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Beyond Beer and Bratwurst: Culinary Travel to Austria and Switzerland

Beyond Beer and Bratwurst: Culinary Travel to Austria and Switzerland

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It seems that Western European countries in the colder climates tend to get a bad wrap when it comes to local cuisine. Visitors who think they are experiencing the best of the nations’ delights frequent beer gardens, bratwurst (or sausage) kiosks, and fondue joints in a misguided attempt to experience the cities like the native population.

And while tourists may enjoy such experiences, my recent two-week visit to four of the Best of The Alps ski resorts dining shed a new light on the dining scene in two of the most sought-after winter destination for those who love to head to the snow. :

Planning on making a visit to Austria and Switzerland to enjoy both the slopes and the culinary delights? Be sure to visit these nine eateries.

Restaurant Post Stub’n, St. Anton Am Arlberg, Austria
What to order: deep-water prawns with garlic, shallots, and chili peppers

Galzig Verwallstube Arlberger, St. Anton, Austria
What to order: Austrian cream cheese dumplings with strawberry foam and coulis

Hospiz Alm, St. Christoph, Austria
What to order: cream of coconut, Tanddori chicken sesame stick

Aurelio Hotel, Lech, Austria:
What to order: green tomato and caviar soup

Hotel Pfefferkorn, Lech, Austria
What to order: après ski cocktails – Aperol spritzer (orange) and St. Germain spritzer

Hotel Carlton, St. Moritz, Switzerland
What to order: caviar and cream appetizer

La Marmite, St. Moritz, Switzerland
What to order: Black truffle pizza

Seehofstübli, Davos, Switzerland
What to order: lobster broth and cream

Hotel Steffani, St. Moritz, Switzerland
What to order: Swiss wine

Thank you to the outstanding team at Switzerland Tourism for their sponsorship, and to Austrian Tourism for the local help while visiting the Best of the Alps resorts. Please visit their websites for trip planning advice and “taste” for yourself!


GERMANY, AUSTRIA, SWITZERLAND. These three nations represent the heartland of German-speaking Europe, although their present borders by no means demarcate the farthest geographical extent of German culture and its historical influence. Modern Germany came into existence in 1871 out of an amalgam of petty dukedoms and small kingdoms that traced their origins to the Holy Roman Empire of the Middle Ages. Modern Austria was created in 1918 out of the German-speaking provinces of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Its borders have been stable since then. Switzerland's political independence began in 1291 with an uprising led by William Tell, but the long struggle was not complete until 1412, when peace was made with the House of Habsburg. The Habsburgs, who later created the Austrian empire, were originally Swiss, and the ruin of their castle can still be seen in Canton Aargau. While the political evolution of German-speaking Europe is complex, the culinary divisions are far more distinctly defined.

The largest division is based on religion. Northern and eastern Germany are mostly Protestant (Lutheran), while the South is Roman Catholic. Austria is predominantly Roman Catholic. Switzerland is Roman Catholic and Protestant Reformed (Calvinist). These religious differences have had a great influence on foodways and eating habits. In the Protestant areas of Germany, many older religious festivals were discarded. One of the most important changes, however, was the abolishment of fasting except during Lent. The Protestants also gave up the big Carnival processions and the feasting that accompanied them. The German Pietists in particular abjured drinking, gluttony, and carousing with dance. Thus, northern Germany's food habits became markedly different from those of the South. Differences in religion also affected the movement and acceptance of various new customs such as the Christmas tree, which slowly moved south into Bavaria and Austria during the nineteenth century.

While religion has created an overlying framework for the culinary culture of German-speaking Europe, geography has played a fundamental historical role. The Rhine River Valley, which begins at Lake Constance in Switzerland, has been a major cradle of culture for thousands of years. It was the homeland of the ancient Gauls, whose preference for pork and beer is still deeply embedded in German culture. The Rhine Valley became the most important military region of the Roman Empire, and for a short period of time, Trier, Germany, was the capital of the Empire. The vestiges of Roman culture, such as viticulture, sausage making, pretzels, gingerbread, even half-timbered architecture, have all come to represent core features of traditional culture in these three countries. The most significant geographic feature, however, is the Alps, rugged mountains that form a physical barrier between German-speaking Europe and the Mediterranean. The high mountain regions of Bavaria, Switzerland, and western Austria have evolved a cuisine that is quite distinct from that of the rest of German-speaking Europe. Its focal point is dairying, with milk products and cheese forming the major components.

While the geographic barriers are significant, it is also important to keep in mind that German-speaking Europe is not one monolithic culture. It is composed of many regional cultures and dialects. Alemannic-speaking southwest Germany, Alsace, and Switzerland are home to a very distinct food culture — and the richest agricultural regions — while the Plattdeutsch area of northern Germany, centered on the swampy lowlands bordering the North Sea and the Baltic, offers yet another culinary identity: tea drinking, fish cookery, beer, foods using oats or buckwheat, and very dark rye breads.

