One of the great parts of studying abroad with AIFS is the activities that get planned for you! Last week, for example, our Resident Director took us to this great little apfelstrudel shop where we learned to make apple strudel in Berlin from a native Austrian.
We started the evening off with some apple salad, apfelsaft (apple juice), and “hearty strudel,” which is more of a substantive meal than the dessert many of us associate strudel with. Once we’d had dinner, we were ready to start making our desserts.
We started by translating our ingredients list and instructions from German to English. I was surprised by all of the elements involved, including apples (obviously!), sugar, bread crumbs, oil, flour, water, apple vinegar, vanilla extract, lime, cinnamon, and butter. Pro tip: use this as a chance to expand your local gourmet vocabulary!
Our instructor walked us through each step. She emphasized that the key to a good strudel was to:
- Get the dough really thin, and
- 2) to strike the right balance between sweet and sour.
We began by making the dough and then moved on to peeling and slicing apples, dousing them with lime juice, and finally mixing in the apple vinegar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Meanwhile, we also took turns stirring the breadcrumb mix with butter and sugar. By this point, the room was filled with a delicious apple scent.
We then worked on getting our dough mix as thin as possible, topped it off with our apple mix and breadcrumb filling, and rolled it up so that it resembled a giant burrito. Now we just had to butter it up and stick it in the oven!
After a while — or what some described as an eternity — the strudels were ready! We let them cool for a minute and sprinkled some powdered sugar on top. We got to take home whatever we didn’t finish, so I enjoyed apple strudel with vanilla ice cream for the next few days.
From beginning to end, this unique event was so fun and engaging—easily one of my favorites so far! Aside from the tastiness of the activity, it was also a great time for bonding, brushing up on some German, and learning about local cuisine. It was nice to have a few hours to hang out, catch up, and take a break from the mid-semester stress. Overall, it was a very socially and culturally enriching experience.
Bottom line: 10/10 would recommend!