The largest province in the small country of Austria is known for a generous amount of delicacies: not only is poppy the source of much deliciousness but also a little yellow-green fruit which, in the region of Waldviertel, is known as Kriecherl.
As long as I can remember, we’ve had this fruit fill the table in the house that sits quaintly in a small village in Waldviertel, an area in Lower Austria. And it still does: Our Kriecherl come from a small tree that leans ever so dearly against the side of my grandparents’ house and the tree sparks so many memories: I remember my grandmother mowing the grass and sneaking over to the tree to devour a Kriecherl or two. I remember her picking the ripe ones that had fallen to the ground and watched her bring them back to the small and simple kitchen of the farm house.
Kriecherl are delicate little things and harvesting them requires a good amount of manual labor. They also don’t hold for long so my grandma used to make marmalade and syrup. While she would cook, my grandfather, my parents, my brother and I would sneak some of the fruits and hide them in our mouths before they were transformed into other deliciousness.
Memories I hold so dearly.
On one of our walks in the village, Y noticed the tree and confused them for little apples. He mentioned that the fruit was nothing he had ever seen before and it also tasted nothing like he has ever eaten before. I had no idea how to translate the name of the fruit so I started some research. After some studying the internet, I discovered that Mirabelle plums are, for some weird reason, illegal in the United States. Just as randomly illegal these delicious fruits are illegal Kinder Surprise are illegal too. Odd, isn’t it?
As all the Kricherl were laying on the ground and some diligent bees had already started to suck the
sugar out of the fruit and devour its sweetness, I decided to pick them all up and make something special out of them — marmalade.
Spending this weekend in my grandparent’s sweet farm house was the hardest weekend ever in my life. As a kid, when I made the most beautiful memories with my grandparents, I never thought of the fact that life is so very fragile and that the memories you made with the most precious humans in your life will at some point remain memories only.
It sounds odd, but picking up the Kriecherl and transforming them into marmalade the next day made me feel like my grandmother was close to me. And it made me realize, that even though she might not stand right next to me for all the beautiful adventures my life has to offer, she will forever be in my heart.
In loving memory of my beautiful Oma!
In loving memory of my handsome Opa!
The most adoring couple I know.