Austrian dishes are easy to prepare, satisfying and available ingredients. The country’s cuisine was formed under the influence of the traditions of many peoples and cultures – from Germans to Italians, which made it interesting and original. Tourists are advised to taste local sweets, as well as meat delicacies: sausages, sausages and the famous Viennese schnitzel.
General characteristics of the national Austrian cuisine
Despite the influence of many neighboring cultures, Austrian cuisine remains original and distinctive. The combination of simple peasant food and the exquisite gastronomic traditions of Germany, Italy, Sweden and other countries has given rise to many interesting dishes – from soups to desserts.
The national cuisine of Austria offers quite conservative, but at the same time hearty and tasty dishes.
The main features of Austrian cuisine:
- easy to prepare, hearty meals;
- the use of high-calorie foods;
- a large number of meat dishes, including game and offal;
- the main side dish is potatoes and vegetables, cereals and cereals are rarely used;
- unusual sauces;
- variety of dishes;
- the use of a large amount of oil for frying and for dressing.
Austrian cuisine is conservative. Most of the old recipes have lasted for centuries unchanged.
In Austrian cuisine, hot spices and seasonings are practically not used. Instead, residents prefer to use more neutral spices: cumin, rosemary, nutmeg. Ginger is also popular, it is extremely useful for health and immunity. The almost complete absence of acute will delight people with a weak stomach.
Roots and herbs are widely used from healthy foods. Parsley, spinach, onions are added to many national delicacies.
The culinary traditions of Austria were formed under the influence of the gastronomic customs of the peoples of Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Italy, Poland, Croatia and other countries with which it waged war. This is due to the wide variety of dishes and the pronounced regional fragmentation. It is believed that there are very few original Austrian delicacies. Most of them were formed under the influence of different foreign cultures, which is the reason for the unique “patchwork” of the cuisine.
Another feature of the historical development is that most of the dishes were invented by the families of peasants and workers, and not by the nobility. Only later did the royal court and the aristocracy borrow the recipes from the table of the common people. Because of this, Austrian cuisine is considered affordable and inexpensive. It is dominated by simple and hearty dishes prepared with local ingredients.
Simple folk traditions are clearly visible in Austrian cuisine.
Culinary customs and traditions
The cuisine of the peoples of Austria is distinguished by its generosity and democracy. Expensive, exotic ingredients and delicacies are almost never used here. Hearty meals, large portions, simple but tasty ingredients are the basis of the state’s culinary traditions.
Bread is highly respected in Austria. A huge number of its varieties are made here, both in industrial and in small private bakeries. At Christmas, adits are baked – bread with fruits, spices and marzipan filling.
The local population’s diet is based on meat products, which are served with potatoes or salad. They are complemented by snacks – most often they are assorted cheeses and sausages, burgers. The Austrian’s breakfast is light and consists of coffee and bread with butter or jam.
Soups are also popular, but residents treat them more like snacks than full meals.
Austrian cuisine is characterized by a pronounced regional structure. In different regions of the country, both traditions and recipes differ, as well as the range of products available.
Features of different regions:
- the capital of the country – Vienna – is famous for its pastries and meat dishes;
- Borgenland is characterized by the borrowing of culinary traditions from Hungary;
- in Lower Austria, game dishes are served – from poultry to venison;
- in Carinthia, due to the abundance of water resources, most of the diet of the inhabitants is fish and seafood;
- Salzburg is famous for several types of delicious cheese, dishes with its addition and an original dessert in the form of a baked vanilla soufflé (Salzburg Nockerl);
- the cuisine of Upper Austria was greatly influenced by the traditions of Bavaria, Bohemia;
- Tyrol is famous for its pastries: ravioli, dumplings, dumplings and other simple but hearty dishes typical of the highlanders;
- in Styria, almost every dish is seasoned with pumpkin seed oil, and other fats are practically not used;
- Vorarlberg’s cuisine is influenced by the traditions of Switzerland and Swabia.
Austrian cuisine is often understood as Viennese: the famous schnitzel and sausages, desserts, pastries, etc. But interesting dishes are found in other regions of the country as well.
