Chef Karina Rijaz at Hilton TA 521.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
It was nothing if not surreal.
There I was in a kitchen in the cavernous
bowels of the Tel Aviv Hilton, draped in a white apron and rolling out strudel
dough in the company of some of the best-known Hebrew-language food writers, a
jolly chap from the Austrian embassy and sundry chefs, sous-chefs and
The happening, dreamed up by the Hilton’s head of PR, Motti
Verses, was to promote a new venture at the hotel that will run until the end of
March. For NIS 95 per couple, you can sit in the lobby of the prestigious Tel
Aviv hotel and partake of some of the luscious pastries that are normally served
at the Vienna Hilton, the recipes for which were brought over this week by its
noted pastry chef, Karina Rijaz.
The only difference is that you will be
looking out at the blue Mediterranean and not the snow-covered streets of Vienna
while enjoying genuine apple strudel, Kaiserschmarrn, Esterhazy, Sachertorte and
all the other famous delights of the Viennese kitchen. A hot drink is included
in the price.
Our experience began with a glass of champagne in the
lobby, which set the mood for what was to come. We had been invited to take part
in a workshop on how to prepare real apple strudel. Every participant was
provided with a worktop space furnished with chef’s jackets, pinafores, a piece
of dough wrapped in cling film and a bowl of prepared filling – apples, cinnamon
We rolled and stretched the dough and made it into a
strudel, and everyone put distinguishing marks on their creation so they would
recognize it when they came out of the oven – which was actually a waste of time
because we never saw them again.
Instead, we were invited back into the
lobby for a cup of tea and another eye-popping selection of amazing cakes and
traditional Austrian desserts that Rijaz had produced. I did my duty and tasted
them all. Klimt torte, named for the Austrian painter, is the house specialty
of the Vienna Hilton and is a delicious creation made of butter, eggs, sugar and
The hotel provided us with the recipe, although an actual cake
would have been equally appreciated.
Rijaz said this was her first visit
to Israel. She had spent most of the week in the Hilton kitchens working on her
creations and imparting their secrets to the local pastry cooks who will carry
on the work.
She said she was hoping to see something of the country
before she returned to Austria.
This latest initiative of the Tel Aviv
Hilton is an attractive one that will appeal to people of all ages – the young
and unattached meeting for a date, the older and more sophisticated enjoying a
break from routine.
A cup of tea or coffee, a selection of mouthwatering
cakes and desserts and, best part, a chance to enjoy the comings and goings in
the lobby. What more could anyone ask? Vienna in Tel Aviv will be available on
Sundays to Thursdays from noon until midnight, and Saturdays after
Shabbat. Lobby, Hilton Hotel, Independence Park, Tel Aviv.