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.

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Short ski touring holidays …

Hi … I am currently somewhere in the Silvretta, a part of the Austrian Alpes. I will be back next week and then this blog will hopefully get more updates again …

Enjoy spring!

 

UPDATE: This post should have gone live on Saturday. I am back again and will increase my postings again!

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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!

 

 

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Sorry about lack of postings

Hi there,

I just wanted to give a short update and explain why I am not really posting at the moment.

I am quite busy these days – due to being ill last week and going on a ski touring trip later this week, my time is limited.

I will do another Austrian Cuisine entry (which will be auto-posted on Thursday) and probably a picture story on Friday, but I guess this will be everything this week.

Take care

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Skitouring Silvretta

Skitouring Silvretta

I picked this picture as it was taken 2007 when ski touring from Ischgl in Tyrol to the Bielerhöhe in Vorarlberg: We will do this next week again (Thursday to Sunday) and I am really looking forward to this. Its one of the greatest things to go skitouring in spring, when it is still cold in the mornings (when you go touring) but after arriving on your hut (which is normally at lunch time) it is really warm and you can enjoy the Spring sun!

+ Perfect spring skiing (obviously)

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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!

 

 

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Bryce Canyon – one of my favorite places in the USA

Bryce Canyon

This blog normally concentrates on Central Europe, but as I have got a rather nasty cold and cannot concentrate enough to write a longer post, I thought it might be nice to share one of my favorite pictures of one of my favorite places in the USA with you.

Longer and more meaningful posts will follow as soon as my cold vanishes.

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