Category Archives: Etc.

Franc Kramberger: Master Baker and Pastry Chef

Franc Kramberger: Master Baker and Pastry Chef:

My paternal grandfather, Franc Kramberger, born in Maribor, Slovenia (1908 – 1983), arrived in Montreal, Canada via Graz, Austria in 1956. Arriving with his family (his wife, Maria, my father, Maksimilian, along with his brother, Frank, and Frank’s wife and son), my grandfather (Opa) set out to find work doing with he did best: bake fine European tortes and pastries.

He spent most of his career at the old (long gone, sigh!) St. Lawrence Bakery, located on the street of the same name, commonly know as the “Main” by Montrealers. In later years, it was renamed “La Vieille Boulangerie St-Laurent”, to accommodate Quebec French language laws. Still cannot, to this day, find a place in Montreal that makes Honey Cake as good as I remember from this old bakery.

As indicated on his diploma (see image of Mojstrski Izprit…”Master Exams”), he graduated in in his trade in1935 from the institute in Ljubljana.

Growing up, I was privileged to indulge in such exquisite delights such as Walnut, Dobos, and Punchtort! Especially loved my Opa’s Cremechnitte (laced with, perhaps, a bit too much rum!).

And we never had to be concerned with birthday cakes. Opa always baked for all family occasions.

Happy Chinese New Year! The Year of the Horse (馬 午).

Happy Chinese New Year! The Year of the Horse (馬 午).

The Horse is one of the 12-year cycle of animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar.

Those born in the year of the horse will encounter the Year of Birth (Benming Nian). It is believed they will offend Taisui, the god in charge of fortune, so their finances may fluctuate. In terms of career, it is advised to keep the peace between colleagues.

For everyone else, the year ahead will bring health and prosperity. It is said to be an excellent time to travel, as the next 12 months will bring good luck. You are advised to mingle with the locals, savour authentic cuisine and discover somewhere you have never been before.

Mom, Ducklings & One Busy Street

My good friend and fellow (and very talented) artist, Judy Csukly, recently had a wonderful encounter with a fair-feathered family while driving through St. Lambert.

In her own words:

“This family of ducklings with Mom  was in St. Lambert this week on the busy streets and I was able to run out  of my car and take these shots…she did have a guardian (the fellow on the  bike) holding back the traffic…she was trying to make it to the river….a  long walk and at the end of this street is a busy 3 lane high speed  highway…hope the bike guy helped them there?????”

“P.S. the President of the U.S.  could not have stopped the traffic any better…buses, cars, people running  out of homes with cameras etc…it really was a touching site…so wanted to  share it with you…one very special moment of  love.”

– Judy

Vienna: City of Cafes

I recently returned from an amazing visit to Vienna. What a stunning city, with architecture that is more art than structure.

And the food! After a large schnitzel or other very filling meal, I always left room for a scrumptious – and most decadent – torte or pastry.

One of the classic cafes I strolled into is The Demel Café, located at Kohlmarkt 14, in the heart of Vienna.

The Demel’s origins go back to 1786 when confectionary assistant Ludwig Dehne from Wuerttemberg first settled in Vienna. And it’s been delicious ever since!

On several floors the confectioners produce the typical Demel classics as they have been doing for over 200 years. Cakes, tea scones, strudels and other homemade confectionary, all made by hand on the premises tempted my taste buds…and challenged my diet!

And don’t forget to see the bakery, where, behind large glass windows on the ground floor, you can look over the shoulders of the master bakers as they display their craftsmanship. It’s hard not to salivate as you watch apple strudels drawn and laid out, and my favourite… Sacher tortes assembled and decorated!

The café is often packed, but be patient and try to get a seat at the front café bar. Well worth the wait.

And it’s not just the sights that will delight; the smell of chocolate and other sweets is almost intoxicating.

I am truly addicted and cannot wait to go back for another “fix”.


– Robert