Since the 1970s, there has been a revival of interest in dialects and regional cookery and an impressive outpouring of cookbooks exploring local cuisines and food products. This has been a revival in the most literal sense because scholars in all three countries began studying regional foods and foodways in the 1840s thus the accumulated food literature is extensive and a full century ahead of what has been undertaken in the United States. The W ö rter und Sachen (Terms and Objects) movement of the early 1900s was particularly active in recording traditional foods and terminologies. Unfortunately, the National Socialist Party, which came to power in Germany in 1933, employed this research toward political ends. Since 1945, the words ethnisch ('ethnic') and Volk ('folk') in German have carried such a pejorative association with Nazi propaganda that their use is now generally avoided in serious scholarly writings about food.

There is also a sharp dichotomy between the culinary writings of scholarship and the culinary writing of popular cookbooks. Mass-market cookbooks have created the idea of a national German or Austrian cuisine, whereas food scholars have decried this as artificial and misleading, since there are only regional or highly localized cooking traditions, which do not represent the political boundaries of the country. These local traditions often overflow the borders into adjoining countries such as France, Slovakia, Slovenia, and even northern Italy.


Meat Edit

The average annual meat consumption is 59.7 kg (132 lb) per person. The most common varieties are pork, poultry and beef. Other varieties of meat are widely available, but are considered to be insignificant.

Meat is usually braised fried dishes also exist, but these recipes usually originate from France and Austria. Several cooking methods used to soften tough cuts have evolved into national specialties, including Sauerbraten (sour roast), involving marinating beef, horse meat or venison in a vinegar or wine vinegar mixture over several days.

A long tradition of sausage-making exists in Germany more than 1,500 different types of sausage (German: Wurst) are made. [5] [6] [7] [8] Most Wurst is made with natural casings of pork, sheep or lamb intestines. Among the most popular and most common are Bratwurst, usually made of ground pork and spices, the Wiener (Viennese), which may be pork or beef and is smoked and fully cooked in a water bath, and Blutwurst (blood sausage) or Schwarzwurst (black sausage) made from blood (often of pigs or geese). Thousands of types of cold cuts also are available which are also called "Wurst" in German. There are many regional specialties, such as the Münchner Weißwurst (Munich white sausage) popular in Bavaria or the Currywurst (depending on region, either a steamed pork sausage or a version of the Bratwurst, sliced and spiced with curry ketchup) popular in the metropolitan areas of Berlin, Hamburg and the Ruhr Area. Strict regulations governing what may and may not be put into them have been in force in Germany since the 13th century. In the market ordinance of Landshut in 1236, it was set down that only top-quality meat could be made into sausages. [9]

Fish Edit

Of salt water fish, Alaska pollock is the most common. [10] Popular freshwater fish on the German menu are trout, pike, carp, and European perch also are listed frequently. [11] Seafood traditionally was restricted to the northern coastal areas, except for pickled herring, which was often served in a Fischbrötchen, as Rollmops (a pickled herring fillet rolled into a cylindrical shape around a piece of pickled gherkin or onion), or Brathering (fried, marinated herring).

Today, many sea fish, such as fresh herring, tuna, mackerel, salmon and sardines, are well established throughout the country. [12] [13] Prior to the industrial revolution and the ensuing pollution of the rivers, salmon were common in the rivers Rhine, Elbe, and Oder and only slowly started to return along with a growing consciousness for environmental questions and resulting measures, such as state-of-the-art sewage plants, reduction of agricultural deposits, et cetera.

Fish fingers, known as Fischstäbchen (lit.: "fish sticklets"), [14] are a popular processed food made using a whitefish, such as cod, haddock or pollock, which has been battered or breaded.

Vegetables Edit

Vegetables are often used in stews or vegetable soups, but are also served as side dishes. Carrots, [15] cauliflower, [16] [17] turnips, [18] spinach, [19] peas, [20] beans, broccoli and many types of cabbage are very common. [17] [21] Fried onions are a common addition to many meat dishes throughout the country. Circa 1900, carrots were sometimes roasted in water, with the broth used in place of coffee. [22]

Asparagus is a popular seasonal side or main dish with a yearly per-capita consumption of 1.5 kg (3.3 lb). [23] The white variety is especially popular in Germany and more common than green asparagus. [24] [25] Restaurants will sometimes devote an entire menu to nothing but white asparagus when it is in season. [26] Spargel season (German: Spargelzeit or Spargelsaison) traditionally begins in mid-April and ends on St. John's Day (24 June). [27] [28]

