Traditional(ly) Culinary Hot Spots in Austria
I am Austrian with all my heart. I am not saying that I don’t like traveling, going to Italy to enjoy the afternoon with Pizza, Pasta and Sprizz at the Piazza. I rather mean that there are so many beautiful spots here that you have to enjoy deliberately feeling their charm. Some of these places are well known far beyond national borders. One of the most striking examples is the urban Vienna Kaffeehauskultur (coffeehouse culture) where they say “Darf’s noch a Verlängerter sein?” (“Would you like another café crème” pronounced in a charming Vienna accent). Not all spots are so soaked with history. But they are even more connected to the traditional, regional specialities and the history of the country.
Especially connoisseurs will totally get their money worth in Austria. The local traditional cuisine stands for delicacies, soups with plenty of additions, filling entrées and sickly-sweet desserts. Today I invite you to accompany me on a trip to a couple of culinary hot spots. These spots are special in several ways: It’s about mountains (even twice, but in different ways) and the Austrian lakes.
Hiking in the Nockberge mountains
Austria and hiking just belong together. Today I am taking you to the Nockberge mountains, there are great hiking trails for the entire family. Starting at Alexanderhütte, an alp with resting place inviting to take a seat, we are going on towards Nockberge. The organic, family-run farm bets on indulgence, national identity and hospitality – just as you’d wish on an alp in the mountains. They produce domestic cheeses in the lodge-owned dairy. At Alexanderhütte you have to watch out that you don’t just stay there without even starting your tour. The view from the cottage is so beautiful and it’s just so cosy and tasty that you don’t want to leave. The hike passes the so-called Granattor (garnet gate, since the region is known for its garnet rocks) towards Lammersdorfer Hütte. This meeting point for young and old offers a sunny garden for guests, an often traditional live music. After a 3,5-4 hours hike you have more than deserved to take a rest. For families, there is a shorter way for strollers. After sporting activities you can indulge yourself, no matter if you prefer a Brettljause or something sweet. I personally recommend o classic: Kaiserschmarrn with Zwetschgenröster. For those who are craving one now, here is a traditional Schmarren-recipe from Austria, with a subtle refinement from curd and semolina:
CURD SEMOLINA SCHMARREN
Ingredients: (for 2 entrées or 4 desserts)
100g sour cream
4 table spoons icing sugar
1 tea spoon corn starch
Juice from half a lemon
Zest from half a lemon
1 shot of rum
2 table spoons butter for baking
Icing sugar for refining
Applesauce (for serving)
Separate eggs. Stir egg yolk with curd until smooth. Stir icing sugar, corn starch and semolina. Add lemon juice and zest. Refine dough with rum. Whip the egg white until stiff. Leave the dough to stand for a moment. Melt the butter in a pan or baking dish. Put the dough in the dish and bake for 15 minutes in pre-heated convection oven at 170°C. Remove from oven, use spatula to tear into rough pieces. *Tipp: serve Schmarren with applesauce or with caramelized apple slices.
Fishing at the Lake
Here, in the sunny south of Austria – in Carinthia – we have warm summers, many bathing days and luckily enough lakes. One of the biggest lakes with the best water quality is the Millstätter See. The former royal fishermen (100 years ago, the emperor himself gave the fishing rights to four families) nowadays offer exciting fishing tours. You can accompany the fishermen on their tour on the lake in the traditional fishing boat, the so-called Plätten. Families and kids have the opportunity to learn how to net-fish and event try to catch their own dinner. Today, the Reinankenwirte – that’s the present name of the association – are fishing for coregonus (Reinanken, which the Millstätter See is known for), trouts and chars, which can be degusted in the respective restaurants after the fishing experience. For example in the family hotel Post at Millstätter See. For all fish fans, that like to bbq and cook, I am presenting a tasty recipe: char with parsnips and herb pesto.
ROASTED CHAR ON PARSNIP PUREE WITH SPRING HERB PESTO
Ingredients (for 2 servings)
2 char filets (alternatively trout filets)
2 cloves of garlic
Salt & pepper
Juice of one lemon
2 table spoons butter
For the parsnip puree
2 table spoons butter
Salt & pepper
Spring Herb Pesto
70g parsley, chives and a few thyme branches
2 table spoons walnut kernels
70ml sunflower oil
Salt & pepper
A dash of chili
Peel and dice potatoes and parsnips. Cook in salted water. Strain soft vegetables and mash nicely. Stir milk. Refine with butter, salt and pepper.
For the pesto, chip herbs and puree with oil and walnut kernels. Season with salt, pepper and chili.
Bone the fish. Season with salt and pepper, marinate with lemon juice. Cut the unpeeled garlic cloves in half. Heat a bit of butter or oil in a pan, add garlic. Shortly roast fish on the skin site, do not turn.
Arrange the parsnip puree, place fish filets on top and refine with pesto.
Viniculture and Buschenschanken
Let’s continue our little culinary tour to Austria’s tasty hot spots. We’ll stay in the south, but it a different federal state: the green Styria. You know where this name comes from as soon as you reach south Styria – one of the most beautiful regions of the country that is intrinsically tied to (wine) indulgence and traditional delicacies. Here, hospitality is shifted to a whole new level. In the uncounted Buschenschanken (wine taverns) along the wine route, one delicacy follows another. You’ll find internal wine, homemade juices and goods from the farmer house. A Buschenschank isn’t a Buschenschank without a snack. Brettljause, Winzerteller or sweet Strudel: that’s Austria at its best. Comfort is most important; this is a great place to be. For example in the Buschenschank of the traditional vineyard Klapsch. We enjoyed, ate and drank. My strong advice: go there and experience southern Styria during grape harvest in the fall. A special delicacy for home: homemade Topfbrot with Austrian spreads.
TWO SPREADS ON HOMEMADE WHOLE-GRAIN BREAD
Liptauer & pumpkin seed spread: these two classics always taste great in the Buschenschank – but just as good at home for brunch.
PUMPKIN SEED SPREAD:
75g sour cream
4 table spoons pumpkin seeds
4 table spoons pumpkin seed oil
Salt & pepper
Mix sour cream with curd until smooth. Stir pumpkin seed oil. Season with salt and pepper. Shortly roast pumpkin seeds and add to mixture.
50g sour cream
½ garlic clove
2 tea spoons paprika
2 tea spoons mustard
2 table spoons chives (chopped; for coating)
Salt & pepper
Whip the butter for several minutes. Mix with sour cream and curd. Press garlic and add to mixture. Add mustard and paprika, season with salt and pepper. Let it rest in the fridge for several hours. Decorate with chives before serving.
Tipp: if you prefer the Liptauer even creamier, use 300g cream cheese instead of butter and sour cream.
HOMEMADE WHOLE-GRAIN BREAD
Ingredients (1 cup = 250ml)
3 cups flour
1pck dry yeast
1,5 cups lukewarm water
5 table spoons pumpkin seeds
2 tea spoons salt
Put flour in a bowl, add salt and dry yeast. Add lukewarm water. Knead in a food processor. Cover and let rise for 2 hours at a warm place (or even overnight). Once the dough doubled, pre-heat oven at 175°C. Add pumpkin seeds to dough. Form round bread, put in the oven and let rise again for 30 minutes. Then bake for 1 hour.
Post By – Cooking Catrin @cookingcatrin