We spent the weekend at Schlosshotel Mailberg, located in the village of Mailberg an hour north of Vienna and maybe 10 km from the Czech border. Mailberg is in the middle of Austria’s Weinviertel (“wine quarter”) and the castle is surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards.
In addition to a hotel, the castle’s property houses a church, wine cellar, and restaurant. The restaurant is called Schlosskeller Mailberg (“Palace Cellar Mailberg”) and we had a fantastic dinner there last night, accompanied by lots of great local wine and the sounds of the church choir singing during the Saturday night Mass.
Bärlauch is very popular in Austria this time of year: it is used to season everything from nockerl to mashed potatoes, and bärlauchcremesuppe is almost everywhere. It’s a type of garlic and it tastes great as a seasoning, but I’ve never tried the soup before. After I confirmed that bärlauch is wild garlic and I can indeed find it in the States, I tried a bowl of the soup. It had a sliced red pepper in it and the combination of pepper and garlic was fantastic. I am definitely learning how to make this soup.
For my main course I had homemade pickles, which came with a few slices of skin-on roasted chicken. It didn’t look overly appetizing or filling, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. The pickles were served in the jar they had been canned in (I think they submerged the sealed jar in a pot of boiling water to warm up the contents) and consisted of baby corn, onions, and zucchini. The pickling juice was nice and tangy with a little bit of sweet, and the chicken went really well with it.
For dessert I had “Variation vom Rhabarber.”
The dessert was (left to right) rhubarb “chilli”, yogurt with rhubarb, and rhubarb compote. Across the top of the three jars are two slices of fried rhubarb with confectioner’s sugar on top. The “chilli” was rhubarb that had been diced and gelled with lime, garnished with a lime leaf. I am not 100% sure what was involved with the rhubarb yogurt because my daughter gobbled it up before I could get more than a bite. The rhubarb compote had a strong taste of clove in it.
In truth, the only part of the dessert that I was wild about was the fried rhubarb and I plan to recreate it by using my recipe for fried apples, substituting the rhubarb for apples. Overall, a great meal and a great weekend.