I have been on a hunt. This has consumed me like no other. The prey has proved elusive, almost ghost-like. It consumed me. My illicit desire. The focus of this hunt was not a White Whale, an escaped fugitive with a resemblance to Harrison Ford or a Golden Ticket. This hunt was for a pastry. Not just any pastry- an Apple and Blueberry Custard Strudel.
Let me take you back to the beginning. It was a cold, wintry Sunday lunch. Huddled around my Grandma’s table in the seaside town of Ocean Grove, my wife and I enjoyed a traditional stew. This I imagine was a nod to my Irish heritage. It would therefore be only fitting that desert attempted to reconcile the German branch of our Family tree.
Set before me by my father’s mother, was a bronzed puff pastry parcel fit for a carb-fond King. Promptly it was sliced and served, and was introduced to me as an Apple and Blueberry Custard Strudel. We then kissed. It’s berry fruits bounced across my taste buds on a wave of proud custard. It was a taste Tsunami and I was swept away.
“Grandmother, I must have this recipe!” I exclaimed loudly like a pompous French aristocrat. She said nothing. I assumed this was because her hearing aid was off( owing either to her stubbornness or inability to pay for new batteries despite having more money in her bank account than a small African nation).
“Grandma’ I continued now yelling ‘ this taste like the dreams of small children! How did you make it?”.
“I didn’t” she replied. Her response hung in the air like levitating hippy, floating and unwanted.
It would seem this strudel was not lovingly prepared by my G-ma, but plucked from the icy depths of Isle 12- Frozen Desserts, at Coles. At first I was taken back. How could something from the deep freeze of a supermarket taste so good? This strudel was a riddle. Surely it must at least be from the premium range- something made lovingly by hand from a family of Gypsies in their hinterland mud brick homestead? I went seeking out the packaging in the kitchen. I was stunned to see the cardboard skeleton that once housed this testament to tastiness, to be decorated simply in the logo of the Coles house brand! Surely something this great should be covered in Gold or at least holographic, I reasoned. How could something so humble pack such a punch? I hadn’t been this floored since hearing that Muse was fueled only by the single guitar virtuoso Matt Bellamey.
From that point on, I was on a mission. I was to find these Coles styled Strudel and pack every available cubic centimeter of my freezer with their comforting presence. But my mission wasn’t to be easy. In fact it was to be impossible, much like that Tom Cruise movie...Vanilla Sky. Each week I would rummage through the frozen desert section of Coles, doing my best to impersonate an old man at a garage sale. Elbow deep in the ice, time and time again unable to find my blueberry and custard baby. Sure there were other options; Apple and Sultana (Sultana in deserts is much like Recruitment Consultants- completely unnecessary) and also a Apple and Mixed Berry. We tried the latter. It was close but at the same time far away, and reminded me of my relationship with Cats (not the musical).
Eventually I returned to the source- Grandma’s. This proved to be a masterstroke. She had, as old people tend to do, stocked up on the product based on my past favorable review. Both of my Grandmas love to stock their pantry and freezers, should a nuclear winter ever descend. I explained my struggle to locate the Strudel in my local supermarket. She then philosophized about the supply of supermarkets in the inner urban area vs regional locations. Whilst she was talking, I quickly stole a strudel. Once home, I rid all other inferior versions that I had bought and palmed them off to my Mum with a suitable recommendation. She called later that night with some news that would finally explain the wonder of the super strudel. Simply this- on the back of the box, under all ingredients was the words Made in Germany.
“That’s it!” I cried “ How simple?! This explains the exotic tastes I experienced....this strudel is fully imported”. Not from anywhere, but Germany. Deutschland itself. From the people who bought you Efficiency, BMW’s, Birkenstock, Nazi’s and the most famous Wall since China! Land of the Strudel. For the price that Coles asks (approx $4.85) this is incredible value. It must be handmade by Helga’s from Heidelberg, and sealed with the tears of hand selected Aryan princesses called Heidi.
Next time you are in Coles, stop by the deep freeze and plunge into the Strudel that God himself would call tasty- Coles Apple and Blueberry Custard Strudel.
Postscript- Marketing folk at Coles; I know this will most likely pop up on your Google Analytics report, so the least you could do is contact me and arrange a shipment of Strudel, or put me in contact with your supplier.