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Strudelfest!

What's a trip to Austria without trying some apple strudel? We help you figure out what to look for in a strudel and where to find a good one in Salzburg.

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Welcome to our first food blog! We are going away from our typical travel entry and trying something new. This entry is entirely dedicated to food, and specifically the flaky apple filled pastry known as apple strudel. We will return to the normal blog after this, but for now we hope you enjoy this delicious diversion.

Apple Strudel or Afpelstrudel, as it’s called in Europe, is a traditional Viennese pastry made popular by the Habsburg family during their years of influence. A strudel is typically a sweet and flaky pastry jacket filled with an apple based filling. The apple filling most commonly consists of sliced cooked apples, sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. This desert is served in most café’s and pairs best with coffee or tea. Strudel can be served warm or cold and along with vanilla ice cream, whip cream, or a tasty vanilla sauce.

One sunny afternoon in Salzburg we were looking for something different to do. We decided to embarked on a journey through the café culture we had heard so much about in Austria. In addition, we decided to try and compare each café’s apple strudel. What better way to enjoy Salzburg than to try as much apple strudel as we possibly can? This quickly evolved into a week long festival that we now call Strudelfest! So get your Strudel Face on!
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Since we were going to be eating all this strudel we thought it would be a good idea to come up with some criteria to judge the strudel. That way we would be able to compare each strudel. Using a scale of 1 through 5, 1 being poor and 5 being great, we judged each strudel on the following categories:  Crust, Apple Filling, Accompaniments, Taste, and Presentation. We also included one category to grade the café, because it is an important part of enjoying the strudel. So we included one last category: Cafe Atmosphere. After we scored the strudel and café we divided the score by the best possible score of 30 to come up with a grade, A+ through F.

Our first café stop was at the famous Maribellplatz and the garden café that sits just inside the sculptured walls. We dove right in and ordered up some cafe lattes and one apple strudel to share. The strudel was served cold topped with whip cream. The crust was not as flaky as we had hoped and the filling had a weak apple flavor due to the complete lack of apples between the layers of pastry. Overall this strudel was underwhelming and did not impress, however the atmosphere at this outdoor café was very good.
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Maribellplatz Café:
1. Crust: 3
2. Apple Filling: 2
3. Accompaniments: 2
4. Taste: 2
5. Presentation: 3
6. Café Atmosphere: 4

OVERALL SCORE: 16/30
GRADE: F

The next desert spot, Café Tomaselli, is know for its flaky strudel and grumpy waiters. Both were very accurate! The café is located inside the heart of the old city just around the corner from the Salzburg Dome Church. This strudel was served cold and without any accompaniments. The crust was flaky and delicious with extra powdered sugar. The filling had a strong apple flavor well seasoned with sugar and cinnamon, and additionally a few nuts were added to the filling. Overall this strudel was delicious, the café location is great, and the waiters were very grumpy.
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Café Tomaselli:  
1. Crust: 4
2. Apple Filling: 3.5
3. Accompaniments: 0
4. Taste: 4
5. Presentation: 3
6. Café Atmosphere: 3.5

OVERALL SCORE: 18/30 *(18/25)
GRADE: D- *(C-)

  • Judges adjustment:  We feel that the lack of accompaniments skews the overall score and unfairly judges this strudel. The strudel itself was much better than most and could have been a contender had it been served warm with a few extras. Therefore we are removing the accompaniment category and giving it an over all grade of a C- (18/25).

While on our Sound of Music Tour we stopped in a small town just outside Salzburg in the lake country, Mondsee. This adorable lakeside town is the location of the wedding scene in the movie and has a quaint and charming central shopping and café street. We took the advice of our tour operator and stopped in at Café Braun to sample the strudel. The strudel was served warm with a side of vanilla ice cream and a warm vanilla sauce. The crust of this strudel was flaky and thicker than the previous two. It also had a delightful criss cross crust pattern. The filling had a strong and tasty apple flavor that paired well with the ice cream and the delicious warm vanilla sauce. This was a great strudel and the café atmosphere is hard to top, sitting on a quaint street across from a beautiful church. This one was going to be hard to top!
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Café Braun:
1. Crust: 5
2. Apple Filling: 5
3. Accompaniments: 5
4. Taste: 5
5. Presentation: 5
6. Café Atmosphere: 5

