The food table of Austria has its roots in the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire. It has been influenced by Hungarian, Czech, Bavarian, and Italian cuisines. Hence, you can say that the foods of Austria are essentially trans-cultural. While Austria has always been famous for its pastries and desserts, regional cuisines are now getting all the love with increasing tourism.
The nation is known to love its desserts. The most well-known example of an Austrian dessert is vanillekipferl, a winter holiday treat of small crescent-shaped delicious biscuits. These are made out of almonds or ground hazelnuts and seasoned with fresh vanilla. The biscuits have a heavy coating of white powdered sugar. The good news is that though vannilekipferl used to be baked mainly during the Christmas holidays, now you can get it almost all round the year.
Austria is also well known for its chocolates and Austria. One of the most beloved cakes is Sachertorte. This is a rich and flavorful two-layered chocolate sponge cake with a layer of fresh apricot jam and topped with dark chocolate icing chips. This cake is normally served with fresh unsweetened whipped cream.
Vienna, the capital city of Austria, is world-known for its Apfelstrudel. It is an oval-shaped pastry filled with cinnamon, diced apples, raisins, sugar, and crispy breadcrumbs. At times, the strudel can be flavored with a strong rum. Other ingredients can also be mixed with the strudel, like pine nuts, walnut, and almond slivers. You should not miss eating Beuschel ragout in Vienna, which is made out of a calf’s lungs and heart. This is similar to the Hungarian goulash and tastes just as good, if not better!
The cuisine of neighboring Hungary influences the cuisine of Burgenland. Fish, chicken, and goose are the main ingredients in many Burgenland dishes. Also, a meal made out of steamed cornmeal known as Polenta is served as a side dish. Saint Martin’s Day is celebrated in this neighborhood with a lot of enthusiasm, and a typical goose meal known as Martinigans is prepared. And, in Austria, Christmas is not about turkey, but about serving a fresh carp dish!
In Carinthia, fish is normally served as the main course. However, meats, dairy products, and grains are also consumed by the locals and international tourists alike. One popular dish from this province is Carinthian Kasnudeln, a variety of dumplings filled with mint and fresh Central European cheese. You can also get the meat alternative of this dish, and it is known as Schlickkrapfen. The soup made from pig’s trotters is an excellent way to heat up your body on a chilly winter’s day.
Vienna is popular for its café culture, and there are numerous coffee houses all over the town, many of which have open-air terraces that are famous in the summer. Visit them for coffee pastries and hot chocolates.
Austria also has some first-class wines, mostly whites, slightly on the acid side. Wine can be mixed with mineral water and drunk pure, called “Spritzer” or “G’spritzter.” The best place to do so is at the “Heurigen” in Vienna’s suburban areas. Formerly the “Heurigen” was open only in summer, but more recently, you can have your “Spritzer” year long with a little self-served meal.
Austrian food is delicious and distinctive and is traditional of the stodgy, hearty dumplings and meat variety. Wiener Schnitzel ( fried veal escalope with breadcrumb) is something of a social dish, and Knödel is a type of dumpling that can be made either savory or sweet taste. In Vienna, the Tafelspitz (boiled beef with horseradish and potatoes) is traditionally served on Sundays and is usually accompanied by clear broth with herbs and dumplings.
Bread is taken seriously in Austria. Almost every town has its own preferred bakery, offering a wide choice of savory rolls and freshly baked sweet from 6 AM.