Food preparation methods
Cooking, baking, stewing are considered the preferred methods of heat treatment. They allow dishes to better reveal their taste, and products to be saturated with each other’s aromas, revealing unusual combinations. There are also many fried dishes, including over an open fire or grill.
Among the traditional dishes of Austria, sweets and pastries prevail: homemade bread, cakes, rolls, biscuits, sweet and savory rolls. But there are many among the local gastronomic delights and soups, side dishes, snacks, salads, meat and fish delicacies.
The cuisine of Austria is dominated by dishes from beef and veal, chicken. In autumn, when the hunting season opens, they are complemented by traditional game delicacies: venison, roe deer and wild boar. Giblets are widely used: not only the liver characteristic of many cuisines, but also the lungs, joints, etc. Seafood is rarely used in traditional dishes, but fish is quite popular. Most often they cook trout, pike perch, pike, carp.
Austrian first courses are usually simple and hearty. In addition to simple soups based on beef broth stuffed with meat, vegetables and noodles, you should pay attention to the following dishes:
- goulashsupe – a thick mixture of soup with goulash;
- apfelsuppe – traditional apple soup;
- serbische bonensuppé is a bean dish borrowed from Slovak cuisine.
In addition to interesting delicacies, simple soups based on meat broth are also popular. They are prepared with the addition of liver, spices and roots, dumplings or flour dressing.
In Austria, thick soups, all kinds of sausages and breads with various additives are popular.
Appetizers and salads
The assortment of Austrian snacks is called würstelstand. According to them, they mean a plateau with slicing of local cheeses and sausages, served along with bread and sauces. They are accompanied by sausages. There are more than 1000 types of them in Austrian cuisine – from traditional Viennese sausages to unusual culinary products with various fillings and spices.
The Austrians prefer hearty salads. They are prepared from potatoes, vegetables, meat. Oil is often used as a dressing.
Bread in Austria is sold in numerous bakeries, some of which offer to take it straight from the oven. It is prepared from a mixture of wheat and rye flour, sometimes with the addition of caraway seeds, sunflower seeds, fruits, spices, marzipan, etc.
Other popular baked goods are kipferli – bagels and kolatshen – sweet round yeast buns.
Pasta dishes are quite common in Austria. Among them:
- Kasnokken – long and thin noodles with cheese;
- nockerln – pasta according to a traditional Italian recipe;
- vaserspatzen – dumplings with vegetable salad, serve both as a side dish and as an independent dish;
- keshpatsle – egg noodles, which are cooked in broth with the addition of cheese;
- schupfnudl – pasta made from potato flour;
- schinkenfleckerl – pasta stuffed with ham, it can be fried or baked.
In addition to traditional dishes, Austrians often eat simple pasta boiled in salted water with meat or vegetables. This is considered a traditional lunch or dinner on weekdays.
A large number of different desserts are prepared in Austria. In addition to the famous strudel and Sachertorte, here you can try:
- gugelhupf – a pie with the addition of rum;
- Wanellenkipferl – Almond flour biscuits in the shape of a crescent moon, a traditional Christmas treat;
- palatshinken – pancakes or sweet omelet with filling;
- binenstih – almond and honey pie;
- germknedl – roll with poppy seeds;
- pisinger – waffle cake.
Austrian cuisine is renowned for its amazingly delicious desserts.
Coffee houses in Vienna and other cities serve homemade desserts. Most often they are served with scoops of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Coffee is the most popular soft drink in Austria. Local coffee shops serve 30-50 varieties of it with various additives. The Schwarzer and Mocha varieties are especially popular. Leafy and herbal teas, juices, hot chocolate, cocoa, mineral water, and almdudler are also widespread. Hot drinks are traditionally served with numerous Austrian desserts.
Various wines are popular among alcohol, including those of local production. Despite the difficulties in growing grapes, the country has many wineries, mainly located in Lower Austria, Burgenland and Styria. It is worth trying white dry Weisswein Trocken, young Heuriger and Sturm wines, fruit Rieslings. The Austrians themselves use this noble drink in its pure form only on holidays, on weekdays preferring various cocktails to it:
- Gespritzer – a blend of white wine and sparkling water
- Gluhwein – Viennese mulled wine;
- Kir is a mixture of white wine with blackcurrant juice.
