Thursday, August 22, 2013

Delicious food in Austria

As a result of its prominent position in European history, Austria, and especially Vienna boasts one of the world's most famous culinary offerings. A diverse range of dishes reflects the city's mix of nationalities and cuisine influences through the centuries, and offers a wide selection to the traveler.

1. Tafelspitz
Austrian dish of beef boiled in broth with root vegetables and spices. As you can see, it is often served with fries and vegetables.

2. Erdäpfel Salat
An influence from German traditions, Erdapfel Salat is a delicious side dish made from potatoes. It goes very will with Schnitzel, Wurst, and other meat dishes.

3. Wiener Schnitzel
Wiener Schnitzel is a specialty from Austria neighbor to the south. The Italians had developed a dish called "Costoletta Milanese"  which was absorbed into Austria cuisine as Wiener Schnitzel.  The veal is covered in breadcrumbs and fried. As a result of the frying, it is frequently served with the Erdäpfel Salat mentioned above..

Here some desserts:

You will find that the influence from around Europe have influenced Austrian Cuisine and that there are significant regional variations.

1.  Sachertorte
You cannot write about desserts in Austria without addressing the Sachertorte. Originally develop by Franz Sacher in 1832 for Prince Wenzel von Metternich, this is the chocolate cake known throughout the world. His son, Eduard, then perfected the cake at the Demel Bakery and Chocolatier. The cake was first served at Demel and later at the Hotel Sacher, opened by Eduard in 1876.

This chocolate cake has two layers of rich chocolate cake, a thin layer of apricot jam in the middle and a dark chocolate icing. To the right is a photo from Hotel Sacher. You must try it and if you are a chocolate lover, you can buy Sachertorte in a beautiful wooden box for presents to take home.

2. The Linzer Torte
Perhaps the oldest-known cake in the world, the Linzer Torte is a pastry, nuts and  jam concoction with a lattice of pastry strips on the top. It is reported to date back to the 1600's and also has spread around the world. I guess a sweet tooth hasn't changed much over the centuries.

In addition to these two favorites, Austrian Cuisine includes Strudels, Knodels, Puddings, Schmarren, Cookies, Schnitten, Cream Deserts, and Parfaits. I will give you an example; but, you have to go to try them out.

3.  Strudel 
Strudel has become a world recognized dessert of Austria and Germany; however, Strudels got their beginning in the Middle East, where Arabian Cooks first practiced the art of stretching out paper thin sheets of dough and then filling them with jelly and syrup and baking them. As Arabian conquests spread, strudel spread as well. Today Strudels are a national specialty in Austria.

Great strudel begins with very thin dough. Fortunately, for the chefs at home, these days you can buy the thin sheets of dough at the store. In Austria you can sample many different varieties.

Restaurants I advice:
Researching all these desserts has made me hungry. My mouth is watering, just thinking of that Sachertorte from the Hotel Sacher - it was amazing! But, you are the ones traveling to Austria, try these two restaurants to make up your own mind.

The Sacher Restaurant
For decades many guides have suggested that Sacher, the Hotel and restaurant founded by the son of the original Sachertorte, is the place to eat in Vienna. Fortunately, I agree. Visiting Austria one winter for New Years Eve, I found the restaurant warm and inviting and serving marvelous food. I must admit, the Sachertorte and Cafe mit schlag was an amazing ending to the meal. Hope you enjoy it.

The Korso Bei Der Oper Restaurante
The Korso Bei Der Oper is ranked as one of the best restaurants in Vienna. It is expensive, $109 for a three course meal.  Here you will find a range of traditional and modern cuisine which the ambiance would tell you is focused on well developed palates.

Reservations are essential at both of these fine restaurants