Breakfast (Frühstück) commonly consists of bread, toast, or bread rolls with butter or margarine, cold cuts, cheeses, jam (Konfitüre or more commonly called Marmelade), honey and eggs (typically boiled). [29] [30] [31] Common drinks at breakfast are coffee, tea, milk, cocoa (hot or cold) or fruit juices. [29] It is very common to eat hearty toppings at breakfast, including deli meats like ham, salted meats, salami and meat-based spreads such as Leberwurst (liver sausage),Teewurst or Mettwurst and cheeses such as Gouda, Frischkäse (cream cheese), Brie, Harzer Roller, Bergkäse and more. Most bakeries tend to sell belegte Brötchen (sandwiches from bread rolls), especially in the morning, for people on the go.

Traditionally, the main meal of the day has been lunch (Mittagessen), eaten around noon. [32] Dinner (Abendessen or Abendbrot) was always a smaller meal, often consisting only of a variety of breads, meat or sausages, cheese and some kind of vegetables, similar to breakfast, or possibly sandwiches. Smaller meals added during the day bear names such as Vesper (in the south), Brotzeit (bread time, also in the south), Kaffee und Kuchen ( listen ( help · info ) , literally for "coffee and cake"), or Kaffeetrinken. It is a very German custom and comparable with the English Five-o'clock-Tea. It takes time between lunch and dinner, often on Sundays with the entire family.

However, in Germany, as in other parts of Europe, dining habits have changed over the last 50 years. Today, many people eat only a small meal in the middle of the day at work, often also a second breakfast, and enjoy a hot dinner in the evening at home with the whole family. [33]

For others, the traditional way of eating is still rather common, not only in rural areas. Breakfast is still very popular and may be elaborate and extended on weekends, with friends invited as guests the same holds for coffee and cake. Since the 1990s, the Sunday brunch has also become common, especially in city cafés.

Noodles, made from wheat flour and egg, are usually thicker than the Italian flat pasta. Especially in the southwestern part of the country, the predominant variety of noodles are Spätzle, [34] made with a large number of eggs, and Maultaschen, traditional stuffed noodles reminiscent of ravioli.

Besides noodles, potatoes are common. [35] Potatoes entered the German cuisine in the late 17th century, and were almost ubiquitous in the 19th century and since. They most often are boiled (in salt water, Salzkartoffeln), but mashed (Kartoffelpüree or Kartoffelbrei) and pan-roasted potatoes (Bratkartoffeln) also are traditional. French fries, called Pommes frites, Pommes (spoken as "Pom fritz" or, respectively, "Pommes", deviating from the French pronunciation which would be "Pom freet" or "Pom") or regionally as Fritten in German, are a common style of fried potatoes they are traditionally offered with either ketchup or mayonnaise, or, as Pommes rot/weiß (lit. fries red/white), with both.

Also common are dumplings [34] [36] (including Klöße as the term in the north or Knödel as the term in the south) and in southern Germany potato noodles, including Schupfnudeln, which are similar to Italian gnocchi.

Salads, also modern variations, as well as vegetarian dishes are becoming more and more popular in Germany. [37]

With the exception of mustard for sausages, German dishes are rarely hot and spicy [38] the most popular herbs and spices are traditionally parsley, thyme, laurel, chives, black pepper (used in small amounts), juniper berries, nutmeg, and caraway. [38] Cardamom, anise seed, and cinnamon are often used in sweet cakes or beverages associated with Christmas time, and sometimes in the preparation of sausages, but are otherwise rare in German meals. Other herbs and spices, such as basil, sage, oregano, and hot chili peppers, have become popular since the early 1980s. Fresh dill is very common in a green salad or fish fillet.

Mustard (Senf) is a very common accompaniment to sausages and can vary in strength, [8] [39] [40] the most common version being Mittelscharf (medium hot), which is somewhere between traditional English and French mustards in strength. Düsseldorf, similar to French's Deli Mustard with a taste that is very different from Dijon, and the surrounding area are known for its particularly spicy mustard, which is used both as a table condiment and in local dishes such as Senfrostbraten (pot roast with mustard). [41] In the southern parts of the country, a sweet variety of mustard is made which is almost exclusively served with the Bavarian speciality Weißwurst. German mustard is usually considerably less acidic than American varieties.

Horseradish is commonly used as a condiment either on its own served as a paste, enriched with cream (Sahnemeerrettich), or combined with mustard. [42] In some regions of Germany, it is used with meats and sausages where mustard would otherwise be used. Its use in Germany has been documented to the 16th century, when it was used as medicine, and as a food, whereby its leaves were consumed as a vegetable. [43]

Garlic has never played a large role in traditional German cuisine, [44] but has risen in popularity in recent decades due to the influence of French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, and Turkish cuisines. Ramson, a rediscovered herb from earlier centuries, has become quite popular again since the 1990s.

