Category Archives: Austrian Cuisine

Austrian Cuisine – Maibock and other May Specialities

In todays issue of Austrian Cuisine I want to focus on dishes which are typical for May in Austria.

Maibock (deer) is the first deer you will get served in Austria during the year. This is because the hunting season starts at the beginning of May and traditionally the hunters try to shot some two year old deer, which will later be served as “Maibock”. After the rather poor food deer eats in Winter in spring they begin to eat fresh grass and herbs again and they start to gain some weight .

Maibock is traditionally served with vegetables who are very common in Spring, like spinach, green onions, chard or aspargus.

You should be careful when ordering Maibock – because in Bavaria its a very strong beer which is only brewed in May and if you confuse these two, you might spend an afternoon being drunk and hungry.

Aspargus is the other traditional dish in May – in the Marchfeld in Lower Austria there are huge fields of Aspargus and the markets and shops are full of it. You will get it with sauce hollandaise and potatoes, you will have it as a side dish with a Maibock (see above) or fish and some people also make salad out of it. Grüner Veltliner is my wine of choice with any Aspargus dish!

Asparagus (vegetable), served with Hollandaise...

Moreover in Austria we celebrate Mothers Day on the second Sunday of May – which will be this weekend. In my family there is the tradition that the kids prepare breakfast for Mum and also have some small gift (like flowers or something sweet). Other families do some trips and have lunch or dinner with the family. Restaurants and Cafes are generally very crowded, as a lot of Austrians celebrate Mothers Day outside of their home. So be prepared, that it might be very busy in restaurants on the second Sunday of May … reservations might be needed.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Austrian Cuisine, Traveling in Europe

Austrian Cuisine: Gruener Veltliner

Today I do not want to concentrate on Austrian Cuisine itself, but on an Austrian wine. Grüner Veltliner is probably Austrias most important white wine grape variety. This wine grows mostly in Lower Austria, but is also grown in Styria and the Burgenland. You might get some of this wine in Slovenia and Czech Republic, too – but outside of this area there are no important wineries who produce Grüner Veltliner.

glass of wine, Grüner Veltliner, from Wachau, ...
glass of wine, Grüner Veltliner, from Wachau, Austria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grüner Veltliner developed into a huge success and was the first Austrian wine to receive good critics after the “Antifreeze Scandal” in the 1980s. In this scandal wine makers were accused of and convicted for using glycol to “improve” the wine (which is quite dangerous as overdosing of these wines could have killed you).

After this scandal the Austrian winemakers turned their approach from cheap wines to high quality wines and Grüner Veltliner was the first wine to make this step. Grüner Veltliner is a rather dry white wine, which is very food friendly. There are different approaches to Grüner Veltliner – there is the wine created for the “Heurigen”, which will be drunk as a young wine wines (they are best in their first year). Others get drunk watered down with mineral water (Spritzer) – one of the Austrians favorite drinks at hot summer evenings.

Some have an excellent taste which develops only after years – these come mainly from the region around the danube, where the wine gets a very pure minerally taste. In the plains it develops to a more fruity wine with a hint of pepper or even tobacco flavor and some stronger influence of peach or citron flavour.

In recent blind wine tastings the best Grüner Veltliner wines beat famous french chardonnays like Mondavi or Maison Louis Latour.

Grüner Veltliner developed into a huge success in the United States, where it is often called GrüVe (pronounced groovy) – this development lead into higher prices for the top wines, but you will still get great value for money at most of the wineries in Eastern Austria. If you visit Lower Austria or Vienna in Autumn you should make sure to visit one of the “Heurigen” – bars that serve young wine and offer typical snacks (which are run by the wine farmers).

Grüner Veltliner is very food friendly and you can combine it to a lot of meals – in spring you can enjoy it with aspargus (a dish that does not fit to a lot of wines), it can be combined to veal, chicken or all kind of vegetables and it is obviously great to fish.

I am a real fan of Grüner Veltliner and I hope you will enjoy it, too. I would be very happy to receive some feedback about your GrüVe experience.

5 Comments

Filed under Austrian Cuisine

Austrian Cuisine – Zotter Chocolate

I am rather busy at the moment, and as this article is published I am on the way for a short ski-touring break away. But I still wanted to keep my Austrian Cuisine articles running and I came up with a somehow different idea for this issue.

Easter is the time when people get a lot of chocolate as presents (at least it is in Austria) and I was especially happy to get some delicious Zotter Chocolate. Josef Zotter is a chocolatier from Styria, who started to create his own chocolate in the 90ies. He was bored of the dullness of industrial chocolate and wanted to try something else. Moreover he decided to only use Fair Trade and organic ingredients.

The Zotter chocolate bars are something special, as they are created for special events and with combinations of flavor you would never think of.

Josef Zotter – Schokolade

This proved to be very succesful and nowadays Josef Zotter runs a chocolate manufactory, where the hand scooped bars are created. The manufactory can be visited – unfortunately I have not done this yet.

I strongly advise to try some Zotter chocolate while being in Austria and it is also a great present to bring back after heading home!

You can find more information about Josef Zotter on their Website!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Austrian Cuisine, Uncategorized

Austrian Cuisine: Cakes and Strudels

Today I want to concentrate on one of Austrias best things: Cakes and Strudels, by presenting the three most famous “Mehlspeisen”: Gugelhupf, Sachertorte and Apfelstrudel

Mehlspeise means meal made out of flour and it is a term you will hear a lot of times in Austrian Cafés – the waiter will not ask you if you want any cake or dessert, but ask you if you want a Mehlspeise.

