Thursday, 20 September 2012

Summer sweets

Hello dear friends, can you believe it? I´m finally back on my blooooog!
It´s not that this summer I´ve been to lazy to post, it´s just that I was practically never home enough to actually bake.
So I decided to take pictures instead of the tasty sweets I had during the holidays and share them with you.

My first round-about starts in Croatia. I was wandering around the marbled streets and lanes of beautiful Ragusa (today named Dubrovnik), when I came across this very nice bakery: Sugar & Spice... and everything nice! The atmosphere was really welcoming, just one room with one table and a whole lot of cakes. There were also a couple of tables outside and a lovely presentation of home made organic marmalades to taste. None of the furniture seemed to match, but it actually did, though maintaining its uniqueness. 

 My trip continued all the way to Montenegro, such a beautiful country! Breathtaking nature (such as Kotor bay and fiord, Skadar lake, Durmitor national park), wonderful beaches (Budva, Sveti Stefan), and loveable people. I had an amazing time visiting Crna Gora!!!
I also spent one day in the capital city, Podgorica, and breakfast was one nice surprise: a huge etagere full of macarons, brioches, amaretti, coconut truffles, and and and... :D 
that was a good way to start the day.

My trip throughout Croatia and Montenegro lasted 10 days, departing from Trieste and visiting Split, Solin, Dubrovnik, Trogir, Kotor, Podgorica, Bar, Sveti Stefan, Budva. I travelled by motorbike which gave me the opportunity to stop any time I wanted, especially when there were 40 degrees and all I wanted was to jump in the clear water. I felt so free...

Back home I decided I was not going to let the fun end, so I went to Wien to see Madonna´s concert from the MDNA Tour. The concert was cool but the best part of Wien are the bakeries!
I had breakfast at Demel with Sachertorte, afternoon tea at Oberlaa with chocolate mousse cake, and after dinner dessert at Cafè Schwarzenberg with a "Wiener Werkstätte Würfel". It´s a chocolate dice cake which has been dedicated to the creative community of the Wiener Werkstätte, founded in 1903 by the viennese architect Josef Hoffmann, who usually sat at this cafè for lunch.

At Demel I always enjoy the imperial atmosphere: the bakery dates back to 1786 and there are cakes from all over the old Habsburg Empire. From the Apfelstrudel, to the Linzertorte and the Esterhazytorte, no cake is missing; even Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife, the Empress Sissi, ordered cakes from Demel. What I also like is the open kitchen, which is entirely made of glass so you can see what the pastry chefs are up to.

Then of course as you all know there have been the Olympic Games of London 2012. I enjoyed watching all sorts of sports and disciplines, though my favourite ones are artistic gymnastics, show jumping, dressage, and cross country, swimming, and athletics. In honour of this event and to remain in the british theme, I baked (yes this time I baked, I did not just eat) mini chocolate brownies. With them I had a cup of tea, but not an ordinary one... a William and KaTEA! Hahaha these teabags are so funny I had to try them!

It was already mid August when I visited my boyfriend in the lovely lakeside town of Como, in Lombardy. I spent a very nice week visiting villas (for example Villa Melzi D´eril), shopping silk foulards (Como is known worldwide for its silk), and of course testing bakeries! The Pasticceria Vittoria is a Sicilian pastry shop, which brings up north the perfumes and tastes of southern Italy. It was right under our apartment, such a temptation!

I started with a pistacchio & ricotta cannolo for breakfast and ended with a lemon ice cream after dinner. Regarding the rest, I just took pictures ;)

The Pasticceria Vittoria has all the traditional Sicilian sweets: pasta di mandorle, pasta di pistacchio, marzipan fruit, cannoli, babà, cassata siciliana, granita, and so much more, but seriously I could not try them all...

Also the cakes looked delicious!
I was less interested in searching for George Clooney, I rather wandered around Como and Bellagio and enjoyed the sun by the lake, had a refreshing aperitivo, and a peaceful dinner above the water surface, facing the other side of river, lit by the evening street lights.

Finally back to Austria, my entire family came to visit me. We had so much fun all together, especially when we went down hill with the Sommerrodelbahn. A Sommerrodelbahn is a form of toboggan run, which takes place only during the summer, when the skiing season is over. We took the Keltenblitz in Hallein, which is located on the side of a steep hill and consists of a rail upon which bob-sleighs run. But before going downhill we had a stop at the top of the mountain, at the Zinkenstüberl, and had a huge portion (this was "small" according to the menu) of Kaiserschmarren. It is a light, caramelised pancake made from a sweet batter using flour, eggs, sugar, a pinch of salt, and milk, baked in butter and served with apple mousse. It is a very popular traditional Austrian dessert.

Last but not least I spent some time in my home town, Trieste, visiting old friends and enjoying the last summer days bathing and sailing. I love Trieste, it is such a nostalgic city, so fascinating. It is the old meeting point of so many different cultures, movements, thoughts, ideas and ideals; a city which blends the old imperial traditions with the Italian lifestyle. And of course being it an Italian city, ice cream is and has to be good. There are two gelaterias I prefer: Zampolli, an institution in Trieste, and Jazzin, a new and visionary ice cram workshop, which offers ice cream in many varieties. 
Since I mentioned it in this last paragraph, I will for sure write an entry about Trieste and its pastry shops, so you´ll know where to go if you are by any chance there :D

I hope you had a nice summer as well and that you enjoyed 

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