A wide variety of cakes, tarts and pastries are served throughout the country, [45] [46] most commonly made with fresh fruit. Apples, plums, strawberries, and cherries are used regularly in cakes. Cheesecake is also very popular, often made with quark. Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest cake, made with cherries) is probably the most well-known example of a wide variety of typically German tortes filled with whipped or butter cream. [47]

German doughnuts (which have no hole) are usually balls of yeast dough with jam or other fillings, and are known as Berliner, Pfannkuchen (in Berlin and Eastern Germany), [48] Kreppel or Krapfen, depending on the region. [49] [50] Eierkuchen or Pfannkuchen are large (usually around 20–24 cm in diameter), and relatively thin (

5mm) pancakes, [51] comparable to the French crêpes. They are served covered with sugar, jam or syrup. Salty variants with cheese, ground meat or bacon exist as well as variants with apple slices baked in (called Apfelpfannkuchen, literally for apple pancakes), but they are usually considered to be main dishes rather than desserts. In some regions, Eierkuchen are filled and then wrapped in others, they are cut into small pieces and arranged in a heap (called Kaiserschmarrn, often including raisins baked in). The word Pfannkuchen means pancake in most parts of Germany. [50]

A popular dessert in northern Germany is Rote Grütze, red fruit pudding, which is made with black and red currants, raspberries and sometimes strawberries or cherries cooked in juice with corn starch as a thickener. [52] It is traditionally served with cream, but also is served with vanilla sauce, milk or whipped cream. [52] Rhabarbergrütze (rhubarb pudding) [53] and Grüne Grütze (gooseberry fruit pudding) are variations of the Rote Grütze. A similar dish, Obstkaltschale, may also be found all around Germany. [54]

Ice cream and sorbets are also very popular. [55] Italian-run ice cream parlours were the first large wave of foreign-run eateries in Germany, which began around the mid 1850s, becoming widespread in the 1920s. [56] Spaghettieis, which resembles spaghetti, tomato sauce, and ground cheese on a plate, is a popular ice cream dessert. [57]

On the Christmas Days following Christmas Eve, roasted goose is a staple of Christmas Day meals. [58] [59] It is sometimes replaced with European carp, [60] particularly in Southern areas. The carp is cut into pieces, coated in breadcrumbs and fried in fat. Common side dishes are potato salad, cucumber salad or potatoes.

This could not be further from the truth. Not only did Avalon do a fabulous job of offering traditional Austrian cuisine at each meal, but their Active and Discovery Cruise meant loads of super-unique Austrian food and drink experiences.

They helped us learn what to eat in Austria. We also didn’t feel overly scheduled during our cruise. We tried some of the dishes mentioned in this Austrian food guide onboard. In Vienna and Linz, though, we explored on our own a bit as well.

Avalon’s way of cruising means you can be as scheduled or as independent as you want. That’s how we spent much of our time in Vienna. We researched what to eat in Vienna and then tracked down those dishes in the cities and villages we visited.

20 Best Austrian Food

Are you looking for the best Austrian dishes? There are plenty of Austrian delicacies and traditional dishes that draw foodies and chefs here from different parts of the world. If you are wondering which food and drink in Austria you should consume, take a look at the best Austrian dishes for a delightful experience! Austrian food will surely put you in a food coma, and the best of it has been mentioned below!

  • Viennese Apfelstrudel: Austrian National Food
  • Wiener Schnitzel: Fried Delight
  • Vienna Sausage: Austrian Authenticity
  • Knödel: Flavorful Dumpling
  • Tafelspitz: Boiled Beef
  • Tiroler Gröstl: Tradition Inspired
  • Käsespätzle: Cheesy Delight
  • Potato Gulasch: Tasty Treat
  • Kaiserschmarrn: Flavor Palate
  • Buchteln: Ecstatic Dessert
  • Brettljause: Amazing ‘Snack’
  • Sachertorte: Sweet Retreat
  • Kardinalschnitte: Potently Delicious
  • Fiakergulasch: Appetizing Dish
  • Martinigans: Savory Snack
  • Mondseer: Cheesy Affair
  • Spargel: Leafy Goodness
  • Powidltascherl: Plum Jam Turnovers
  • Belegte Brote: Open Sandwiches
  • Topfentascherl: Curd Pastry

1. Viennese Apfelstrudel: Austrian National Food

The Germans may argue that the Strudel belongs to them, but Austria has wholeheartedly taken to the sweet crusty Apfelstrudel, which is counted among their national foods. The Apfelstrudel is a flaky pastry that is lined with apple filling and qualifies as vegetarian Austrian food, while the restaurants in Germany also serve a different version. The filling itself is spiced with cinnamon, sugar and added with raisins. The smell of Apfelstrudel right out of the oven can make any foodie go weak in the knees! You can also find it commonly as it’s a beloved Austrian street food and is easily available for a bite anytime. This is amongst the most popular Austrian cuisine.

