Warm Apple Strudel, though traditionally Viennese, is also popular in Southern Germany, so it stands to reason that it should be all flaky and awesome and everywhere, like croissants in Paris, yes? This, sadly, was not my experience. While it was everywhere, it was a disappointment most places. I had to be thorough though, so LCBF and I tried it at four different places--three in Heidelberg and one at the Frankfurt airport.
The saddest strudel was this one from Kamps (a chain bakery store):
In fairness, this was a take-away strudel and we ate it cold because we had no microwave, but it tasted like, well, toaster strudel.
In third place was this strudel from the Kurpfälzisches Museum Restaurant (more on our meal here to come in another post):
It was warm and the ice cream was tasty, but the pastry was gummy rather than flaky. Ultimately unimpressive.
We did have a pretty tasty strudel at Cafe Romantic (Hauptstrasse 165, Heidelberg), which was kind of a dive. The interior looked a little bit like a German-themed motel lobby circa 1983 and we had the place to ourselves in the middle of the afternoon (perhaps that was the romantic part?).
The strudel was pretty good though--the layers were nice and delicate:
But the best strudel of all, however, was actually at Käfer's Bistro at the Frankfurt airport. This was also where we had our best German fare of the week. We couldn't decide whether the place was a surprisingly good airport restaurant or the restaurants in Heidelberg are surprisingly mediocre (probably a little of both--but that's another post). In any event, this strudel was the only one I'd call great. Nice and flaky, and tasted like it was made in-house. Mmmm . . .
Even the best of the apfulstrudels, however, was no match for the various cherry streusel tarts and kuchens (cakes) I tried.
The first cherry streusel I tried was actually at the little cafe in the Heidelberg Castle, next to the giant tun, and it was far yummier than any historical monument concession counter dessert had any right to be. I somehow forgot to take a picture of the streusel, so here's a pic from inside the castle. Note the turnip in its mouth, which indicates the fate of vegetarians in centuries past: they were wall-mounted.
My second favorite streusel was at Käfer's Bistro, and yes, we did have both apfulstrudel and cherry streusel (and black forest cake) at Käfer's. It was a long day at the Frankfurt airport.
This streusel was delicious and very sweet in comparison to my all time favorite . . . the sour cherry streuselkuchen at Cafe Burkardt in Heidelberg (Untere Strasse 27).
The combination of the tart sour cherries with the sweet cake and crust was amazing. LCBF had the "student cake" (on the right), which was a cheesecake with various fruits. I really liked this place. The interior was warm, cozy, and very comfortable. I liked it so much in fact that we came back a couple days later for another round:
I had this Viennese walnut cake, which was fantastic, and LCBF had this carrot cake:
His carrot cake was good, but nothing really special like the other ones. Ah well, 3 out of 4 is pretty good.
The ULTIMATE WINNER is . . . Sour Cherry Streusel by a mile!
And now you know.