As with any holiday to a foreign country, when you visit CLC World’s Alpine Centre in Austria, you’re sure to come across some weird and wonderful names for the first time on restaurant menus. After all, German (the official language of Austria) likes to cram as many syllables as possible into a single word.
And, while you may have had the lowdown on such highlights as world-class skiing and stunning mountain scenery during your visit to a CLC World Travel Centre, you may still be blissfully unaware of some of the Austrian gourmet delights awaiting discovery.
Introducing the Kaiserschmarrn
In a nutshell, the Kaiserschmarrn is a torn pancake – comfort food, Austrian Alps style, made with a simple list of ingredients but oh so tasty and satisfying, especially when eaten piping hot in the fresh mountain air.
Where should you look for it on the menu?
For purists, especially in the Salzburg region of Austria where CLC Alpine Centre is located, a Kaiserschmarrn is considered a classic dessert dish. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be the main course!
So I should only eat it for dessert?
Not at all! Like any pancake, a Kaiserschmarrn can be eaten at any time of the day and garnished with almost anything sweet (and the odd savoury accompaniment such as potato as well). Variations include fresh fruits such as apples or berries, fruit compote, whipped cream – even raisins soaked in rum for the adults!
It tastes great at breakfast, for brunch, as a snack, or, of course, for dessert. Some skiers swear by it and we agree with them that it’s the perfect recipe to warm up in our Alpine Centre in Austria after a long day’s skiing.
What does Kaiserschmarrn mean?
The name can be broken down into two words: ‘Kaiser’ – meaning Emperor, and ‘schmarrn’, a tricky word to translate but close in meaning to mess or nonsense – which explains its other name, the Emperor’s Mess. We have Austrian Emperor (and Hungarian King) Franz Josef I (1830-1916) to thank for this traditional dish, although no-one seems to agree on exactly how or why his pancakes started to be torn up.
As one story goes, the Kaiser used to break his pancake into little pieces to eat it, and his chef found it easier to just prepare it this way, while another tale suggests his wife could never flip a pancake and decided to shred it into little pieces instead.
Whatever the real reason, we agree with the Kaiser: this is a delicious way to eat pancakes!
Where can I try Kaiserschmarrn in Austria?
The friendly team at CLC World Alpine Resort will be able to recommend the best examples of Kaiserschmarrn to taste close to the resort: cosy ski huts and chalets that each have their own twist on this classic dish.