It is often said about Austria that it is a small country with great cuisine. And indeed it is. Over the centuries, Austrian cuisine has diligently accumulated the best dishes of different countries, carefully adapting them according to its own principles and cooking technology. As a result, absolutely unique culinary traditions were formed, allowing you to experiment with familiar tastes and make changes to traditional recipes.
The Austrians had a reverent attitude to food many centuries ago. Residents of the Austro-Hungarian Empire have always been famous for their love of noisy feasts - and this statement is true for all segments of the population, from peasants to nobles. Each family had its own recipes for original dishes that were passed down from generation to generation.
At the same time, the Austro-Hungarian empire, whose population in 1914 amounted to fifty-two million people, is often called “patchwork” - after all, representatives of a huge number of nationalities lived on its territory. Germans, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Rusyns, Romanians, Italians, Jews, Croats and even Gypsies - all of them contributed to the formation of unique Austrian cuisine.
Moreover, if in most world monarchies it was the royal court and aristocrats who were considered “trendsetters” and “set the tone” for the main culinary trends, in Austria-Hungary everything happened exactly the opposite. The Vienna elite in the imperial palace delightedly feasted on dishes that were "born" in peasant cuisines.
This is one of the main distinguishing characteristics of traditional Austrian cuisine - among the world-famous dishes there are no overly expensive dishes, it is very "democratic". Roast beef, fried tenderloin, Viennese rump served on the festive table in the family of a simple worker, and in aristocratic houses.
Today, experts often argue about whether the concepts of "Austrian cuisine" and "Viennese cuisine" can be fully identified. The thing is that Austrian cuisine includes a huge number of regional variants of the same dishes. In turn, the Viennese cuisine is famous primarily for its pastries (cakes, strudel) and combines the main culinary masterpieces of Vienna.
As noted above, Austrian cuisine has combined the culinary trends of a huge number of nationalities and is one of the most diverse and original in the world. However, she also has her own characteristics.
- Austrian cuisine is conservative. Of course, over time, old recipes change, some ingredients are replaced by others, but in Austria they seriously believe that the best delicacy must pass the test of time. In other words, old cookbooks are held in high esteem.
- There is a very small number of really spicy dishes. Seasonings are not abused in Austria.
- Austrian cuisine is one of the most regionally structured in the world. To date, several areas are conditionally distinguished in Austria, each of which boasts its own culinary traditions. For example, Viennese cuisine has gained worldwide fame for its pastries; in Lower Austria, the menu contains a large number of game dishes; in Burgenland, the diet was formed under the influence of Hungarian cuisine; in Styria almost no other types of oil are consumed, except for pumpkin; in Carinthia, seafood is the basis of the local diet; Upper Austria cuisine is based on the traditions of Bavaria and Bohemia. Lovers of savory cheese come to Salzburg, and the legendary dumplings and ravioli are cooked in Tyrol.
- Austrian delicacies - not for those who want to lose weight. All of them are very high in calories. Moreover, the portions here are usually not just large, but very large. In Austria they like to eat well and satisfying, and being overweight here is not a reason for complexes.
Main dishes and drinks
Austrian cuisine has a wide range of dishes, the recipes of which may vary from region to region.
Bread in Austria is very popular. The widest assortment of bakeries is a clear confirmation of this. Most often on the tables at the Austrians appears the so-called "home" bread, which is baked from a mixture of wheat and rye flour. Caraway seeds and sunflower seeds are added to it. Also, in most bakeries and supermarkets you can buy kipferli - bagels resembling croissants, and kolashen - round buns made from sweet yeast dough. Raiding is its admirers - bread with cinnamon and dried fruits.
And of course, not a single Christmas is complete without a tunnel - a cake with candied fruit, an incredible amount of spices and fragrant marzipan filling.