Where to eat: Cafe Mozart, Albertinaplatz 2, Vienna

2. Wiener Schnitzel: Fried Delight

If there is one dish that is synonymous with Austrian cooking it is the Schnitzel! Known as the Wiener Schnitzel or the Vienna Schnitzel, it is counted among the Austrian national food dishes. It is a yummy fried delight and is served with a side of fried potatoes and sour cream and onions. You can find this dish right from street food stalls to high-end restaurants! Similar to fish and chips, the Schnitzel is often had at casual lunches. This is a traditional Austrian food.

Where to eat: Figlmuller, Wollzeile 5, Vienna

3. Vienna Sausage: Austrian Authenticity

The Vienna sausage is bound to feature in your search for authentic Austrian food. Eastern European cuisine is dominated by the use of meats and the sausage is one of the favourite foods of Austrians. This type of sausage is parboiled made of pork and beef and then smoked at low temperatures. It is then used in main dishes or simply fried and served in a hot bun. It is one of the top Austrian foods and hence you must try while on your net trip to Austria.

Where to eat: Bitzinger Wurstelstand Albertina, Augustinerstrasse 1, Vienna

4. Knödel: Flavorful Dumpling

World over various cuisines have their own form of dumplings and Knödel is the form of dumpling that is popular all across Eastern Europe. In fact, it is even served at many Michelin rated restaurants in the world owing to its classic taste. The Austrians too have adopted the Knödel and made it their own. Counted among the best Austrian foods and Austrian snacks, the Knödel can be both sweet and savoury. The savoury Knödel are served as a side dish or even as meatballs in soup, while the best of sweet Knödel is a variety made up of plums.

Where to eat: Knoedel Manufaktur, Josefstaedter Strasse 89, Vienna

5. Tafelspitz: Boiled Beef

Tafelspitz is a typical Austrian food that is found as a main course in many restaurants across the country. A classic dish, it is made up of beef boiled in a broth of vegetables and spices. The beef is then served with minced apples and horseradish or sour cream with chives. The hearty meal is filling and has rustic beginnings. The name itself refers to a cut of the beef and will mean different things in a food market and a restaurant!

Where to eat: Plachutta Wollzeile, Wollzeile 38, Vienna

6. Tiroler Gröstl: Tradition Inspired

The Tiroler Gröstl is comfort food at its best! Among the most common traditional Austrian food in Vienna, it is more common in the Austrian Alps. The rich dish is also simple and is a pan-fried dish of potato, chopped beef or pork with lots of butter and onion. Often topped with a fried egg, it’s a must try for someone fancying classic Austrian foods. Generally it is called as Gröstl, while this variant particularly belongs to the ski resort region of Tirol.

Where to eat: Gasthof Weisses Rossl, Kiebachgasse 8, Innsbruck

7. Käsespätzle: Cheesy Delight

Nothing warms up your stomach like a cheesy bowl of macaroni & cheese! And those living and holidaying up in the mountains of Austria will vouch for the famous Austrian food, Käsespätzle, that is Austria’s answer to Mac n’ cheese! The spatzle is essentially a soft egg noodle and found in different shapes and varieties and look like little nuggets. The Käsespätzle comes with a generous helping of cheese and goes well with a nice wine. This is one of the best things to eat in Austria.

Where to eat: Gasthaus Seibl, Oberhaggen 1, Lochau, Vorarlberg

8. Potato Gulasch: Tasty Treat

The hearty and spicy Gulasch although originally from Hungary has been a long-standing part of the Austrian food culture. The Gulasch is a hot soupy stew and comes in many variants as soups usually go. One of the most popular Austrian dishes that is also found in homes across Austria is the potato Gulasch. Made up of vegetables like potatoes, onions, bell pepper and sausages it is seasoned with hot paprika. A bowl of Gulasch tastes best with a side of toasted bread and works as the best Austrian breakfast.

Where to eat: Gulaschmuseum, Schulerstrasse, Vienna

9. Kaiserschmarrn: Flavor Palate

Kaiserschmarrn is literally a meal fit for the kings! The name of the dish is ‘Kaiser’ meaning King and ‘Schmarrn’ meaning shred. The dish is basically fluffy shredded pancakes! The sweet dish if served as a dessert or even as a meal on its own. The pancakes are shredded into small pieces and topped with jams, sweet sauces, fruit compotes and caramelized dry fruits. The dish developed in the 19th century has since become a part of traditional Austrian food.

