Countess Harriet Walderdorff and Newberry-award-winning author Konisburg are soulmates, though they live oceans apart.
Walderdorff, like Konisburg, knows the hollow and the whole.Hollow years of poverty and war.
Whole years of prestige and prosperity.
Born to John Quincy Adams, a portrait painter, Walderdorff grew up in a privileged, culturally rich environment. Her grandfather, Charles, the son of President John Quincy Adams, was a renowned opera singer with the Vienna Imperial Opera. When Charles returned to the United States, he left Walderdorff's father, John, studying art in Austria, Germany and France.
A child of illustrious heritage, Walderdorff grew up in the midst of dignitaries, artists and intellectuals. Much of her youth was spent in the home of her grandparents, but her education extended beyond the home to exclusive finishing schools.
Ironically, a treasured childhood memory revolved around an agricultural experience and molded Walderdorff's future thinking.
"After I completed my leaving exams, I went to work on a farm in Upper Austria . I learned to mow, milk and harvest corn with a sickle. When I looked out across the vast cornfield, I thought, `This is quite impossible!' Someone told me not to look at the whole field when you are working, but to concentrate on the little area in front of you. That advice anchored my whole life," the countess recalled.
Years of economic depression and war left Walderdorff mired in unpredictable circumstances. Austria required rebuilding, and the countess collected her stoic determination and joined the restoration by renovating a building and opening a hotel.
Author Eleanore Thun described the countess as "an extraordinary woman who didn't have the slightest clue about hotel management, yet nevertheless managed to create one of the most famous hotels in the world virtually overnight. She couldn't cook but made her restaurant a meeting point for international gourmets."
The hotel was the Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg, a grand old house restored to a first-class hotel but maintaining the intimate, warm ambience of a personal residence.
Walderdorff's influence filled the country classic hostelry.
"I didn't want to make a souvenir shop of the inn or concentrate on the yodeling fun atmosphere that's so Austrian touristy. My style is a peasant style, one of understated elegance without luxury," the countess said.
The same philosophy prevails in the "grandchild" of the European inn born in Deer Valley's Silverlake Village, the Goldener Hirsch Inn.
According to Ann MacQuoid, public relations director for the Deer Valley inn, "The countess is our mentor, a surrogate mother of sorts. She gave us her blessing and her advice as we established a blend of American and European hospitality here."
Critical to the hospitality offered at the Hirsch is the European Alpine menu developed by food and beverage director, Alex Dusser.
Dusser worked with veteran Salzburg cook, Adolph Meinl, to develop and adapt menu offerings.
"We have traditional Austrian fare like bratwurst and schnitzel but also serve Euorpean specialties like goulash or fondue," MacQuoid said. "The challenge we have is to get a Salzburger Nockerl (a meringue-type dessert) to rise properly at 10,000 feet."
But then, that's part of the Walderdorff philosophy, a philosophy that traveled with the countess to Deer Valley.
Learn a little every day, but allow time to enjoy what you learn.
And Malcolm MacQuoid, developer of the inn, intends to follow the advice of his Austrian mentor.
"The Goldener Hirsch Inn is a unique product in the Deer Valley environment. It bursts with the influence of the countess and her sense of style and hospitality. It will be our challenge to achieve a year-round environment here that represents Harriet and the legacy she bequeathed to us - a little bit every day."
4 filets (10 oz.) boneless trout
1/2 cup carrots, julienne
1/2 cup celery, julienne
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup leek, chopped
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup fish stock (may substitute chicken stock) Prepare vegetables and place in bottom of a buttered 10-inch skillet. Layer trout over the top of the vegetables. Combine liquids and pour over fish. Cook, over medium heat, for 6 minutes on each side. Remove the trout and reduce the sauce by three-fourths. Serve trout with sauce spooned over the top. Makes 4 servings.
Griesknockerl or Chicken Vegetable Soup with Semolina Dumplings
1 whole chicken
2 quarts water
1 whole onion
6 whole cloves
2 stalks celery
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons semolina flour For soup, place water in a stockpot. Add whole carrots, peeled; whole celery stalks; whole leek; and whole onion, studded with cloves; then add chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for one hour. Remove chicken and remove bones, reserving chicken. Return bones and skin to stock pot and simmer another 15 minutes to reduce stock. Strain stock and vegetables. Discard bones and skin; chop vegetables. Return vegetables and chicken to strained stock; season with salt and pepper.
For dumplings, beat butter until smooth. Add egg, salt and flour, alternating each ingredient. When mixture is blended, allow to rest 30 minutes. Spoon by teaspoonsful into boiling, salted water. Dumplings will sink to the bottom of the pan and rise as they cook. Cook for about 2 minutes after dumpling comes to the surface. When cooked, add to serving of chicken soup. Makes 8-10 servings.
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons hazelnuts, finely chopped
5 tablespoons flour
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1 1/2 cups red-currant, raspberry or strawberry jam Cream butter with sugar, then egg. Add flour, spices and nuts. Divide dough in half and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Spread one half in the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan (with removable bottom); spread with jam. Roll the other half into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Cut strips 1/2-inch wide and lay over the top of the jam, forming a lattice. Bake at 250 degrees for about 40 minutes or until jam begins to boil. Chill 24 hours and serve, dusted with powdered sugar. Makes 6-8 servings.
6 oz. filet of beef, chopped fine
5 scant teaspoons salt
5 scant teaspoons pepper
5 scant teaspoons paprika
1 egg yolk
1-2 drops Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 drops tabasco, optional
2 tablespoons each, onion, finely chopped, cornichons (tiny pickles), 2 tablespoons capers, optional Chop or grind beef; blend with salt, pepper, olive oil, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and paprika. Serve meat garnished with egg yolk and optional condiments.
- Note: Be cautious about the quality of meat and eggs used to prepare this recipe.