"Austrian snacks" is, first of all, meat cutting. In restaurants in Austria, beer is often served the so-called "Wurstelstand." This is a "meat plate", which is an assortment of sausages, bacon, sausages and sausages. Mustard is served as a sauce for this splendor, and tiny buns become a side dish.
According to statistics, in Austria more than one and a half thousand kinds of sausages. At the same time, even the simplest, seemingly liverwurst sausage “Leberwürst”, there are more than fifty varieties - with different seasonings and different cooking techniques.
It should be noted that most of the sausages in Austria are quite fat. In addition, sausages and sausages are never boiled here - they are exclusively fried.
Of course, the main meat dish that we remember about when it comes to Austrian cuisine is Vienna schnitzel. Tender, very soft veal breaded with breadcrumbs usually served with vegetable salad, most often potato. At the same time, in some restaurants Viennese schnitzel is prepared from pork or turkey, however, it is considered a classic dish of veal.
However, the list of meat dishes of Austrian cuisine is not limited to Viennese schnitzel. Another national dish is tafelspitz - fried beef, served with potatoes and apple horseradish. Many restaurants also serve baked bakhun chicken with potato salad and bakhendl - Viennese chicken fried in breadcrumbs and served with parsley and lemon. In autumn, during the hunting season, venison, roe deer and wild boar meat appear on the restaurant menu and in elite supermarkets.
Another feature of Austrian cuisine is a large number of offal dishes. For example, in Austria, boleshel is popular - calf lung stew, as well as the Schweinschaks pork joint baked in a special way.
Boiled or fried potatoes are often served as a side dish for the meat, often with vinegar, olive oil and horseradish sauce.
Soups are an integral part of Austrian cuisine. Most often they are cooked in a broth with a variety of dressings. It can be noodle-like ribbons from dough, meatballs from beef liver, dumplings and liver. Cheesy, garlic and onion soups are also popular. A characteristic feature of most Austrian soups is the use of spices and seasonings.
Pasta won the hearts of the Austrians only in the last few decades. At the same time, local chefs were extremely inventive: they serve noodles not only with meat, but also with poppy seeds and raisins, as well as sauerkraut (such a dish is called krušpatzl). In addition, dumplings of various types are popular, which can act not only as a side dish for meat, but also as a separate dish with sauce.
Fish and seafood
Although Austria is located off the coast, Austrian cuisine includes a considerable number of fish dishes. Zander and trout, as well as carp and pike are especially popular. Fish in Austria is baked and fried. At the same time, seafood - oysters, squid, shrimp, mussels, etc. - They are not particularly popular with the local population.
Austria is a paradise for vegetarians. Regional cuisine offers a wide range of green dishes. The main ingredient in many of them is sauerkraut in all forms. Bean and red pepper are also popular, and potatoes are not only used as a side dish for meat and fish, but can also act as an independent dish.
For many years Austria has been attracting sweet tooth from all over the world as if with a magnet. This is not surprising - the assortment of sweet dishes in Austrian cuisine is wider than in any other European.
The visiting card of Austrian confectioners has long been strudel. A cake made of very thin dough, which literally melts in your mouth, is usually prepared with apple filling with the addition of cinnamon and nuts. However, apricot, cherry and cottage cheese strudel, as well as spinach strudel, have been popular in the past few decades. According to the traditional recipe, the drawer dough for the strudel must be so thin that it can be read through a love letter written with a gentle girlish hand.
The chocolate-apricot sachertorten cake has also won worldwide recognition. Its author is the Viennese confectioner Eduard Sacher, who first prepared the now widely known delicacy in the nineteenth century. Since then, confectioners have carefully followed their recipe.
Other local sweets that are less well known outside Austria include rum cakes, poppy seed rolls, and chocolate sauce puddings. It is noteworthy that in restaurants and cafes in Austria, whipped cream is usually served in any bowl for any baking.
