The cuisine of Austria has its roots in the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s cuisine. It has been influenced by Czech, Hungarian, Italian and Bavarian cuisines. Hence, it can be said that the foods of Austria are trans-cultural. While Austria has always been popular for its desserts and pastries, now regional cuisines are getting an impetus with growing tourism.
The country is known to love its desserts. The most classic example of an Austrian dessert is vannilekipferl, which is a Christmas treat of small crescent-shaped biscuits. These are made out of ground hazelnuts or almonds and flavored with vanilla. The biscuits have a heavy coating of powdered sugar. The good news is that though vannilekipferl used be baked mainly during the Christmas season, now you can get it practically all round the year.
The country is also well known for its cakes and chocolates. One of the most popular cakes is Sachertorte. This is a rich 2-layered chocolate sponge cake with a layer of apricot jam between the layers topped with chips of chocolates and dark chocolate icing. This cake is generally served with unsweetened whipped cream.
Vienna, the capital city of Austria, is known for its apfelstrudel. It is an oblong pastry filled with diced apples, cinnamon, sugar, raisins and breadcrumbs. At times, the strudel can be flavored with rum. Also, other ingredients can be added to the strudel, like walnuts, pine nuts and almond slivers. In Vienna, you should not miss eating Beuschel ragout, which is made out of a calf’s heart and lungs. This is similar to the Hungarian goulash and tastes as good, if not better!
The cuisine of Burgenland is influenced by the cuisine of neighboring Hungary. Chicken, fish and goose are the main ingredients in many dishes here. Also, a dish made out of boiled cornmeal known as Polenta is served as a side dish. Saint Martin’s Day is celebrated in this region with a lot of fervor and a typical goose preparation known as Martinigans is prepared. And, Christmas is not about turkey, but about serving a carp dish!
In Carintha, fish is usually served as the main course. However, dairy products, meats and grains are also consumed quite a bit. One famous dish from this region is Carinthian Kasnudeln, which is a kind of dumplings stuffed with fresh Central European cheese and mint. You can also get the meat version of this dish and it is known as Schlickkrapfen. The soup made from pig’s trotters is a nice way to heat up your body on a cold winter’s day.
Similarly, every region in the country is famous for one or more delicacies and a person could spend a life time in Austria trying out these mouthwatering fares.