I finished my pre-semester Intensive German course last week! I had my written final exam on Monday, an oral exam on Tuesday, and to celebrate the end of the course, my teacher organized a potluck! I mentioned in an earlier blog post how interesting it was to have people in my class from all over the world, but I couldn’t remember exactly all the countries that were represented by the students in my class. Well, I think I got them all down now. There were Americans (Lebanese-American, and Mexican-American), a French guy, Italians (one Italian-Czech), Spaniards, a Belgian girl, a Polish girl, a couple of Ukrainians (one Czech-Ukrainian), a couple of Finns, a Mexican guy, Slovenians, Chinese, and of course, the Austrian teacher. Here’s a selfie of all of us!

I was actually really impressed by how many people brought food. The potluck was not mandatory, and even the teacher wasn’t expecting such a good turn out. Everyone was really open to try all the different foods, and people who never usually cook (me) put forth their most valiant effort 🙂

I’ll start with myself! 🇱🇧

Woke up bright and early to make a manouche!

As a Lebanese-American, I had the choice of bringing either Lebanese food or American food. I considered American food at first, but I figured everyone had probably already tried most American food. My American friend had also planned on making homemade cheesecake, so I figured I would represent Lebanon instead. I ended up making a manouche, a Lebanese breakfast pizza with various types of thyme and oregano mixed with olive oil (I was able to pick up these ingredients at a local middle eastern grocery store). I made a pretty big “pizza” and cut it up into little pieces for everyone to try. It was my first time making it, so I’m happy that everyone seemed to enjoy my manouche!

Since I mentioned my fellow American, I’ll show her delicious cheesecake next.

Even though she learned they didn’t have graham crackers here and improvised with the closest thing she could find, it was probably the best cheesecake I’ve ever had. 🇺🇸

The course instructor was Austrian. 🇦🇹
She brought a striezel, which is a traditional Austrian braided bread. The one she brought was from Spar, the local grocery store, but she said usually families make it for the holidays and braid it themselves. They cut it up and butter each slice. The store bought one was good, so I can’t even imagine the taste of a striezel fresh out of the oven on a cold Christmas night.

The two Chinese students made dumplings! 🇨🇳 They were gone so quickly that I didn’t have a chance to try any, but they smelled so fresh!

Probably some of my favorite food there was brought by the Italians. They all got together and made homemade tiramisu and this thing called chocolate salami. It looks like salami, but it’s actually chocolate, and it’s better than both chocolate and salami combined! Here are the Italians and their masterpieces🇮🇹

Chocolate Salami

Tiramisu

Italians!

There were a couple of Ukrainian girls in the class too. 🇺🇦 My Ukrainian friend (shown below) made a traditional Ukrainian dessert. It was folded up crepes filled with a delicious cream.

My friend from Mexico brought what might have been the most popular dish there, quesadillas and guacamole. 🇲🇽 He made them himself! He brought them fresh out of the oven while they were warm and crispy with cheese still oozing out of the sides. It tasted like home 🙂

A very delicious cake was made by my Belgian friend. 🇧🇪 It was a dense, layered wafer cake with special purple candies on top. I say special because apparently, they’re not allowed to be exported outside of Belgium. She brought them with her all the way from her hometown! I will definitely be getting some next time I’m in Belgium.

Next, our French classmate. 🇫🇷
He brought a baguette and French cheese. I really liked the cheese, but if you don’t like strong pungent cheeses then you might not have. I spread it on top of the bread as shown in the photo below, but he immediately corrected me. The cheese is not a spread, he said.  It should be cut into a piece and placed on the bread, not smeared. Still tasted great to me 🙂

The French cheese

oops

And next, my five Spanish friends! 🇪🇸 Like the Belgian girl, they smuggled something along with them to Austria, but it wasn’t candy. They brought olive oil from their village and picked up a baguette from the local grocery store to go with it. Additionally, they brought chorizo and salami. My friend told me you can tell how good chorizo is by how much water you drink. Well, I drank a lot of water that day.

The Spaniards with their olive oil and chorizo!

The guy in the back of the picture isn’t Spanish, he’s actually Slovenian, which brings me to the next group. 🇸🇮
Slovenia is really close. It’s actually so close that one student in our class who lives in Maribor, Slovenia, drove an hour to commute to Graz everyday for class.

I didn’t have a chance to get a picture of them looking at the camera, but here they are with their Slovenian bread. My friend in the picture on the right drove to several bakeries trying to find the original pastry they wanted to bring (he was showing it to us in the picture) but he couldn’t find it anywhere, so they “settled” on bringing the other bread instead. It was a sticky sweet bread, and I thought it was great!

And finally, our Finnish friends! 🇫🇮

They brought biscuits and black licorice (held in his hand) all the way from Finland. I grew up eating and enjoying black licorice, so I loved it. The other students and the teacher didn’t feel the same way though. Apparently, a lot of people don’t like black licorice, so they didn’t particularly enjoy the candy. I heard one person say “it tastes like medicine.” I guess it’s just an acquired taste.

I had a lot of fun at the pot luck getting a sample of many different cultures! Here we are in action, enjoying all the foods 🙂