Another reason that I like the Austrians so much is that they seem to get as excited about food as I do. There are signs proclaiming “It’s (insert name of seasonal produce here) time!” in the grocery store windows, with nice displays of whatever produce item(s) is/are in season inside the store. Whatever is in season is made into all manner of soups, pastas, cakes, etc., and incorporated into mains in sometimes very creative ways. There are roadside stands everywhere, usually with large, colorful signs pointing the way.
Right now it’s Marillenzeit! (apricot time), and apparently no one is more excited about it than the people who live in the Wachau Valley. We drove through the valley this past weekend with our visiting friends and saw not only apricot stands all along the main road, but also an apricot festival in progress. We stopped for lunch at a riverside restaurant in Spitz an der Donau and spotted a sign for the village’s apricot kirtag next weekend.
We could not pass up the apricot wonderfulness, so we bought a three kilo basket of apricots to bring home with us. I turned two of the three kilos into a stew for dessert (see the recipe for the stew here), and my husband halved most of the remaining ones and let them soak in amaretto for a boozy and delicious dessert. Thank goodness for apricots.