Where to eat: Cafe Central, Herrengasse 14, Corner Herrengasse / Stauchgasse, Vienna

10. Buchteln: Ecstatic Dessert

Austrian food has many Bohemian influences and the Buchteln is one such dish that has become a part of the Austrian everyday food. Buchteln is a delicious baked food with sweet fillings of jam, ground poppy or sweet curds. The soft buns have a browned crunchy top and are airy and spongy inside due to the yeast bread. They are often served as a dessert topped with vanilla sauce or simply sugared on top! This is one of the famous Austrian desserts you must try!

Where to eat: Cafe Hawelka, Dorotheergasse 6, Vienna

11. Brettljause: Amazing ‘Snack’

Sticking to the meaning of its name in which ‘Jause’ means a snack between meals and ‘Brettl’ is a wooden board on which it is served, Brettljause is a delicious Austrian snack that you must try. A basic Brettljause dish contains bread, meat, pickled vegetables, and spreads. There are different versions of this dish available in Austria for which will you have to explore the country a little!

Where to Eat: Zum Weissen Rauchfangkehrer, Vienna, Austria

12. Sachertorte: Sweet Retreat

Who doesn’t love desserts? Head to any bakery serving traditional Austrian food and try the local dessert Sachertorte which will make you fall in love with Austrian food for sure. Moreover, Austria has a long history of making some of the finest desserts in the world and you shouldn’t miss out on the experience of tasting each one of them. Other than Sachertorte, don’t forget to try other desserts like Esterhazy-Schnitte, Rehrücken, and Topfentascherl.

Where to Eat: Cafes in Austria

13. Kardinalschnitte: Potently Delicious

Kardinalschnitte is a layered dessert which is meringue based, and is really common in the city of Vienna. The colors of the dessert, white and gold, are synonymous with the colors of catholic church. The name of the dessert loosely translates to cardinal slices, and is sure to excite your taste buds. The desert consists of thick cream on the interior, and interlaced walls of cornmeal butter. Topped with coffee flavor and fresh berries, this dessert is best tasted with a glass of sweet wine.

Where To Eat: Teufner Backerei Cafe Konditorei, Melk, Austria

14. Fiakergulasch: Appetizing Dish

A variation of the traditional Viennese goulash, Fiakergulasch is an Austria food made of diced beef prepared in sauce of onions, garlic, water, tomato, vinegar, bay leaves, and more. This dish is usually served with a variety of garnishes and accompaniments such as fried wiener sausage, fan-cut pickled gherkins, bread dumplings, and sunny side-up eggs. This dish is popular as a hangover remedy, and you will find this Austria food across cafes being served in the mornings.

Where To Eat: Gasthaus Zur Eisernen Zeit, Vienna, Austria

15. Martinigans: Savory Snack

Martinigans is a type of stuffed goose that is widely prepared across Austria as a traditional food on the occasion of St. Martin’s Day. Although there are many variations of this food in Austria, typically it is stuffed with chestnuts, and dried plums before it is roasted. You may also put some gravy on the stuffed goose which is prepared as a combination of pan drippings, and stock.

Where To Eat: Restaurant Krone, Dornbin, Austria

16. Mondseer: Cheesy Affair

Mondseer is a type of Austrian cheese that is prepared from pasteurized milk obtained from cows. Mondseer originates from the town of Mondsee, thus giving it its name. This semi-hard cheese is of pale yellow color with its rind washed. The texture of the cheese is open, creamy, smooth, and firm, and has a strong aroma. The cheese is infused with red cultures and salt water giving it a sweet and spicy flavor.

Where To Eat: Mondsee, Austria

17. Spargel: Leafy Goodness

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One local delight that we recommend trying if you’re visiting in the spring is asparagus. Austria and Vienna offer some of the world’s most delicious green and white asparagus, invariably prepared in creative, fresh ways.

Spargel is a delightful summer dish served in many restaurants and cafes across Austria. In fact, you’ll start noticing this dish appearing in menus across all restaurants here just as the summer season starts to set in. Served with a hearty dollop of butter and a generous sprinkle of lemon, this dish is made with asparagus and is doused in breadcrumbs for that perfect taste. It can also be made as a fresh soup or simply wrapped in prosciutto with a dash of hollandaise sauce. Regardless of how it’s made and served, it is one of the most famous Austrian traditional food served in Austria in summer.

