Austria, nestled in the heart of Europe, is not only renowned for its stunning landscapes and rich history but also its delectable local cuisine. With a strong emphasis on fresh, high-quality ingredients and traditional cooking techniques, Austrian food has earned a well-deserved place on the global culinary map.
From hearty stews to mouthwatering pastries, this article takes you on a delightful journey through Austria’s local food, offering a taste of the country’s diverse flavors and culinary traditions.
This breaded and fried veal or pork cutlet is a genuine Austrian classic. The meat is tenderized, coated in breadcrumbs, and then fried to golden perfection. Wiener Schnitzel embodies the essence of Austrian comfort food, served with a slice of lemon and accompanied by potato salad or warm, buttery noodles.
This famous chocolate cake, invented in Vienna, consists of two layers of dense and moist chocolate cake filled with apricot jam and coated in a smooth, rich chocolate glaze. Sachertorte is a delightfully indulgent treat that perfectly complements a cup of Viennese coffee.
This Alpine specialty consists of soft egg noodles called “spätzle” mixed with melted cheese, typically Emmental or mountain cheese, and topped with crispy fried onions. The result is a comforting and satisfying dish that will warm your heart and satisfy your cravings for cheesy goodness.
It features tender, boiled beef, typically from the top of the sirloin, served with a flavorful broth, root vegetables, and traditional accompaniments such as horseradish and apple-horseradish sauce. It exemplifies the Austrian commitment to high-quality ingredients and skillful preparation, resulting in a dish that is both refined and deeply satisfying.
This traditional pastry is made by rolling a thin, flaky dough around a sweet and tangy filling of apples, cinnamon, sugar, and raisins. The strudel is then baked to a golden brown and served warm, often accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. Apfelstrudel is a dessert that embodies the essence of Austrian home baking.
Austria’s take on the beloved pretzel is a must-try snack. These twisted, chewy bread creations are typically sprinkled with coarse salt and baked to achieve a golden-brown crust. The result is a satisfying combination of softness and crunch, making Bretzels a popular street food snack in Austria.
Leberkäse, meaning “liver cheese” in German, is a meatloaf-like specialty immensely popular in Austria. Despite its name, it contains neither liver nor cheese but is made from finely ground pork and beef, along with spices and herbs. Leberkäse is usually baked until golden and served in thick slices, accompanied by mustard and fresh bread rolls.
Salzburger Nockerl is a delightful dessert that originated in the city of Salzburg. This sweet soufflé-like dish is made from whipped egg whites, sugar, flour, and vanilla, resulting in airy and light individual dumplings. The Nockerl is dusted with powdered sugar and often served with fruit compote or raspberry sauce, creating a visually stunning and delectable treat.
Backhendl (Fried Chicken)
It is a dish that satisfies cravings for crispy and flavorful meat. Typically, chicken pieces are marinated in a mixture of buttermilk and herbs, then coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried until golden and crispy. Backhendl is often served with a side of potato salad and a wedge of lemon for a zesty touch.
Kaiserschmarrn is a beloved Austrian dessert that can also be enjoyed as a decadent breakfast or brunch. It is a fluffy pancake made from a batter of eggs, flour, sugar, and milk. Once cooked, the pancake is torn into small, irregular pieces and further caramelized in butter until it reaches a golden-brown color. It is typically served dusted with powdered sugar and accompanied by fruit compote or stewed plums.
Schweinsbraten (Roast Pork)
It is a beloved Austrian dish that showcases the country’s love for succulent and flavorful roasted meats. Typically made with pork shoulder or loin, the meat is marinated with garlic, caraway seeds, and other spices before being slow-roasted to perfection. The result is tender, juicy pork slices with a crispy, golden-brown crust. Schweinsbraten is often served with traditional sides such as sauerkraut, dumplings, and gravy, creating a hearty and satisfying meal.
Kasnocken (Cheese Dumplings)
Kasnocken are delightful cheese dumplings that are popular in Austria’s Alpine regions. Made with a mixture of flour, eggs, and various types of cheese, such as mountain cheese or quark, the dumplings are boiled until they become soft and fluffy. The Kasnocken are then served with melted butter and topped with crispy fried onions, creating a harmonious blend of textures and flavors that cheese lovers will adore.
Originating from the city of Linz, the Linzertorte is a classic Austrian pastry that dates back several centuries. This tart-like dessert consists of a buttery crust made with ground almonds, filled with a generous layer of raspberry jam, and topped with a lattice pattern made from the same crust dough. The Linzertorte is baked until the crust turns golden, creating a delectable combination of sweet, nutty flavors and fruity tartness.
It is a sweet yeast roll, trendy in Austria’s capital, Vienna. These fluffy, pillowy buns are filled with sweet fillings such as apricot jam, plum jam, or sweetened poppy seed paste. Once baked, the Buchteln are often dusted with powdered sugar and served warm, making them a delightful breakfast or afternoon treat alongside a cup of coffee.
Gulaschsuppe (Goulash Soup)
Austria’s take on the hearty and warming goulash soup is a staple in the country’s cuisine. Made with tender chunks of beef, onions, paprika, and other spices, the Gulaschsuppe is a rich and flavorful soup perfect for cold winter days. Served with a side of crusty bread, this comforting dish is a favorite among Austrians.
Austria’s local food reflects the country’s rich culinary heritage and its commitment to using high-quality ingredients. Whether you indulge in the crispy delight of Wiener Schnitzel, savor the rich flavors of Sachertorte, or enjoy the comfort of Käsespätzle, each bite offers a glimpse into Austria’s diverse and delicious gastronomic traditions.
So, if you find yourself in Austria, embark on a culinary adventure, exploring the country’s local food and experiencing the delightful flavors that have captivated both locals and visitors for centuries.
Whether you’re exploring the streets of Vienna or venturing into the picturesque Alpine regions, be sure to savor the diverse and mouthwatering offerings of Austria’s local food scene.