From the more expensive and upmarket restaurants to the sausage stands or wuerstl which can be found on every second street in Austria, eating out is a very pleasant experience. Furthermore, coming to terms with the strange words used to describe the dishes on offer make it all the more fun and somewhat of an adventure. But, as any good traveller knows experimentation when it comes to food and drink is an integral part of truly experiencing a country’s uniqueness and cultural traditions.
Austrian food has been influenced throughout the centuries by Czech, German and Hungarian cooking. As a result, meat is the most important ingredient of many of the country’s most popular dishes. Pork (schweienfleisch) and veal (kalbsfleisch) are the most widely used but beef and chicken are also widely used. Sausages (wurst) are also feature highly in a large number of traditional Austrian specialties.
The Wiener Schnitzel is probably the best known traditional Austrian dish and consists of a fillet of meat (hardly surprising) which is coated with breadcrumbs and fried in butter. This is usually served with potatoes (kartoffeln) as most dishes are. Another specialty which is rapidly becoming known all over the world is Spatzle which is a variety of homemade noodles and will probably be the staple diet of most vegetarian visitors to the country. Finally, other favourites are boiled beef (Tafelspitz), calf’s liver (Gerostete Leber) and goulash.
When it comes to deserts, the Austrians certainly know what they are up to. Take yourself to one of the many coffee houses for which the country is famous and try the Sacher Torte, a chocolate pie with a jam filling, Linzertorte which is a type of raspberry pie or Apfel Strudel. Don’t try them all at once though because like the main courses served in Austria, the ingredients in the deserts are not really designed for the calorie conscious among you.
And to put the ultimate kibosh on any diet, Austrian beers are also something which beg to be sampled. Among the favourites are Stiegl Bier which is brewed in Salzburg, Gosser Bier from Graz and Sipger Bier which is brewed in the north of the country.