Austrian Cuisine might not be the healthiest in this world, but it will certainly make you veeeerry happy. Coming to Austria, you should definitely put your diet on hold since all the specialities tend to be somewhat heavy. Not only all the delicious desserts tend to have some more calories than usual but the main courses as well. While in other countries you find simple, grilled meat on the plate, Austrians deep fry basically everything, be it meat or vegetables. Savoury food is primarily made of meat, chicken, all kinds of roots, and grains. Nevertheless, the sweet tooth of Austrians should not be underestimated, they even serve sweets as main courses. Yes, you read right: they just put a bigger portion on the plate and voilà,á you have your main course, mostly with ingredients like chocolate, yeast and jams. Learn more about Austrian delicacies reading through the following list:
Of course, this had to be the first one. A thin, crispy, deep/fried slice of meat, made to let your mouth melt out of deliciousness. The original is made of veal but not so common as veal tends to be expensive. You will rather find Schnitzel made of pork or chicken, one more delicious than the other. Wiener Schnitzel is the centrepiece of all dishes in the sweet, little country in Middle Europe. And it represents Viennese cuisine like nothing else. And speaking of Viennese cuisine: did you know that Vienna was the only city with an own cuisine named after it, rather than the whole country? Think about it. By the way, Viennese people say the best Schnitzel can be found in the restaurants Figlmüller and Fuhrgasslhuber.
A dish that goes back to the time of Austria’s emperor Franz Josef, whose favourite meal was Tafelspitz. From that moment on the boiled meat served with horseradish, grated potatoes, vegetables and cream spinach got more and more famous. Today, you can’t think of Austria’s’ cuisine without thinking of Tafelspitz. Maybe boiled meat might sound tasteless to you. But we promise, if you try Tafelspitz for the first time you will find it super tasty and flavoursome. The word Tafelspitz comes from the type of meat of the dish: a lean, fibred piece from a cow’s back. This dish is contrary to our general conception of Austrian food as it only contains a small layer of fat and, served with boiled carrots, turnips, leeks and potatoes, can be regarded very healthy. Traditionally, Tafelspitz is served in a big bowl containing the broth it was boiled in. If you want to do it like the Austrians, you will eat some soup and vegetables first before cutting the boiled beef and serving it as a main course. All kinds of side dishes are served with Tafelspitz. It starts with the earlier mentioned cream spinach and horseradish, goes on with horseradish sauce and vegetables and ends with herbal cream, mostly containing chives. To eat outstanding Tafelspitz, go to Plachutta in Vienna. You can thank us for it afterwards.
We mentioned earlier that Austrians like to deep-fry everything? Well, they do not only do it with Schnitzel, but likewise with whole breaded chicken pieces. Backhendl is a staple Austrian food in all kinds of taverns and in the typical wineries of Vienna and Lower Austria. In Styria, Backhendl is served as a hearty topping for green salad and refined with a local speciality, namely pumpkin seed oil. It is tossed onto the salad and the Backhendl and makes the whole composition a unique experience of wonderful Austrian food.
Again a dish derived from the Habsburg Empire and is again a heritage of Hungary. Paprikahendl is roasted chicken soaked in a creamy sauce of sweet red pepper. Austrians tend to serve so-called Spaetzle as a side dish. It is a kind of Pasta originated in Germany. To eat some of the best Paprikahendl of Vienna, you must visit Gasthaus Hanno Poeschl, or Wratschko.
Oh, how Austrians love these sweet, thin pancakes. They are very much like French crêpes. Palatschinken can only be found in Austria and even Germans might have never heard of them, unless they visited Austria before already. Nevertheless, Palatschinken are actually not originally Austrian, but from Hungary. The adoption of the yummy pancakes happened when Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Palatschinken are usually served rolled or folded. They mostly contain apricot jam, or vanilla ice-cream. Of course, you can put all kinds of jam or ice cream in it and they will stay just as awesome.
ALL KINDS OF MEHLSPEISEN
If you were visiting Austria for one month, you could eat a different dessert every day. Austria is so much in love with sweet stuff that they even have their own word for all sorts of desserts: Mehlspeisen. It is German and simply means “dishes containing flour”. It is used as general term though, for dishes without flour too.
To start with cakes, the most famous one is called Sachertorte. In English, you can say Sacher cake. This cake is well-known around the globe and Austrians even have a National Sachertorte Day. It basically consists of chocolate but there is a speciality normal chocolate cakes do not have: When taking Sachertorte out of the oven, it is cut in two pieces in the middle and apricot jam is spread on it. Afterwards, the two halves are put together again and the whole cake is coated with delicious, dark chocolate icing. Austrians serve it with a huge load of whipped cream. To taste the two most original ones, go to Hotel Sacher or to the Hofzuckerbäckerei Demel.
Another famous dessert is the Apfelstrudel (apple strudel). It is made of thin pastry layers, apple and raisins, a true delight. Apple strudel is often served with whipped cream or hot vanilla sauce. In Vienna, you can go to one of the famous coffee houses like Café Hawelka, Landtmann, Sperl or Mozart – all of them serve amazing Apfelstrudel.
When in Austria, you need to try Kaiserschmarrn. It is another sweet dish straight from Heaven. Kaiserschmarrn is basically chopped up fluffy pancakes served with apple sauce and a huge load of icing sugar on top.
Last delicacy we would like to introduce to you is Kolatschen (or Golatschen). The English word for it is kolaches. Those are yeasted pastries derived from Czech Republic. Kolatschen do not only come in different shapes but can also be made using different preparation methods. The Czech version – kolace - is round, while the Austrian one is square shaped. One of the most popular versions is made with “Topfen” (curd cheese). We favor not only Topfenkolatsche, but also Mohnkolatsche (with poppy seeds) or Vanillekolatsche (with vanilla cream).
Did you enjoy this list of Austrian dishes? On your next vacation in Austria you can go and try them all!