Pfannkuchen pilgrimage through Europe

Bakery in France Europe

Intrepid’s Christian Schoberl is a self-confessed sugar addict and chocoholic. He’s the one to ask about all sorts of sweet treats in Europe, so it was no surprise to find him on a pfannkuchen pilgrimage from Berlin to Venice

“It was day-one of our trip and already I was eager to try some of the local treats. I went into a bakery and ordered a krapfen. The helpful salesgirl explained that in Berlin they are called pfannkuchen – a pancake. It looks like a donut without a hole and is stuffed with chocolate, vanilla custard or jam. Except beware around carnival time, when some cheeky clowns fill them with mustard or horseradish!

My pfannkuchen was pure bliss, so from that moment I was on the pfannkuchen trail around Central Europe.

We arrived in Cesky Krumlov, where some German is spoken as well as Czech, because it’s close to the Bavarian border. To my delight pfannkuchen was on the menu, but what was served was a very different omelette-style pancake – still sweet and delicious, although not what I expected.

A few days into the holiday I was in Vienna and was looking on the menu for a pfannkuchen pancake but with no luck. I was disappointed until exactly what I wanted was served to the neighbouring table. Asking the waitress what she just served she told me this was a palatschinke. So I quickly ordered and enjoyed every mouthful of the chocolate and walnut filling.

I held no hope of finding palatschinke in Hungary, as their language is so different to German – but what do I find on the menu? A palatschinke! Yet something was lost in translation, as this time it was a pancake stuffed with cheese and meat.

It was obviously time to give up my pfannkuchen pilgrimage, but no need to despair, on arrival in Slovenia I discovered the local specialty is ‘Bled Cake’ and this wicked cream-filled cake comes with all the trimmings. The next stop was Venice and what more can I say. No matter what you call them – the cakes, desserts and dishes of Europe are all delicious!”

If you’re a traveller with a sweet tooth, what’s the most delicious dish that you’ve tried on holiday in Austria?

Photo of Bakery in Europe by Sheila Pham.

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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It is a tad confusing – if you’d asked for a Kaiserschmarr’n in Austria you would also have got pancake but sliced into pieces and combined with berries – usually stewed plums.

I was always told that Krapfen tended to be savoury pancakes in Germany rather than sweet whereas palatschinken in both Germany and Austria tend to be the sweet variety.

Just shows though that every region has its own variation. I think the writer had the best idea when he scanned the restaurant and asked for something the neighbouring table had ordered. Always a good plan whichever part of the world you happen to find yourself in!

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