Located right in the middle of Europe, bordering no less than seven other European countries, Austria is not only a reflection of its neighbors and its geography, but also exerts its own influence in central Europe.
With a significant amount of the Alps located in Austria, it is home to some dramatic landscapes and mesmerizing scenery. It has some of the most traditional villages and architecture you will find anywhere in Europe.
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Most Popular Austrian Dishes
A typical Austrian dinner starts with a soup, followed by a large piece of meat with potatoes and root vegetables or pasta and delicious mixed salads. After dinner, usually a sweet dessert follows.
Austrian cuisine has a lot in common with its close neighbor, Germany, with whom it shares a language. But also with other Eastern and central European countries such as Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland, where meat, potatoes and vegetables form the basis of many dishes.
Austrian food is known for being very hearty and warming, a necessity for a country with such bitterly cold winters.
So, without further ado, here are the absolute must-try dishes of Austria along with recipes for you to try for yourself.
There are several different interpretations of the famous Schnitzel, but in order for it to be called Wienerschnitzel, or Schnitzel from Vienna, it must be made with veal thighs and served with a lemon wedge, boiled potatoes with parsley, french fries or Austrian potato salad.
The Austrian Wiener Schnitzel is a national favorite and is often considered to be the national dish.
Brettljause is a large wooden plate board with Austrian charcuterie meats and cheeses, ideal for sharing with a large group. Cold hams, different types of cheeses, green vegetables and pickles are the main incredients of Brettljause.
After an active day in the mountains, it is very common to order a classic Brettljause with friends. It is also popularly served at farmhouses.
Tyrolean Gröstl is a dish from the state of Tyrol which consists of fried potatoes, onion, meat (often bacon) and usually a fried egg on top. It is often served straight to the table from a small pan.
The Tyrolean Gröstl was created because chefs from hotels thought it a shame to throw away leftovers and therefore made a pan of scraps for the staff.
Klöße dumplings are quite simply potatoes with dried bread shaped with eggs, pork loin, parsley and onion.
Klöße is somewhat of a national dish of Austria with many variations depending on region. The round dumplings are usually served in beef soup or with sauerkraut.
Goulash soup originates from Hungary and usually contains a base of meat, potatoes, carrots and peppers that are seasoned with chili and cumin, and topped with chopped parsley. In Austria, it is often served with a freshly baked wheat bun.
Kaiserschmarrn is a pancake dish made with rum-soaked raisins that are torn into smaller pieces and served with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
This dish is said to have come about when a chef happened to drop a pancake on the floor just before he was to serve it to the king Franz Joseph I. Instead of frying a new pancake, he collected the leftover pieces and covered the dust with icing sugar. A mistake that was saved well and resulted in a famous pancake dish that today is considered an Austrian specialty.
Almdudler is a carbonated herbal lemonade with a light fruit flavor and a hint of caramel. You may have already seen the famous bottle with a couple in traditional Austrian clothes. It is one of the favorite drinks of winter sports enthusiasts when they make a stop in the Austrian Alps.
A famous slogan associated with this dish is: “Wenn die kan Almdudler hab’n, geh’ i wieder ham!” meaning “If they don’t have an Almdudler, I’ll go home again!”.
Spätzle is a type of German pasta, and so Käsespätzle is the pasta with a lot of grated cheese alternating between layers, topped with fried onions. A salad or potato salad is often served alongside.
Strudel is a well-known Austrian pastry with layered dough and a sweet filling. Most people will know it because of its apple filling, namely the apple strudel. You can actually fill strudel with whatever you want, such as cherries, apricots or chocolate.
Viennese Einspänner Coffee
Einspänner is one of the most famous coffees of the capital, Vienna. It comes in two shots of espresso topped with lots of whipped cream and chocolate shavings or cocoa powder.
Tafelspitz a dish consisting of beef or veal boiled in broth which is traditionally served with vegetables, minced apples and horseradish. Simmering the meat at a lower temperature allows the broth’s flavors to be absorbed into the tender meat.
Holunderblütensaft is a drink made from elderberry syrup, and has a sweet (but not too sweet) taste. Hikers drink it with bubble water or flat water. Many mountain huts make the syrup themselves for visiting hikers.
Käsekrainer is a type of sausage that is stuffed with small chunks of emmental cheese. It is typically made using pork or a mixture of pork, beef, and various different spices. It is most commonly cooked by smoking it over Applewood, although it can also be baked or grilled.
Weißbier (white beer in English) is a wheat beer that is brewed according to top fermentation. The taste of Weissbier from Austria is a lot less bitter than those of countries such as the Netherlands. You can order it in several sizes, but the real enthusiast tends to order half a liter.
Zimtschnecke is a sweet cinnamon bun prepared using flour, cinnamon, sugar and butter. The dish is known by several other names, such as cinnamon roll, cinnamon bun, cinnamon swirl, cinnamon Danish and cinnamon snail. It is popular throughout Scandinavia and other parts of Northern Europe.