There are also many breweries in Austria, including those offering unusual (fruit, wheat, with non-standard gravity or strength) designer beer.
Schnapps can be found from strong alcohol. Cider and various liqueurs are in demand among the local population. All drinks are made from local fruits, mostly apples.
What to try in Austria
Among the many Austrian delicacies, there are those that are recommended to try every tourist. Many of them can be made at home as well. The kitchen is distinguished by its simplicity and availability of ingredients, which will appeal to lovers of natural and homemade food.
The hallmark of Austrian restaurants around the world. Traditionally, it is made from young veal, but now it is often replaced with pork. The meat is beaten thinly, covered with a breading of flour, eggs and rusks, and then fried until crispy. Schnitzel is served with a side dish of potatoes and cabbage salad.
Chicken dish traditionally considered the food of the aristocracy. It is a tender piece of chicken. They are rubbed with spices and sprinkled with lemon juice, then covered with breading and fried in a large amount of vegetable oil. Backhandle with a slice of lemon and fresh vegetables is served.
Viennese schnitzel and bakchendl chicken are the hallmarks of Austrian cuisine.
Various sausages and sausages are a meat delicacy from the capital of the country. It is believed that the Austrians took over their love for them from the Germans.
There are many varieties of sausages, including:
- Kasekrainer – lightly smoked pork sausages, into which minced cheese is kneaded;
- Currywurst – pork or beef sausages fried over a fire or skillet with curry sauce;
- Bratwurst – minced pork sausage with traditional Viennese spices, can be fried or boiled;
- Burenwurst – sausage made from a mixture of pork and ground beef with added bacon;
- Bockwurst – made from natural pork intestines stuffed with pork, beef and ice, they have an unusual delicate and fresh taste due to the fact that instead of boiling or frying, they are kept until cooked in hot, but not boiling water;
- Weisswurst – unusual white sausages made from veal and pork with the addition of fresh finely chopped parsley.
Mustard or horseradish are used as traditional sauces for sausages in Austria. Sausages are served with a side dish of potatoes, vegetables, or simply eaten with bread.
It is a beef broth with pancakes. They are baked from liquid unsweetened dough, then rolled and cut into strips. The resulting pancake noodles are laid out in plates and poured over with hot broth immediately before serving, so that it does not have time to get wet. The dish is decorated with fresh chopped herbs or added to the dough.
A dish borrowed from German cuisine. It is a large, whole piece of beef that is marinated with garlic and spices overnight, then quickly fried in oil and brought to readiness in the oven. Served with vegetables stewed in the remaining juice and red wine sauce.
The famous Austrian pancake soup and Tafelspitz beef are now cooked by housewives all over the world.
A dish based on boiled beef – the bottom of the rump, cooked with spices and greens of soup. Served with broth and boiled vegetables. Mandatory additions to tafelspitz are carrot roast, spinach puree and 2 dressings: apple horseradish and onion sauce.
It is roast beef – beef grated with spices, garlic and mustard, which is quickly fried in oil, and then baked in the oven until tender. In the remaining liquid from it, the onions are first fried, then removed, and a sauce is prepared from the resulting broth with the addition of flour, wine or meat juice. Serve with fried potatoes or pasta.
Roast beef Girardi
Beef dish. To prepare roast beef, it is first quickly fried until crisp, then brought to readiness in the oven. Lard, onions and champignons are fried in oil, then wine is poured in, seasoned with capers and lemon zest. The ingredients are mixed with the meat and seasoned with a sauce based on cream, flour, mustard and parsley. The combination has an unusual, full-bodied flavor that makes it difficult to determine the type of meat used.
Garnish of branded Austrian pasta – fleckerle. They are boiled in salted water and mixed with cabbage and onion filling, fried with salt, sugar, vinegar and spices, and then stewed with the addition of beef broth. Krautfleckerl acts as an independent dish and as a side dish for meat, fish or vegetables.
