Walk inside the old red-brick Mecklenburg County Market in Dilworth and you can feel for a moment like you are in Switzerland or Germany.
On Saturday mornings Angelika Brunner presides over a table overflowing with elegant home-baked cherry Linzer tortes, colorful cookies and big, soft pretzels.
When Brunner was growing up in Goldach, Switzerland, across a lake from Germany, she took Swiss-German food for granted. Arriving in Charlotte 27 years ago, she realized she would have to re-create those tastes.
I had learned to bake in the schoolhouse, but seldom did it, she says. Now she took to baking in earnest and discovered she loved it.
First came cookies. Spitzbuben, heart-shaped and filled with raspberry jam. Vanillegipfel, crescent-shaped with walnut dough. Meringues swirled like whipped cream. Sugar cookies and shortbread squares, plain or chocolate.
We just had them at Christmas back home, she says. Here people like them year-round for parties.
Gradually she added more recipes gleaned from German and Swiss books.
Pretzels are a steady seller. Forget the small, hard pretzels we get in U.S supermarkets. These are soft and chewy, looped into shape by hand.
Im always experimenting, Brunner smiles. That includes gluten-free cookies and vegan treats. And after all these years in America, her own version of a U.S classic: banana bread.
Tom Hanchett is staff historian at Levine Museum of the New South: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dont miss the Food from Home section of the museums "Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers" exhibit.
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