This is – was – Konditorei, an Austrian bakery on 5th Street in Davis. Konditorei closed a week or so ago after 32 years in business following the retirement of the owners Albert and Gloria Kutternig. Wow, 32 years…exactly twice as long as I have been in Davis. I cycled over to draw it, although it wasn’t open. I used to pass by here on my way home from work or downtown when I lived on the other side of Davis, and it would usually be closed by the time I came by, being typically open earlier in the day, so I didn’t get a chance to come in here often. But I really loved their birthday cakes. I would always ask for a Konditorei cake for my birthday, and I had my final one a few weeks before they closed up, a delicious and elaborate white chocolate cake whose name I can’t remember. It didn’t last long. I was first introduced to Konditorei’s cakes about twelve or thirteen years ago when our department chair (who was from Germany) brought one in to share with the staff on the occasion of his birthday. I loved it so much I asked for the same one for my birthday a week or so later, it was a work of art. I’ve enjoyed them ever since. It will be sad not to have one next year! I wish the Kutternigs a very well deserved retirement.
I do love a pastry, and enjoy Austrian food. When I was 15, I went to Austria for the first time as part of a school exchange trip. Our German class wasn’t very big so it was combined with one of the younger years from our school. Our teacher Mrs Kellock was from Austria, so it made sense we would come there. We went to a little town called Lauterach, in the Vorarlberg region which is squeezed in the gap between Switzerland and Germany on the shore of the Bodensee (Lake Constance), with high mountains all around, and little Liechtenstein not far down the road. While I did spend time at the local school, my main reason for being there was for work experience, or “Schnupperlehre” as it was known. German was my favourite subject at school and I think I imagined that I might live in a German-speaking country when I grew up. In my early teens had a pen-pal in Vienna, Michaela, though we never met in person. The work experience I did was at a tiny advertising agency (with only two employees, the owner and a woman who was never there) in a small building near the top of a mountain on the edge of a town called Dornbirn. The family I stayed with in Lauterach were nice, and what I remember most is that I enjoyed the Austrian breakfast, especially the big slices of bread and all that Nutella, along with some of the freshets and tastiest milk I’d ever had. I should like to visit Austria again some day. Grüß Gott!