Where To Eat: Marchfelderhof, Vienna, Austria

18. Powidltascherl: Plum Jam Turnovers

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Powidltascherl are delicious plum jam turnovers that are a delicacy in Austria. It’s the best food in Austria that you won’t find anywhere outside this country and Germany, and we’re not kidding! Though it was initially served in restaurants of Czech Republic, this dish has now become a staple in Austrian kitchens. It’s essentially a delicate pastry that is made with a specific kind of potato dough before it is filled with a blend of plum jam, rum (or plum schnapps). For a final touch, it is usually topped with a mix of breadcrumbs, cinnamon, vanilla, dry fruits like walnuts, and butter. It often arrives on the table with melted chocolate, like other famous Austrian dishes.

Where To Eat: Pfudl, Vienna, Austria

19. Belegte Brote: Open Sandwiches

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While sandwiches are supposed to be enclosed by bread on both ends (thus, “sandwich”), the Belegte Brote are mini sandwiches that are served open-faced. It’s among the most flavorful food to try in Austria owing to its variety of fillings (or rather toppings since the sandwiches are open) and an absolute Austrian classic. There are various places across Austria where you can try these delicious and colorful sandwiches with any choice of beverage be it tea or beer.

Where To Eat: Trześniewski, Vienna, Austria

20. Topfentascherl: Curd Pastry

This is yet another delightful dessert for those with a sweet tooth. Just as delicious as crepes, apple strudel, and Austrian pancakes, Topfentascherl is the traditional sweet and savoury dish served alongside almost all Austrian meals in the households, bakeries, local restaurants, and even the Indian restaurants in Salzburg and Vienna. It’s essentially a pastry filled with curd and loaded with all types of fruit instead of sugar to make it appetizing and healthy at the same time. The usual fruits that become a part of this yummy pastry include apricots and banana, but you can add more types of fruits if you’re feeling creative and love the blend of fruits and curd!

Where To Eat: Das Restaurant Wasserfall, Salzburg, Austria

There’s indeed a lot to savor when it comes to Austrian food, this list was just a short guide to help you pick your priorities during your vacation in the lovely land. If you are keen for relishing these authentic delicacies, pack your bags and book a fantastic holiday to Austria for a beautiful experience abroad.

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Austria Food Regions

The country of Austria is made up of nine states, or länder in German (and in case you weren’t aware, the language of Austria is German.) But “Land” is also the German word for "country", so Austrians use the word bundesländer to refer to the different federation states, or regions.

The climate, soil, and growing conditions between North and South Austria are distinct. You’ll find significant variations in meat offerings as well as food preparation and technique depending on the region you’re in. In fact, some regional food variations are so small, you might be surprised at the impact they could have on a region and its food products.

Rolling hills and wineries of south Austria

Take South Styria (Südsteiermark), for example, where the tiny pumpkin seed rules! This one food — seeds or the ever-present pumpkinseed oil — can be found on every table here in one dish or another, like traditional balsamico di Modena would be in Italy’s Emilia Romagna region.

Each region in Austria has its individual, unmistakable cultural identity, and, of course their own Austrian culinary specialties.

What do Germans eat for breakfast?

A typical German breakfast often consists of some kind of bread, butter, cold cuts, and cheese. Some of the toppings can also be Marmalades or Nutella.

Germans typically have a cup of coffee along with their breakfast. Milk and Orange- and Apple juice are also commonly served with a typical breakfast in Germany.

7. Obazda

Cheese dip as a side to beer is never a bad idea and is hard to beat, but not if you are Bavarian! Obazda is made from aged cheese, a lot of butter, spices and a dash of beer. To top it off, this is normally spread on those enormous pretzels, meaning you are going to get to eat a whole lot of it. Serve it up to your friends next time they are over with What’s4Eats’ recipe.

Brush Up on Your Wine Knowledge

2. Meet a Winemaker

Cruise line Norwegian takes its wine program seriously sailings include a series of Meet the Winemaker voyages on three of their ocean ships. Meet Gérard Bertrand, renowned vintner of Languedoc-Roussillon, over tastings, seminars, and dinners onboard the Norwegian Bliss this February as it cruises through the Eastern Caribbean. (Cruise from $799 dinners from $60 tastings, $20

3. Earn a Sommelier Qualification

Super-luxury line Silversea doesn’t just offer tastings, lectures, and classes on board their specialized wine cruises—you also can earn a recognized sommelier qualification on the Silver Whisper’s May sailing from London to Barcelona. The itinerary includes an optional stop at Château Smith Haut Lafitte. (14-day cruise from $7,020, all-inclusive

4. Drink From a 10,000-Bottle Wine Cellar

When you cruise on one of Crystal’s eight river and ocean vessels, your ship has an impressive 10,000-bottle cellar. To taste the rare highlights of the collection, book the Vintage Room, a 12-seat table on each ship. A sommelier walks you through the pairings: a rich slab of foie gras, say, might come with a crisp glass of 2009 Dom Pérignon. (Six-course dinners from $250 per person —Jacqueline Gifford


