When it comes to Austrian cuisine, most people immediately think of schnitzels – those crispy, golden breaded cutlets that are undoubtedly delicious. However, Austria has so much more to offer when it comes to culinary delights. From hearty mountain dishes to sweet treats that will satisfy your sweet tooth, Austrian cuisine is a delightful journey waiting to be explored. So, let’s set aside the schnitzels for a moment and embark on a culinary adventure through Austria’s diverse and flavorful dishes.
1. Tafelspitz: The Emperor’s Favorite
Tafelspitz is a regal dish that once graced the tables of Austrian royalty. This boiled beef dish is tender, flavorful, and traditionally served with a broth, along with an array of side dishes. The meat is simmered to perfection, often with root vegetables and spices, making it incredibly tender. Served with horseradish and crispy rosti potatoes, Tafelspitz is a hearty and comforting meal that’s fit for an emperor.
2. Kaspressknödel: The Cheese Lover’s Dream
Austrians have a knack for turning simple ingredients into gastronomic delights, and Kaspressknödel is a prime example. These savory cheese dumplings are a favorite in alpine regions. Made from stale bread, cheese, onions, and various herbs and spices, they are formed into small balls and fried until crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Often served in a hearty broth, these knödel are the ultimate comfort food.
3. Käsespätzle: Alpine Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Austria’s answer to macaroni and cheese is Käsespätzle. These soft egg noodles are mixed with plenty of grated cheese, often Emmental or Gruyère, and then baked until golden and bubbling. The result is a gooey, satisfying dish that will make cheese lovers swoon. Don’t forget the crispy onions on top for that extra crunch!
4. Tiroler Gröstl: A Hearty Mountain Feast
Tiroler Gröstl is a beloved dish in the Austrian Alps, where hearty meals are a must to keep warm during cold winters. It’s a simple but scrumptious concoction of diced potatoes, bacon, and onions, all sautéed until golden brown. Traditionally, it’s topped with a fried egg and served with pickles, creating a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that’s perfect after a day of hiking or skiing.
5. Kasnocken: Austrian Dumplings with a Cheesy Twist
Kasnocken are delightful cheese dumplings that hail from Austria’s alpine regions. These soft and chewy dumplings are made with flour, eggs, and grated cheese, usually a strong mountain cheese like Alpine Alp or Bergkäse. They’re boiled until they float to the surface and then served with a generous helping of browned butter and crispy onions. The result is a rich and savory dish that’s both comforting and indulgent.
6. Apfelstrudel: A Sweet Symphony of Apples
No exploration of Austrian cuisine would be complete without mentioning Apfelstrudel. This iconic dessert consists of thinly sliced apples, cinnamon, sugar, and raisins wrapped in layers of delicate, flaky pastry. Served warm with a dusting of powdered sugar and a dollop of fresh whipped cream, Apfelstrudel is a sweet treat that embodies the essence of Austrian comfort food.
So, the next time you find yourself in Austria or at an Austrian restaurant, be sure to venture beyond the schnitzels and explore the delightful world of Austrian delicacies. From savory dishes like Tafelspitz and Kaspressknödel to sweet indulgences like Apfelstrudel, Austrian cuisine offers a rich tapestry of flavors and traditions that will leave you craving for more. Whether you’re a cheese lover, a fan of hearty mountain fare, or have a sweet tooth, Austria has something delicious to offer for every palate. Guten Appetit!