Worldwide cuisine in Vienna
The Viennese are proud of their cuisine, and rightly so. After all, it’s the only sort of cooking in the world that’s named after a city. For centuries Vienna was the centre of a huge empire, and people from all parts of the monarchy poured into the Danube metropolis, bringing their culture with them. In Vienna, Bohemian (pastries), Hungarian (goulash) and southern European (Schnitzel) influences intermingled, and made Viennese cooking into what it is today: unpretentious yet inspired. The recipes are, as far as ingredients and preparation are concerned, fairly simple – and it’s just that that makes it a matter of practice. For many Viennese, their mothers and grandmothers are really the best cooks.
“In Vienna the cuisine of roughly 15 different countries blended indeed into a new and distinctive whole.” The Vienna journalist Christian Grünwald on the unique charm of Viennese cooking.
Fortunately many of the local Beisln (simple pub/restaurants) and traditional restaurants can match mum’s cooking after all; especially when it comes to the Backhendl, a fried chicken coated with breadcrumbs. It’s a true Viennese original, created during the Biedermeier era (1815-1848), and not as easy to prepare as it might sound. But the absolute bestseller among the Viennese specialities is still the Wiener Schnitzel. Fried to a golden brown it arrives on the table perfectly garnished with a slice of lemon: the Viennese (veal) Schnitzel. The obligatory accompaniment is an Erdäpfelsalat (potato salad).
Oh yes, and then there are the famous beef dishes. In Vienna beef is boiled. What may sound unappetising to foreigners is actually a delicious delight! Served in a soup, the Tafelspitz (rump) actually has a wonderfully delicate flavour and literally melts in your mouth. When it’s served with apple horseradish, spinach, chive sauce and Erdäpfelgröstel (fried grated potatoes) you have a perfect taste of Viennese cuisine. Stop in at the Plachutta restaurant in the first district for your piece of Viennese culinary paradise.
Text: Manuela Graf-Staudinger, Fotos: Christine Wurnig