One thing to understand about Austrian food culture is that in Austria, food is relished and meals are celebrated. Austrians can spend more than an hour discussing various topics over a meal and afterwards spend an equal amount of time to finish their conversations over a cup of coffee and dessert. This behavior is often referred to as typical Austrian Gemuetlichkeit and is distinctive to Austrian culture. Gemuetlichkeit, a word which has been adopted in the English language, describes an environment or state of mind that produces a happy mood and a sense of well-being. It describes a notion of belonging and social acceptance, of being cozy and welcomed. That is exactly what you would expect to find in most of Austria’s local taverns, restaurants and cafés. In this section we show you where Austrians love to spend their time during the year.


Visiting one of the many Christkindlmärkte (Christmas markets) in Austria is a popular tradition during the four weeks of Advent. Christkindlmärkte can be described as street markets that sell Christmas ornaments, cookies and other things related to Christmas. Apart from shopping people like to enjoy a Gluehwine, Punsch and many other festive delicacies.

© Österreich Werbung, Fotograf: Popp G.

© Österreich Werbung, Fotograf: Karl Thomas

In spring, around Easter, visiting the Ostermarkt (Easter Market) is a popular tradition in Austria, especially in Vienna where several markets are opened for visitors to buy traditional Easter decorations like artistically decorated eggs. In addition, this folk festival also offers other arts and crafts from all over Austria, typical Austrian food and Easter specialties like the chocolate Easter Bunnies, Easter loafs, or baked Easter lambs, as well as entertainment.

It was Austrian Emperor Joseph II in the 18th century who issued a decree that permitted all residents to open establishments to sell and serve self-produced wine, juices and other food and snacks. Until the 20th century, it was quite customary for guests to bring along their own food to go with the wine they drank at the tavern now known as Heuriger. Heurig means most recent in German and at a Heuriger the most recent wine is served. Heuriger is one of the most popular and most frequented places, Austrians like to go to during the Spring, Summer and Autumn months to experience Gemuetlichkeit. Typical foods and drinks that are served at a Heuriger include Brettljause (a variation of cheese, sausages and spreads) and Liptauer (a spread flavored with pepper, wine and must (a kind of apple cider). Read more on Heurigen here.

Wiener Wuerstelstand

The Wiener Wuerstelstand is a long-standing tradition. During a night out these street-side booths serve fast and inexpensive snacks, including a great variety of sausages. Some of the most popular snacks include Bosna (a hot dog with Bratwurst sausage, onions, and a blend of mustard and/or tomato ketchup and curry powder), Sacherwuerstl (sausage served with mustard, horseradish and a kaiser roll) and Kaesekrainer (sausage filled with cheese).

Funkensonntag (bonfire Sunday)

© / Archiv Vorarlberg Tourismus

Funkenfeuer (short: Funken bonfire) is a tradition in the Swabian-Alemannic area. In Austria, it is only celebrated in the west, i.e. Vorarlberg and the Tyrolean uplands. This annual bonfire takes place in early spring on the first Sunday after Ash Wednesday (Funkensonntag bonfire Sunday). Depending on the region the Funken is either a heap of straw or a piled up wooden tower that can reach a height of up to 30 meters (98.4 feet). In Austria, the Funken usually is a wooden tower with a witch figure, made of old clothes that are filled with gunpowder, sitting on top.

Several customs are part of this celebration and vary depending on the region. The Funkenwache means that the night before the bonfire the Funken is watched by guards to prevent it from being burned down. Sometimes in the afternoon of the Funkensonntag there is a Kinderfunken, which is a Funken for children. On the evening of Funkensonntag before the Funken is set on fire there is a Fackelzug (torchlight procession) accompanied by a local marching band. The people then watch the Funken burning until the fire reaches the top and the witch on top is set on fire and eventually explodes. The celebration mostly ends with fireworks.

The aim of this tradition mainly is to drive out the winter. While the explosion of the witch means luck, it is a bad omen when the Funken falls over before the witch explodes. This then means that the witch has to be buried the next day.

In the Easter part of Austria, there is a similar tradition called Sonnwendfeier (Midsummer solstice), which is traditionally celebrated on June 21. This date marks the shortest night and the longest day of the year. Each year a spectacular procession of ships makes its way down the Danube River through the wine-growing Wachau Valley just north of Vienna. Up to 30 ships sail down the river in line as fireworks erupt from the banks and hill tops while bonfires blaze and the vineyards are lit up. Lighted castle ruins also erupt with fireworks during the 90-minute cruise downstream.


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