A dish that is a mixture of feta cheese with red pepper, whipped with butter and various spices. Has a soft texture. Sometimes mixed with capers, finely chopped pickles or herbs. Used as a sauce or spread on bread.
Liver meatball soup
In German it is called Leberknödelsuppe. A broth-based dish is prepared, to which meatballs or liver dumplings are added. Beef is most often used, but there are also options with pork. Additionally, bread or flour, eggs, milk, herbs, onions, various spices are added to the minced meat: nutmeg, thyme, marjoram, nutmeg, etc. Most often, nothing but liver meatballs is put into the soup, because only with them the dish comes out extremely rich and satisfying.
Liver meatball soup and ravioli schlipfkrapfen are also popular Austrian dishes.
A dish borrowed from Italian cuisine. It is a thin small ravioli made from a mixture of wheat and rye flour. Fillings are different: popular options are with cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta, spinach, cabbage, bacon, etc. Before serving, the product is poured with ghee, sprinkled with herbs and finely crushed cheese.
Vienna potato salad
A traditional dish used as a side dish or appetizer. The main ingredient is boiled potatoes. It is marinated in a mixture of vinegar, oil and spices, sometimes with the addition of broth, and then mixed with red onions. In modern variations of the recipe, additional ingredients are also used, for example, finely chopped cucumbers or herbs. The salad is served alongside Viennese schnitzel and other meats.
The most remarkable sweet in Viennese cuisine. It is a delicate roll of thin dough stuffed with grated baked apples with the addition of cinnamon, nuts, sugar, bread crumbs and raisins. Often served hot with a scoop of ice cream. Sometimes it is supplemented with fruits, berries, vanilla sauce. Aromatic, sweet and tart apple varieties such as Vinesup are traditionally used to make strudel.
Crispy egg-based dessert. Looks like a cross between a thick pancake and an omelet. Eggs are beaten with milk, flour and sugar, sometimes cinnamon, raisins or butter are added. The resulting dough is fried and torn into small pieces, and then rolled in powdered sugar. The dessert is crispy and tender at the same time. Kaiserschmarrn is served with plum or apple jam and ice cream balls.
Biscuit chocolate cake. Consists of 2 layers, connected by an apricot layer and covered with glaze. Served most often with whipped cream.
Interesting facts about Austrian cuisine
Some dishes of the peoples of Austria are associated with interesting legends, myths and traditions.
A selection of fun facts:
- Vienna sausages were invented by Johann Georg Laner. He was the first to come up with the idea of mixing ground beef with pork, as well as adding bread and a special mixture of spices to it. In Germany, from where the Austrians borrowed the dish, it was forbidden to mix different types of minced meat, but in Vienna this tradition was violated.
- Austrians respect their cuisine so much that entire museums are dedicated to individual dishes. Almost in the center of Vienna, there is an exposition dedicated to goulash, where you can taste more than 10 variations of this dish. In addition, there are chocolate and schnapps museums.
- Many game-based dishes can be found in old cookbooks. Among them are exotic delicacies such as eagle with dumplings or porcupine with noodles and vinegar sauce.
- The oldest of the strudel recipes dates from 1697. This manuscript is still kept in the Vienna Library.
- In ancient times, the amount of taxes paid by a resident of the former Austrian Empire was calculated according to the amount of food that he consumes. An ordinary worker was allowed to spend 3 hours a day cooking and eating, and the nobility – from 6 to 12 hours a day.
- Winemaking is well developed in Austria. The total area of the country’s vineyards is 51 hectares. The first mention of the wine-making craft in the country dates back to the 7th century. BC e.
When visiting Austria, you should get acquainted not only with the dishes, but also with the culinary traditions and customs of the country.
This will help to better understand the culture of the peoples of the state, their worldview and lifestyle.
Austrian cuisine is rich in high-calorie, nutritious dishes. It also contains a lot of fatty, fried foods, including those cooked in deep fat or oil. Austrian sweets and pastries are popular. Therefore, diabetics, people with gastrointestinal problems, and obesity should be wary of trying the local menu.