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German foods featured at Bridgton's Community Cultural Celebration

September 23, 2006

“I can’t believe it,” said Earl Morse. “I made 12 quarts of Goulaschuppe (Goulash soup) and it was gone in only an hour! If I’d known it was going to be such a popular item I’d have made more. But next time, I’ll need a bigger pot - this batch took me three days to make!”

Morse and his wife Joanne are members of the German Stammtisch, a group of German-speakers who gather twice a month in Bridgton to speak German and learn about German culture. The Stammtisch group wanted to share the culture and cuisine of Germany with people of the Lakes Region and set up a small German café, or Konditorei, as part of the nine-day Community Cultural Celebration.

Earl Morse dishes out bowls of hearty
Goulaschsuppe (Goulash soup) to visitors to
Eine Kleine Konditorei (a small café)
at the Community Cultural Celebration.
Photo by Allen Crabtree

No visit to Germany or Austria is complete without spending some time in a Konditorei. These delightful coffee and pastry shops are in every town and city and are favorite destinations for walks in the country. There visitors can dawdle over a cup of Kaffee and a slice of Kuchen or a Frucht Tort while enjoying conversation with friends and neighbors.

On September 23rd visitors to Bridgton filled the basement of the Bridgton United Methodist Church to enjoy some warm German gemutlichkeit at Eine Kleine Konditorei (a small café). Small tables with fresh flowers and colorful menus in German and English greeted visitors, while German music played in the background and scenes from German cities and countryside were displayed on a screen and in posters on the walls.

Filling one entire end of the room was a long table laden down with German pastries including Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake), Kaesekuchen (cheese cake), Apfelkuchen (apple cake), Frucht Toertchen (Fruit tarts) and several other cakes and pastries. In the kitchen a crew prepared elegte Brote (open faced sandwiches), Goulaschsuppe (Goulash soup) and other authentic German cuisine. Even the coffee was imported from Germany!

Every table was full and there was a long line waiting to make their pastry selection. The German night attendance exceeded expectations and the café was completely sold out of food after only two hours. Morse’s Goulash soup was a big hit, as were the cakes and pastries.

Visitors to Eine Kleine Konditorei (a small café) at the
Community Cultural Celebration in Bridgton
were offered a dazzling selection of
home-made German pastries and specialities.
Photo by Allen Crabtree

“This reminds me of our trip to Germany,” said one satisfied customer having just finished a fruit tart. “I wish there was a place where we could buy these wonderful pastries every day!”

Different countries and cultures were featured each day of the Community Cultural Celebration including Ireland, Korea, China, the Marshall Islands, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Native Americans. This is the first time that this celebration has been held, and there are plans to hold it next year as well.

“We have tried to represent German culture to give visitors a little glimpse of a delightful part of the world,” said Joanne Morse. “It is important that we all have a better understanding and appreciation of the diversity of cultures around the world.”

If anyone is interested in learning more about the German Stammtisch, they can call Earl or Joanne Morse at (207) 583-2879 or e-mail him or her at . The group meets the first and third Friday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Bridgton Community Center.

Last updated September 23, 2006

Copyright © 2006, Allen Crabtree

Published in the Portland Press Herald Neighbors section on October 5, 2006