Neustifter Kirtag

Earlier in the spring I wrote about wine cultivation in Vienna and mentioned the Neustifter Kirtag. (The link to that post is here.) It’s now late August, and the Neustifter Kirtag is happening this weekend. My children’s kindergarten is on the street where the festival is held, and when I went to pick them up yesterday I had to dodge and weave my way through crowds of dirndl- and lederhosen-clad locals. I walked my kids through the festival yesterday and look forward to returning today to eat… well, everything in sight really. How can you blame me when this is some of what is on offer:

A whole cart dedicated to langos -- god bless whomever thought of this.

A whole cart dedicated to langos — god bless whomever thought of this.

They look so sweet until you read what they say. My favorite is "shit pants."

They look so sweet until you read what they say. My favorite is “shit pants.”

Yes

Yes

And hells yes. The Austrians know how to do it.

And hells yes. The Austrians know how to do it.

 

 

 

Weinort Langenzersdorf

After another less than pleasant excursion to the local Metro (Austria’s version of Sam’s Club), we were looking forward to dinner at the snack shack in the Baumax parking lot. It is exactly what it sounds like: a shack set up in the parking lot of a home repair supply store that sells food and beer… and stiffer drinks in case you had a rough shopping experience, which we inevitably do with a two- and three-year old in tow.

To our dismay the snack shack only had three hot dogs left, so we headed into the nearest village to search for a more substantial dinner as our two-year old shrieked “huuuungry! I am huuuuuuungry!” We parked in front of the first restaurant that looked open which, fortuitously, turned out to be the heuriger Weinort. We ordered a viertel of wine each and grape juice for the kids, who by this point had resorted to eating ants off the ground.

Better than ants

Better than ants.

My husband ordered the large portion of schnitzel, and the menu did not lie when it said “large.” It took both of us, with a little help from the kids, to finish the three large, tender, and perfectly fried pieces of pork schnitzel. It was accompanied by potato salad, which was almost as good as the main itself. Austrian potato salad is not generally prepared with mayonnaise; instead, it has some sort of tangy vinegar, red onions, and fresh herbs. I need to learn how to make this, maybe even in time for our 4th of July BBQ.

Gebackene gemüse

Gebackene gemüse

I ordered a plate of the gebackene gemüse, which is an assortment of deep fried vegetables served with tartar sauce. In this instance the gemüse consisted of mushrooms, cauliflower, zucchini, eggplant, and an unidentified yellow, fibrous vegetable (I think it may have been a type of squash). This dish is very popular in Vienna and I’ve not encountered a bad version yet.

Even though I enjoy the fried vegetables, I don’t think I’d attempt to make this at home because I dislike the smell of deep frying food. Maybe once we return to the States if a) I acquire a deep fryer and b) we have a house with a kitchen with good ventilation. I would like to learn how to make a good tartar sauce, though, so this is now on my list of things to learn to make.

 

 

A Pretzel By Any Other Name

Pretzels are quite popular in Vienna: they are on the menu in many of the heurigen and breweries, and are available in a lot of the bakeries and street stands. To my surprise, pretzels are even more popular in the area around Salzburg. The breweries that we visited and several take away stands even had a special rack to display pretzels, and I saw a couple street stands devoted solely to pretzels.

Mohn Brezel

Mohn Brezel

This past Sunday we went to “Die Salzburger Dult,” a folk festival reminiscent of the county fairs that we have in Virginia. The festival had one of the aforementioned pretzel stands, where I discovered my new favorite pretzel: mohn brezel (poppyseed pretzel). I think it was normal pretzel dough that had been buttered, sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon, and poppyseed, formed into a pretzel shape, and baked. It was so, so good and I am now more determined than ever to learn to make pretzels from scratch.

On a side note, all of the “normal” plain pretzels that we ate in the Salzburg area (and that was many) had caraway seeds in the dough. I know this is sometimes the case with the pretzels here in Vienna, but I don’t think it’s as common. I’m not a huge fan of the caraway seed but my kids are, so once I learn how to do a basic pretzel I will start experimenting with different varieties to include caraway and poppyseed. I hope to do this in the near future, so stay tuned for a base recipe.

Hauer-Platte

Hauer Platte at Heuriger "Zum Koarl" in Maissau.

Hauer Platte at Heuriger “Zum Koarl” in Maissau.

Geselchtes (smoked meats), surbraten, kuemmelbraten (caraway roast), schweinsbraten (pork roast), speck (ham), blunz’n (?), presswurst (some sort of gelled meat terrine), grammeln (cracklings), käse (cheese),  and 2 aufstriche (spreads), garniert mit kren, gurkel, pfefferoni & tomaten (garnished with horseradish, a pickle, peppers, and tomatoes).

Recipe: Fiaker Gulasch

Fiaker Gulasch from S'Piff heuriger.

Fiaker Gulasch from heuriger S’Piff.

Fiaker Gulasch is gulasch with a fried egg on top and sliced sweet/sour pickles on the side. Some versions also include a sliced roasted sausage. It is served with some form of potato on the side, either sliced rounds of boiled potato or kartoffelpuffer/rösti (fried potato rounds), as pictured here. We’re big fans of kartoffelpuffer here, so that is how I will serve our fiaker gulasch. Stay tuned for a kartoffelpuffer recipe!