A couple of days went by, taking with them my somehow barely noticeable nine hour jet lag, the pain my whole body bore due to relentless strolling, the excruciating injury my feet sustained after several days of stepping on the same pair of birkenstock, the american flag coloured assortment of peanut m&m's I got on the last day while dragging my huge bag around times square, and the feeling of having fulfilled a dream. I had been given a shot of adrenaline, dazed by NY's fantastic ways and exquisite appeal, by how this jungle of concrete, glass and people could seem, at the same time, so unearthly colossal and ungraspable, yet so irredeemably mundane and humane.
And yet here I was, back to Munich, to greyer days and unsummery temperatures, to my one room flat that I nonetheless happen to find extremely cozy, to my unsettling current situation and the contradictory routine it has installed in my life, to my problems and a brand new exciting to-do list that got me startled from the beginning. It so happens, coming back is not that easy for those who would travel for a living. But other challenges awaited me here!
The New York story will continue some other day soon, because today I'm here to talk about the Food Blog Days 2015, that have been happening all around Germany!
Munich hosted its own this past Saturday and I had signed up for it as soon as I saw there was such event coming. Apparently, I found out about it only too late, because I could not sign up for all the workshops in which I wanted to participate. I chose the butter workshop with chef Shane McMahon at his restaurant, sponsored by Kerrygold butter, and the 'Double take mit Philips' showcooking at the Kustermann cooking school.
The day was to end with all the participants gathered at Kustermann for some food blogger mingling, some drinks and a dinner prepared by La Belle Assiette, a company through which you can hire a professional to prepare a several course chef meal for you and your guests, at your place.
Having been in some of these events back home, in Portugal, where I actually have gotten to meet many food bloggers in person, but being my first time here in Germany, where I knew no one, I was not sure what I should expect from this event. I was looking forward to it, of course, just not sure of what would be happening, or how these bloggers would be. Turns out I had a great time and I got to meet some nice and inspiring people!
The first workshop was at 1PM at Shane's Restaurant. As I arrived, the other participants were almost all already sitting down at a long table, over which they discussed some typical blogger concerns. After coming back from the US on Wednesday, and having gone through the cultural - and lingual - shock that was having a job interview in German the next day, I must admit I was a bit concerned about how rusty my German would be, but I soon figured that that day was going to be a piece of cake.
We were first asked to look at and taste five different brands of butter, which had been placed so as to look alike, untagged, and to determine which was the sponsor's butter. Kerrygold is characterized by its strong yellow colour, its tenderness and stark flavour, so that was a really easy task.
We were then taken to the kitchen for the actual challenge. As I walked in, amidst all this metallic shimmer and hanging utensils, I couldn't help but feel a slight shiver. It was a professional kitchen, the heart of an actual restaurant, and I think I had never been in one - c'mon, industrial-sized cantine kitchens are way too alien to even enter this counting.
There, we were instructed to make our own blend of butter using Kerrygold's, by mixing some ingredients that had been selected and placed on a counter top for us. The other bloggers started picking up bowls right away, and I - an avid fan and home-participant of Chopped - was a bit blown out by the feeling that I had no idea of what I wanted to make with that butter. I don't even like butter that much!
But, as I said, I am an avid consumer of Chopped and I am really quick-witted, so I rapidly figured out that my butter would be perfect with a very simple, maybe even obvious, yet delicate and pleasing mixture of lemon peel shavings, coarse salt and thyme - which had flowers on! - that was later complemented with some thinly chopped garlic. I like my stuff very salty, and I use garlic so much and in such amounts that I can barely taste its presence. It's a portuguese thing, really, but that's mostly not how germans are used to have their food... so I kept a firm and limiting hand while adding them. I shaped my butter the way we portuguese people make 'bolinhos de bacalhau', and finished by topping it with some lemon peel shavings and thyme. And then I was pretty content with the result.
All the creations were labeled and we got to try all the different sorts of butter prepared by the other participants. I found it great that everyone had tried to make something unique and that we could try so many different combinations. The ensemble was really pretty too! In the next picture, at left, you can see my butter.
This workshop was fun, and I was surprised by how nice everything looked, being thought of and prepared in something like under ten minutes. Just take a look at the colourful palette I could make on my own plate, for tasting!
The second activity I had signed for to was called 'Double take mit Philips', and it happened at the Kustermann Kochschule at 4.30PM. I arrived quite late because I had to stop by my house first, and they had already prepared one of the dishes. It was basically a showcooking, where three professionals showed how we can use all these different Philips appliances to make a lot of different things, by serving us delicious food and drinks!
The food and the drinks were really delicious and inspiring! By the time I arrived they had prepared a vegan dish and a gin based drink that was really fresh and tasty. The second dish had a nice combination of oh-so-tender beef, a sweet (? can't quite recall) potato mash, crispy beetroot and an interesting spinach sauce. The dessert was a take on the apfel strudel with strawberry sorbet and coconut foam. These last drinks reminded me of my own berry sparkling sangria (recipe made with cherries here), but oh, well, I'm no pro! During this time I got to talk with many participants and hosts and that was also really nice!
Between the end of this showcooking and the evening gathering, I sneaked out to buy a spiralizer (which I tested yesterday and which results you will be able to see very, very soon in a new recipe!) and some muffin tins. By the time I came back everything was being set for the dinner by La Belle Assiette, and we already had a small bar outside with coconut water based drinks, hosted by Vita Coco. I was surprised at how nice this coconut water tasted, especially the blend that also had pineapple juice, and at how nicely it blended with gin. There was also a cheese-tasting area that made the delights of many cheese lovers.
The dinner was a great opportunity to meet some really interesting people, and I ended up chatting with the same group of girls for the rest of the evening! That was really nice, so thank you Anna, Michaela and Jasmin! We had so many different things for dinner... the La Belle Assiette crew members were really nice to have come cook for us and the things they prepared were tasty and interesting. Take a look by yourself:
We could also have dessert and enjoy the outside in the terrace while chatting. I came home tired, carrying a lot of bags with small gifts from the sponsors and happy for having had such a nice and inspiring day! I have to thank the organization, the hosts and the other participants for it! I am glad I signed up for Food Blog Days and I can't wait for the next one!
Hope you all had a nice weekend! I'll bring you new recipes and a short post with my insight into New York and its varied food scene soon!
Wish you a nice week