The second portion of our trip included Vienna (we first visited Poland). This was the first time either of us had been there, and we really enjoyed it!
One of the well known Viennese specialties is Sacher Torte. It is a chocolate cake invented by Franz Sacher (an Austrian-Jewish confectioner) in 1832.
Fun Fact #2: Prince Metternich wanted a special dessert from his personal chef, but the chef was sick. Therefore, his 16-year old apprentice, Franz Sacher, took on the task. The torte was created for a special occasion, and all of the guests enjoyed it. Sacher ended up opening his own specialty delicatessen and winery after finishing his training. Then his son, Eduard, continued the family legacy and perfected his father’s recipe. The torte was first served at the Demel, and then at the Hotel Sacher, which he established in 1876. The cake continues to be one of Vienna’s famous culinary specialties.
We might have had our dessert before dinner that day! =)
Sam and I both really love mushrooms. I know there are many of you out there that do not like them, but I find them delicious! Fortunately for us, we had mushroom soup a number of times while in Europe, one of them being in Vienna.
We stumbled upon Restaurant Ferdinandt. A section of their menu was seasonal, where I found this mushroom soup:
This tasty soup was made out of chanterelles. Being a mushroom lover, I can only repeat- every bite was amazing! Here, in the US, chanterelles are expensive and depending on where you live- hard to come by. But in Europe they are fairly inexpensive and many food stands and farmers markets were selling them, so we indulged!
Don’t you worry, we still got our Vitamin C when we ate some fruit. A fruit that my Mom loves, and we haven’t been able to find in the US, are red currants. They are native to Europe and have a great mix of tartness and sweetness.
When I was little, my Mom and I used to pick red currants every single year. Some ended up in the baskets to take home, others in our tummies!
Of course, while Sam and I were in Vienna, we tried a lot of beers. Here’s a picture to prove it.
Every beer needed a tasty European dish!
While we meandered the street of Vienna, we ended up trying two different establishments, turns out they had the same owner. It was only after we left the second place, we found out they were extremely close together (around the block!). How I love winding European streets, it can be fun to get lost!
The establishment(s) that deserved two visits in one day were Bierhof and Hopferl! Apparently there is a third restaurant, but we didn’t not find it.
Sam had the rostbratwürste (grilled sausage) with bratensaft (gravy) and braterdäpfel (fried potatoes). The potatoes had the perfect crisp to them!
Meanwhile, I tried out the wiener saftgulasch (Viennese goulash) with spätzle (egg noodles). I ate my plate clean! Goulash is a Hungarian soup, but it’s a very popular soup in East and Southern European countries. Spätzle is a popular egg noodle in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Hungary. The gravy was perfect with it.
Of course, brats and beer are not the only thing that Austria specializes in. They also have wine. While wandering the streets, we found a wine bar!
One evening we found was a specialty grocery store. Below it was Meinl’s Wine Bar.
The store had a number of European wines: French, German, Italian and Spanish (plus more!). But we wanted to try some Austrian wines.
I’m not sure if either of these can be found in the U.S.- but in case they can, our recommendations are: Helmunt Bruckner and Umathum. Both of these had a deep juicy quality, reminiscent of dark red cherry quality. While we tried out these wines, we also indulged in:
Sam thought that this beef tartar looked like a muppet. Which muppet do you think it was?
As you can tell, we ate very well while we were Vienna! Up next: Munich, Germany.