When you think of Austrian cuisine, you need to think bigger than the Austria we know today.
Austrian cuisine, or Viennese cuisine, as it’s known throughout the country, is a mixture of all the culinary traditions of the many Crown lands of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Austrians were quick to try the new ingredients, smoothing out contradictory tastes and assimilating the recipes to their own regional traditions. Overrefined dishes became a little more homely; dishes deemed too rustic were refined.
Traditional Austrian cuisine is based on five main pre-paration styles: frying, boiling, braising, roasting, and stewing (especially with paprika).
Two fixtures of the traditional cuisine are
- offal, currently enjoying a revival as a regional delicacy, and
- wild mushrooms, known by their local name of Schwammerl.
Meat plays a central role in many traditional recipes, with wines selected not for the meat itself but rather to complement the preparation method, the richness of the sauce, and the choice of side dishes. Most classic dishes are well suited to one or other of Austria’s diverse white wines, as is freshwater fish. Soft and fruity red wines are also great partners with the classic cuisine.
Austria’s signature grape variety, Grüner Veltliner, is a classic for every occasion. Internationally appreciated as a complement to so many cuisines, it comes as no surprise to find Grüner Veltliner well suited to the wide diversity of traditional Austrian recipes.