0.5 liters per capita per day - this is exactly how much coffee, according to statistics, the Austrians drink. It is believed that Austria is the first European country to introduce a fashion for coffee. Today in Vienna's coffee houses visitors are offered to choose from fifty varieties of a fragrant drink.
Coffee in Austria is drunk both black and with the addition of milk or cream. A popular summer drink is mazargan - coffee with ice and rum. There are other varieties - with whipped cream, with ice cream, with various spices.
Tea in the diet of the Austrians is present both black and herbal. It is noteworthy that green tea is not particularly popular here.
Among alcoholic beverages, beer belongs to the palm. In Austria, it is produced in incredible quantities, and almost every region has its own special varieties that differ in strength or ingredients used.
Pure wines in Austria are rarely consumed - usually only on holidays. At the same time, a variety of wine-based cocktails are popular. It can be wine with soda, with various juices, as well as with the addition of rum and sugar.
Useful properties and contraindications
Nutritionists emphasize that tourists with Austrian cuisine should still be careful. First of all, as already noted, most dishes are very high-calorie. Therefore, they can hardly be recommended to adherents of a healthy lifestyle.
In addition, due to the high fat content, many local dishes are not suitable for people suffering from diseases of the digestive system.
At the same time, due to its high protein content, Austrian cuisine can be recommended for people during physical activity, and an abundance of vegetables and fruits helps to establish the work of the digestive tract and provides the body with all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Cooking Sacher Cake
Outwardly, this delicacy may seem absolutely unremarkable, but in fact, the Sacher cake has long won the hearts of gourmets around the world. It is usually served with sweet cappuccino.
To prepare a dessert you will need: six eggs, 90 g of dark chocolate, 90 g of butter at room temperature, 150 g of sugar, 90 g of flour, a bag of vanilla sugar and 200 g of apricot jam. Ingredients for chocolate coating: 50 g of water, 120 g of sugar and 100 g of dark chocolate.
Melt the chocolate in a water bath. Break the eggs and separate the whites from the yolks.
Beat 120 g butter with sugar. One at a time, begin to introduce the yolks into the oil, continuing to whip the mass at low speed.
Pour melted chocolate into the mixture and mix thoroughly.
Beat the whites in a separate container, gradually adding the remaining 30 g of sugar to them. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.
Add half the whipped protein to the chocolate mass and stir. Please note that you need to use not a mixer, but a spoon. After that, add the pre-sifted flour into the mixture and mix gently, taking care that the dough does not settle. Add the remaining proteins.
Put the dough in a pre-parchment baking dish and bake for 40-60 minutes. Check readiness with a wooden stick - it should be completely dry.
Start cooking icing. To start, cook the syrup from sugar and water, gradually adding chocolate broken into pieces into it. For flavor, you can add a few drops of rum to the mixture. Cool the finished glaze.
Wait for the biscuit to cool, and cut it into two identical cake layers. For a layer use apricot jam. Grease the top and sides of the cake with it. After that, in portions, begin to cover the cake with glaze, leveling it with a spatula.
Cooking Bakhendl (Viennese Chicken)
To prepare a dish called bakhendl you will need the following ingredients: four chicken drumsticks, a tablespoon of lemon juice, six tablespoons of vegetable oil, three tablespoons of wheat flour, one egg, five tablespoons of breadcrumbs and salt with pepper to taste.
Wash your lower legs, pat them dry with a paper towel and place in a wide, deep bowl. Sprinkle them with lemon juice, salt and add pepper. After that, wrap with cling film to marinate the meat for half an hour.
Prepare the breading at this time. Beat the eggs with a fork until the mass is smooth. Roll pickled drumsticks in flour one by one, then dip in beaten egg and bread in breadcrumbs. After that, fry the chicken legs in a preheated vegetable oil in a pan.
Put the finished legs on paper towels to stack excess fat. After that, transfer the chicken to the baking dish and send for half an hour in the oven preheated to 180 degrees.
Serve bakhendl with a slice of lemon and fresh vegetables.