If you know me, you know I love good food. While there are so many things to love about Vienna (architecture, culture, coffee houses, Christmas markets, and the list goes on and on) here I’ll share my favorite Viennese and Austrian treats!
Wiener Schnitzel – As you walk by restaurants in Vienna, or while at your Oma’s house, you often hear the pounding of the meat in the kitchen. They pound out the veal (or pork or even chicken) until it’s very thin, dip it in flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs, and then fry in oil until golden brown. It’s often served with a slice of lemon for drizzling and a little currant jam for dipping.
White Wine Spritzers – I mean, this drink is genius. They say you should always drink a glass of water in between drinks, right? Well, how about adding water directly to your drink? A spritzer is white (or red) wine – normally a local Grüner Veltliner – with sparkling water, sometimes served with ice and lemon slices. The ratios vary – the “regular” year-round spritzer is about 50/50 wine-to-water and the “summer spritzer” is a little less wine and more water.
Käsekrainer / Cheese-filled Sausage – I’m from Wisconsin so anything filled with cheese is a-okay in my book. They’re normally sold at your corner Würstelstand (“sausage box”) and come in a big hot dog bun (with a hole cut out through the middle – smart) and filled with ketchup, mustard, and fresh shredded horseradish.
Liptauer – This is a very popular spicy cheese dip, one that we’ve made part of our annual Thanksgiving dinner. It’s made with sheep cheese, butter, onion, pickle, capers, mustard, cumin, paprika, and sour cream. It’s really tasty and easy to find at an Austrian supermarket deli counter. Dip bread, pretzels, chips, whatever you like.
Melange + Water – Vienna has a thriving coffee culture so all kinds of coffee are available here, but melange is the most traditional and popular. Melange translates to “mixed” and is made with one shot of espresso served in a large cup with steamed milk and milk foam. It’s always served with a small glass of tap water.
Apfelstrudel // Apple Strudel – Layers of thin, flaky pastry dough are stuffed with apples, raisins, and cinammon, baked, and topped with powdered sugar. Enjoy this after dinner or like the Austrians as part of an afternoon “kaffee und kuchen” (coffee and cake) break. The first time I had this dessert was when my now-husband made it for me in Chicago. He brought his family’s apfelstrudel cloth, which is a large, thin cloth used for rolling out the pastry dough (yes, this really is a thing!) passed down from one generation to the next.
Cremeschnitte // Cream Cake – My favorite Austrian cake. A thin and crispy puff pastry filled with custard and chantilly cream. If you love this cake as much as me, you should be following @cremeschnittenandi on Instagram.
Grammelknödel – I’m convinced these are Austria’s best kept secret. Sure, there are dumplings everywhere here, but these are different. Special. Potato and semolina dumplings stuffed with pork cracklings, onion, and garlic. Yes, you read that right. PORK CRACKLINGS!!! Enough said, am I right? If you’re visiting, this should be at the top of your list of food to try, right next to schnitzel.
Sturm – Only available once a year – normally the end of September to mid-October – Sturm is a young wine that’s basically fermented fresh pressed grape juice. It tastes like carbonated grape juice and has only about 1% alcohol.
Gulasch – This beef stew is a Hungarian classic turned Viennese staple. There’s even a Gulasch Museum here in Vienna! My favorite version includes sauerkraut and potatoes. As with most stews, the key is to cook it low and slow.
Kaiserschmarrn // Emporer’s Mess – Kaiserschmarrn, named after Franz Josef, is a caramelized and shredded sweet pancake served with powdered sugar, applesauce, and jam.
Elderflower Syrup // Holunderblüten Syrup – Elderflower is everywhere here. Austrians like to add a little syrup to a glass of carbonated or still water. Kind of like a non-alcoholic spritzer. They also make a sweet fried bread with the flowers. Our favorite brand to buy is Austria’s very own Darbo.
If you’d like to follow my culinary adventures in Vienna, take a look at @hungry.in.europe on Instagram. ♥