Kathi beams at us. Her radiance & warm-hearted friendliness immediately put us under a spell, having arrived at her organic farm “Maierlgut” in Flachauwinkel about an hour south of the city of Salzburg. The farm, jointly managed by Katharina Schmidt and her partner Christine Mooslechner, is idyllically located at the foot of the surrounding mountains overlooking the huge Tauern massif. “In the winter, we sometimes get well over six feet of snow,” she laughs surrounded by all the plants that now grow in her herb garden during summer. Hard to believe the variety of species that thrive here at 1,000 meters above sea level: sage, catnip, mullein, “Quendl” (wild thyme) & much more as we gather for a creative workshop called (Make Your Own) “Natural Medicine Chest“. The course, which takes place as part of the creative festival week “Natura.Kreativ” in Altenmarkt is well attended; with the jointly held workshop “Baking Bread & Culinary souvenirs” counting close to 30 participants in Kathi’s comfy kitchen room! Kathi delivers her goods as far as the city of Salzburg, receiving the flour for her bread from the original Fuchsmühle Mill in Anthering, which I have already had the pleasure of visiting during the Salzburg Gourmet Festival earlier this year: Pure, authentic ingredients to our experience of baking typical farm bread!
“First, we start by mixing the bread dough. I need a few hands! Then, we weigh and knead; see how delicate the dough feels?”
Kathi is mirrored in delight and joy by her daughter, who I immediately recognize from my first visit to this bread baking course over a year ago. She helps to keep track of the baking process with so many hands and inquisitive course participants floating around. Each participant receives a detailed list of ingredients and quantities for baking at home, as well as Kathi’s phone number: “Should you have any questions, just give me a call – yours, Kathi!” Cool!
But it is not only fresh bread we learn how to bake. We also learn to make a fresh herb spread and homemade jam! Whatever is left after we finish our tasting gets bottled and handed as a souvenir to each participant. The freshly cooked jam from blueberries harvested during summer is a true delight! Not even a single crumb is left from our bread, passed around during the evening event “Natura.Entfaltung” where all works of the creative course participants of the Natura.Kreativ are presented. Altenmarkt here in Salzburg really gets our creative juices flowing!
For the first time during the “Natura.Kreativ” creative mountain festival, Kathi offers a course on how to make your own “Natural Medicine Chest”. I realize: Herbs are a girl’s best friend!
“Elena, you are just too young for these things!” : D
What might sound like a nice compliment, is in actual fact the “bitter truth” about my modest knowledge of the natural healing processes of many plant species that exist around us. “All that we need to live, is contained in the plant – either to strengthen our health or to avoid a certain condition or illness. Citrus fruit or olive oil, for instance, both cool the body and therefore grow more in the southern realms. We can, however, also get our Vitamin C in sufficient quantities from local, ‘warming’ plants such as nettle or spinach leaves!” Listening to Kathi is like learning all there is to know about health, nutrition and good food. I really want to come back and join one of her courses, lectures & seminars about herbs again soon: The opportunity to stay directly on her Maierlgut farm including the delight of her freshly baked bread, a homemade herb sauna and comfy rooms makes for a perfect combination I believe.
The “Natura.Kreativ” creative mountain festival with well over a dozen different creative courses featuring painting, crafts, vocal training and singing here in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee has again completely thrilled me this year. Everything that we learned in less than a week’s time, everything that we sung, worked, drilled, painted, baked, filled and made, is really quite unbelievable. Check out my “joy of creation” over having painted a most beautiful cityscape from Porto in Portugal, for instance! Now, I can only hope to see you back in 2015 for some more creative travel adventures in Salzburg? 🙂
Disclaimer: We have been invited by Altenmarkt-Zauchensee Tourism Destination in order to experience the Natura.Kreativ Creative Mountain Summer in Salzburg. All opinions are my own.