Monday, November 17, 2008

What is a Konditorei?

I suppose you might ask this question.

This is what Wikipedia says about Konditorei:
Konditorei is the German word for a confectionery shop. A Konditorei is like a little café and it normally has a wide variety of pastries on offer. In Germany and Austria it is a very popular custom to go to a Konditorei to have a cake and some tea or coffee mid-afternoon. Cakes vary from creamy cakes to apple strudel.

I would call it a pastry shop which usually also is a small cafe. They do sell confections at a Konditorei, but the focus is more on pastries and cakes.

I think I do not have to explain what a bakery is. But maybe I should show you what an Austrian bakery sells. If it is just a bakery, only bread, rolls, and similar items are sold.

This pictures shows what is typically sold in an Austrian bakery. Most breads are rustic and Austrians actually do not eat much of the fluffy kind of bread that comes in a bag from the supermarket, if at all. Austrians also like Sourdough Rye Bread. I guess it is because they grow a lot of rye since it is easier to grow in Austria's colder climate.

Back when I was still living in Austria (about 13 years ago) there were still some small bakeries selling just what you see in the picture. These bakeries were usually handed down from one generation to the next. Since only bread and alike is sold there, they are fast disappearing. Most bakeries are a combination of a bakery and a pastry shop (Konditorei) and also a small cafe. You can sit down at small tables, sip your coffee or tea, have a piece of pastry to eat and read the newspaper, or meet a friend for Kaffeeklatsch, which is an informal social gathering for coffee and conversation, or gossip....

This pictures show what is typically sold at a Konditorei. Here you can see all kinds of Danish on the top and fruit slices in the middle and on the bottom of the picture.

Oh yes, and cookies, of course. Austrians bake cookies that are more fancy than the American drop cookie and usually more labor intensive. Nuts are a main ingredient in a lot of cookies, especially almonds and hazelnuts.

And cakes, of course. Most Americans are familiar with the famous Austrian Sacher Torte. But as you can see in this picture, there are a lot of other cakes sold as well.

This is a typical shop that is a bakery (Baeckerei) and pastry shop (Konditorei) all in one store.

Since I bake bread and pastries as well as cakes, I call my kitchen a Bakery & Konditorei with hopes that I will actually be able to open a real one some day....

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