Greetings from sunny Melbourne. In fact, Melbourne in Spring is actually sunnier and warmer than Berlin was this Summer. But c'est la vie, or should I say so ist das Leben.
So I left you all hanging for Schneeballen, which we were told to look for in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, but actually found in the gorgeous university town of Heidelberg. The pastry derives its name its shape and size – round and roughly the size of a large snowball.
We first spied these delicacies of the region in the main tourist strip, in more than one touristy-looking shop. Schneeballen of all varieties were lined up in a six-by-six display, enticing people from the street to come in and sample.
|the variety of schneeballen on display|
Overwhelmed by choice, we took a while to decide which we would buy. The traditional flavour is a simple dusting of powdered sugar while still hot, however we chose one with cinnamon sugar and one with pistachio and marzipan (almost like a Mozartkugel, but in the form of a schneeball). We took possession of our treats and hurried away to eat them on a church step of all places. I would soon find that this was rather fitting.
Biting into a schneeball is rather difficult to do. We should know, we tried. Rather, it is easier to break the pastry apart, which is rather easy to do given how it is constructed. Without being told, Mr von S and I concluded that the schneeball would have first come about from the off-cuts of other pastries. The good German people, ever frugal and resourceful, saw opportunity in the off-cuts and thus the schneeball was born. Tasting like a cross between Italian crustoli and shortbread, the schneeball in its dough form is cut with a crinkle roller, and then roughly formed into a ball before being deep fried for half a minute. The result is a golden-brown biscuit which is then seasoned in a variety of ways.
The cinnamon sugar schneeball tasted very much like a normal biscuit/shortbread. The pieces fell apart easily and we picked our way through the ball looking for the best-seasoned pieces. The pistachio marzipan schneeball was a much messier affair. Half covered in milk chocolate, we had to be a bit smarter about eating this specimen on such a warm day. In search of the marzipan heart, I picked through the jigsaw of pastry in search of the ultimate piece which had both elements of chocolate and marzipan.
|chocolate, pistachio and marzipan|
My earlier mention of Mozartkugel was then apt, as the taste of the schneeball mimicked aspects of the Austrian confectionery. The initial crunch of biscuit was pleasant enough, but with the addition of milk chocolate AND pistachio AND marzipan, the schneeball quickly became too rich. After thanking God for creating the schneeball in a country I would soon be leaving (seriously, if these things were in Australia, I would be in trouble), I managed to get half way through my now-sticky mess before calling it quits.
If you're ever in Heidelburg or Rothenburg ob der Taube, you'll notice the homeless people are all rather plump most likely owing to the fact that tourists like me could never possibly finish an entire schneeball in one sitting!
Next...a quick stop in Munich for lunch at the Augustine beer hall.