Located at the heart of Europe, Austria has been the center of a multi-ethnic melting pot that includes millions of people. For over 600 years the Austrian Empire has extended its boundaries into Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Poland. It is not surprising, therefore, that Austrian cuisine is the culinary expression of a people who for many centuries have exchanged culinary knowledge and experience with almost everyone in Europe and the East.
Austrian food today resembles a small federation where nine regions, or Bundeslander, are influenced in a different way by their geography and their proximity to border countries. Austrian cuisine sometimes has German similarities while other areas reflect ties with Eastern cooking, or may have a Mediterranean tone with herbs and vegetables. Tirolean dishes are rich with a tradition of trading with Italy and include the famous “speck,” a very popular smoked cured ham.
Vienna’s cuisine is distinctive and international. Viennese dishes, shaped for the most influential European monarchy, have a unique elegance and have adopted many international ingredients. Viennese cooking includes “Wiener Schnitzel” (breaded veal which has its Italian version in Milan, with the name “Cotoletta alla Milanese”), “Parmesanschoeberlsuppe” (broth with soufflé dumplings, flavored with Parmigiano cheese), and of course, the famous “Sacher Torte” (chocolate glazed layer cake filled with apricot jam).
But, what is the most typical Austrian dish? Bernhard has no hesitation: Knoedel potato dumplings! You have to read Bernhard’s colorful article “Why Austrians eat Knoedel so often” for his explanation. Bernhard is a very skilled chef and he promotes the traditional values of Austrian cuisine on his website . We are honored to host him as our guest cook with his recipes for Wurstknoedel (dumplings stuffed with smoked meat) and the sweet variation Zwetschgenknoedel (dumplings stuffed with plums).