While outsiders might consider Wiener Schnitzel or Apple Strudel the national dish of Austria, most Austrians acknowledge a special sausage called Käsekrainer (“KAY-zeh KREYE-ner”) as their greatest culinary achievement.
In a nutshell Käsekrainer is a sausage filled with little cubes of cheese. Like many classic Austrian preparations, it is not entirely an Austrian invention. Käsekrainer has the same relation to Austria that pizza and hot dogs have to the United States: they are unquestionably of foreign origin, but they have been adapted and adopted by the new country.
If you’ll allow me… let’s break down the word Kasekrainer…
“Käse” means cheese.
Krain is the German name for the Slovenian region of Kranjska, historically called Carniola by English-speakers. This is one … Continue reading.
Heurigen (“HOY-ree-gen,” singular heuriger) are special taverns in Austria that serve young wine or cider, depending on the region.
The word heuriger literally means something like “of the current year”. So for instance new potatoes are called heurige erdäpfel. With regards to wine it refers to wine from the last vintage, ie. wine that has not been bottled or aged. Heuriger taverns open up for a couple of weeks at a time so that guests can drink young wine and eat plates of cold food such as cheese, spreads, bread, and charcuterie. The word for these savoury accompaniments is brettljause (“BRET-tel YOW-ze”). Brett means board, as the food is usually spread out on a wooden board. Brettl, … Continue reading.
A nifty trick I picked up at Looshaus, a hotel and restaurant in Kreuzberg, Lower Austria.
Pick evergreen “buds” (the small bundles of new needles that appear in late spring), simmer them in simple syrup (1:1 water to sugar), and transfer the whole mess into glass jars. The syrup takes on a fantastic, minty, pine flavour, which the Looshaus chef says gets even better with a few months storage. Strain the needles out before using the syrup.
Some ideas for usage:
- sauces for game meats (think: evergreen gastrique)
- ice cream
- in sparkling water (beer flavoured with young spruce needles was once common in Canada…)
- pork brines
The same process can be used for other common backyard plants, like dandelion … Continue reading.
But you know what the funniest thing about Europe is? It’s the little differences. I mean, they got the same shit over there that we got here, but it’s just there it’s a little different.
-Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction
I am part of a culinary exchange between NAIT and a school in Semmering, Austria. This past month I hosted an Austrian student named Dominik, whom a lucky few met at Valerie’s psychedelic taste-tripping party.
On Dominik’s last full day in Canada, we coerced him and two of his Austrian colleagues, Mike and Lena, to cook us a classic Austrian dinner.
First Course: Frittatensuppe – Pancake Soup
Domink requested that we make a good beef stock for the … Continue reading.