when the world is cold, I feel a glow just thinking of Sprüngli’s Himbeertorte and the way it once looked on my balcony’s marble table in Zurich. The raspberries were red and firm and tasted like real raspberries, grown on a real field, not like these wannabe raspberries from God-knows-where, that just look good, but taste like, well, nothing, like chewable air if you do need a reference. The rest of it was sweet and soft, a creamy delight with a hint of almonds, and just to be fair, I’m giving you a similar reference: to me, it tasted like a chewable 1998 Château Yquem.
Our baker is the strangest baker on this planet; his brötchen never taste the same, nor do they ever look the same. One day, they’re almost burnt, the next day, they’re white as a geisha. When you buy them, you never know whether they’re crispy outside and airy and light inside or deplorably squashy inside and out, you never know if you will enjoy your breakfast or not. Why that is, we have never found out. It seems as if the only consistency in his life was being inconsistent. The same goes for his bread by the way. He’s consistently inconsistent here, too. I hate reliable people, I really do.