Gugelhupf

Central European cake called "Napfkuchen&...

A Gugelhupf is a Bundt Cake and you will get it by the name “Napfkuchen” all over german speaking countries. Its roots go back to the romans, but there is also the story that the “Three holy kings”, after visiting Baby Jesus came to Alsace, where they were served a Gugelhupf. The French, call it “Kouglouf” and believe that it comes from Ribeauvillé. In the Biedermeier Period (between 1815 and 1848) the Gugelhupf became a symbol of the rich burgher, and was served with tea or coffee on sunday afternoons. (The Biedermeier was a time in which the Burgher did no longer press for political influence, but were satisfied with monetary gains). Since that time, this is a typical cake to serve for guests, especially family.

Sacher Torte – one of Austrias most famous exports

Sachertorte from Hotel Sacher, Vienna

The Sacher Torte is named after Franz Sacher in 1832 when count Metternich wanted something special for his guests. The Chef was sick, so the apprentice Franz Sacher took over the important task and created this chocolate cake with a layer of apricot jam and chocolate icing. He later on opened a deli, where he also sold this cake. His son Eduard made his apprenticeship at the Café Demel and improved on the existing recipe in this time. Later he founded the famous Hotel Sacher in Vienna. Due to this story there have been long legal battles between the Café Demel and the Hotel Sacher, who was allowed to use the name “original” Sacher Torte. After years of arguing the result was that the Hotel Sacher can use the name “Original Sacher-Torte” and the Café Demel the name “Eduard-Sacher Torte”, which is commonly called the “Echte Sacher Torte” (real Sacher Torte). Both variants are delicious and you will get them as “Sacher Torte” in every good Austrian Café. Leaving Austria without having tried one is an absolute “No-Go”, so do not miss out!

Apfelstrudel – an Austrian Classic

According to Wikipedia this is a “national dish” of Austria and when I asked friends about typical Austrian meals, no one missed out on that one. There are some similiarities to Baklava, so many historians believe that it might have come to Vienna during the War against the Turks. Apple Strudel is made of apples, raisins, bread crumbs and some cinammon and sugar – this is put into a pastry. It can be served hot, fresh out of the oven, or be eaten cold. You might get it with whipped cream, vanilla sauce or vanilla custard, but originally a Apple-Strudel does not need any of them.

Apfelstrudel, a Viennese speciality

I can vouch for all this “Mehlteig” Classics and hope you can enjoy them on your next trip to Austria. If you already got any experience with any of this meals, I would be happy to hear about it!

 

 

7 Comments

Filed under Austrian Cuisine

Austrian Cuisine: Five fantastic Sweet Meal Options

The Austrian Cuisine might be famous for Schnitzel and Schweinsbraten, but what will make you long to come back over and over again are the sweet dishes you can get in Austria. Today I want to start with 5 sweet dishes, which you can get as a main dish or as a dessert. Next week I will follow up with some famous Austrian “Mehlspeisen” (cakes and Strudels).

Palatschinken – Crepes the Austrian way:  

The Austrian form of Crepes is a typical Austrian dish: its history goes back to the roman empire and it traces back to regions, which are now part of Romania, Hungary and Czech Republic. Most times Palatschinken are filled with jam or curd cheese, but there are also variants with Mushrooms or Spinach. The Palatschinke itself is also cut into small stripes to be used in a Fritatten-Suppe. If you ever see Omelette in Austria, you should be aware that this is a variant, where the pastry is thicker; an Omelette is also bigger and a lot of cooks make it a little crispy, by adding sparkling mineral water.

Palatschinke

Be aware that the german word for Ham is also Schinken, but this two things are not at all connected: a french friend once made the mistake to order Palatschinken as he did not speak german and thought that some Cooked Ham with Sauerkraut would be a great meal – he was rather surprised to get a sweet dish! Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Austrian Cuisine

Austrian Cuisine: A typical Austrian Easter Menu

I decided to change the themes for this weeks culinary Thursday as there is one of the most important holidays is approaching – Easter. Therefore I would like to introduce you to a very typical Austrian Easter Menu and afterwards I would also love to give you a small introduction into a typical Austrian Easter custom (“Eierpecken”)

Easter eggs from Vienna, Austria

My menu consists of a Bear Garlic Cream Soup, traditional Easter Ham with Potatoes and Sauerkraut and an Easter Lamb (which is a cake). When researching for this article I found hundrets of Austrian menus, but this composition is very traditional. In some months I will start to also introduce “modern” Austrian Cuisine, but I guess, if people come from overseas they are mainly interested in the typical and classic kitchen.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Austrian Cuisine

Vegetarian Delights … four veggie alternatives

In last weeks food post about the Austrian Cuisine I talked about the “Big Four” and none of them offered an alternative for Vegetarians or people who want to reduce their meat consumption. Today I want to offer you with some great alternatives, which are not sweet. Austria is famous for its Sweet dishes and I will come to them later on …

Here are my four nominations for Vegetarians:

Krautfleckerl:

This is a traditional dish from Vienna, which came to Vienna through Bohemia. It is some sort of Austrian Pasta (the Fleckerl) with white cabbage. Krautfleckerl are not really a posh meal, but I like them and they are great after a day of hiking or walking through a city. Be aware that you might sometime get a version with minced meat and Cheese, so ask if you want to avoid meat at all cost.

Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under Austrian Cuisine