OVERALL SCORE: 30/30
GRADE: A+

We returned to the old city of Salzburg for our fourth strudel. We turned down an alley that led into a courtyard where Café Wùrfel Zucker sits hidden in the corner. It was rainy outside so we ate inside for the first time at one of these cafés. We ordered up a strudel and sat down in this cute garden level café. The strudel was served warm in a bowl filled with vanilla sauce, ice cream, and topped with whip cream, a trifecta of accompaniments. The crust was flaky and delicious. The apple filling was tasty and had a strong apple flavor. The bowl that the strudel was served had a nice pattern but the bowl of vanilla sauce might have been overwhelming. The café was charming and quiet and the outdoor patio when open would be a nice place to sit. This was a great strudel and one of the best in the town of Salzburg.
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Café Wùrfel Zucker:
1. Crust: 4
2. Apple Filling: 5
3. Accompaniments: 4.5
4. Taste: 4.5
5. Presentation: 5
6. Café Atmosphere: 5

OVERALL SCORE: 28/30
GRADE: A

With the rain settling in on Salzburg for a day we headed inside to Café Mozart, across from the master composer’s birth place. Immediately we found ourselves in the smoking section of this café, not a great start. We eventually found the non-smoking section in the back of the café. We ordered up some cappuccinos and one strudel to share. The strudel was served warm with a dish of vanilla ice cream and yellow vanilla sauce. The crust was soggy and did not have a sweet taste. The apple filling had a weak apple flavor and the addition of crushed nuts was a poor choice. The vanilla sauce had a distinct film on top and the taste was dull. This strudel disappointed in all categories and the atmosphere of the café was dingy. This was a low point of Strudelfest.
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Café Mozart:
1. Crust: 1.5
2. Apple Filling: 1
3. Accompaniments: 2
4. Taste: 1
5. Presentation: 2.5
6. Café Atmosphere: 1

OVERALL SCORE: 9/30
GRADE: F

On our last full day in Salzburg we headed to the Café Bazar terrace along the Salzach River with a view of the Fortress. We ordered a strudel to share and some coffee to sip. The strudel was served warm with vanilla ice cream and vanilla sauce. The crust was flaky and delicious. The apple filling had a strong apple flavor with good texture. The vanilla sauce served with this strudel was more of a custard and didn’t impress as much as some of the others. It was enjoyable sitting along the river and the people at this café were extremely entertaining, including an american lady over-sharing her boyfriend problems out loud and a child who decided to lick the back of his chair from top to bottom.
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Café Bazar:
1. Crust:  5
2. Apple Filling: 4
3. Accompaniments: 3.5
4. Taste: 4
5. Presentation: 5
6. Café Atmosphere: 5

OVERALL SCORE: 27.5/30
GRADE: A-

Since arriving in Austria we have tasted a lot of strudel while enjoying the café culture. It wasn’t until Salzburg that we decided to judge the pastry and the cafés that served them. In all we judged 6 strudels…but ate many more :) The results of Strudelfest showed the best strudel came from Café Braun in Mondsee, and the worst from Café Mozart in Salzburg. We hoped you enjoyed this food blog. If you ever find yourself in Austria, try the strudel, and if you are in Salzburg you now know where to go!

Check out some more photos:

Cheers!

McKenna &Scott

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Posted by mands186 08:09 Archived in Austria Tagged food desert salzburg austria coffee cafe strudel apple_strudel

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Comments

Hysterical. Given that Austrian and German people strive for perfection, your rating scale would surely rankle some. I love this departure from the other entries. Very funny. Kathee

by Kathee Davis

What a fun way to learn about an area. We were in Newport for a few days at the Goodman condo. Wifi was on and off so I couldn't keep up with your adventure. Jan's up in the air on the way to see Mac. How fun that will be. Love to you two. Auntie Alice

by Alice Martindale

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