Who’s the best person to ask what sort of things you can do in Austria? An Austrian of course!
A little bit about me
My name is Christina and I’m from Vienna. Currently I’m on a work placement in Brighton and it’s way cooler than I expected. I get to use my own ideas and I’m working around some very nice people.
I spend a lot of time with my friends at the beach and we try to check out different food spots every day. We tried Fish and Chips on National Fish and Chips day and honestly my expectations were low, because I’d tried it when I was younger and I wasn’t really keen on. It turned out better than expected!
We had it as takeaway and walked around outside, but we had to be careful of the seagulls, because they’re crazy down here! They really attack and swoop it out of your hands if you don’t hide your food. Totally nuts, but for me, seagulls are as much a part of Brighton as Brighton Pier and I’m really enjoying my stay so far.
But what about Austria?
We also have a lot of great things where I come from:
Skiing is very popular in Austria and my family and I go every year. I love it and it’s always fun!
Besides that I love coffee-houses where I can meet and chat with my friends. Even though everybody is in a hurry, Austrian people always have time for a coffee and take their time to relax. It’s where you take a quick break from reality and just enjoy a good cup of coffee and pastries in the small, cute cafes of Vienna’s streets.
And of course heurigen!
When summer comes around I always look forward to going to a heurigen [“hoy-ri-gen”] It’s another typical Austrian tradition which I really enjoy. Not only me, nearly everyone loves the heurigen-tradition.
Heurigen are cozy taverns where local winemakers offer their products and great food. Whenever I’m in one I never want to leave, because of the great Austrian “gemutlichkeit” [ “gim-oog-li-kite”], (this is translated as cheerful coziness, but it’s not quite the same thing).‘Gemutlichkeit’ describes an atmosphere of comfort, peace and acceptance when you sit around with good friends. It’s very common in Austria to describe heurigen like this.
Why Austrians like it
Like I’ve said above, everytime I go to a heurigen I just want to stay. In them, I can meet my friends, young and old, and sit in quiet corners in the midst of vineyards. That’s probably the best thing about it, because the best locations are in the middle of vineyards. I mean who doesn’t enjoy sitting outside, drinking a glass of wine, eating good food and having an awesome view.
The wooden furniture, loungers and the lights in the evening always turn it into a magical place. That’s why I love to go there on summer evenings.
Heurigen in Vienna
There are good heurigen in the middle of Vienna as well, where you sit in a nice garden, but I think that the best ones are a little bit outside There are tiny hills where you get a great view of Vienna. What a great place to feel the Viennoise spirit.
A typical visit to a heurigen goes something like this: it is late afternoon on a summer’s day, evening is approaching. You sit down with your friends and are served seasonal wine by a waitress (usually wearing traditional dress).
After a few glasses of wine, we start to get hungry and order food. Wine isn’t the only thing, it’s the food and the gemutlichkeit that encourages people to stay longer. I usually visit the buffet, which has a variety of meats, salads, vegetables, and other foods.
My favourites are the different spreads and the variety of breads, especially liptauer (a spicy cheese-spread). There are a tons more hearty Viennese dishes and nothing is better than a delicious applestrudel for dessert. It all comes to an end around midnight, that’s the time when we slowly start heading home.
Some classic Heurigen-foods are:
Austrian meat & cheese plate served on a wooden plate. Mostly with bread, fruits and vegetables.
Bretteljausn is basically a variety of different Austrian meat and cheese served on a wooden plate. You get thinly sliced ham, smoked meat, black pudding, bacon, flavoured sausages, lard but also different kinds of cheese, eggs and vegetables like sliced cucumbers, radishes, pickles, tomatoes and onions.
They are presented on the plate in a very decorative way. It’s always served with homemade bread on the side and different spreads like liptauer, a greaves lard spread or basic butter. On the top of the plate there is usually some horseradish which is the key to the taste.
It’s best to enjoy with a beer or wine.
Spicy cheese spread. Good to enjoy with bread or “soletti” (salted pretzel sticks)
If you’re not in a heurigen it’s a typical dip to share with friends, like you would eat hummus in the UK.
When you come to Austria I can really recommend that you check out a heurigen and experience gemutlichkeit. Along with the food, the wine and the unique atmosphere you will learn to love Austria.
Once you sit down you’ll have the same feeling as me, you want to stay as long as possible.
So all I can say: If you ever come to Austria go to a heurigen!
Here is a short list of Heurigen in Vienna to enjoy:
WIENINGER Stammersdorfer Strasse 78, 1210 Vienna This Heurigen offers a warm fresh buffet, roasted pork, salads and wonderful spreads. The fresh wines are tasty and match the food perfectly for a country style dinner.
FUHRGRASSL-HUBER Neustift am Walde 68, 1190 Vienna It’s situated right next to a beautiful forest where you truly experience the Viennese Heurigen atmosphere. Enjoy the delicious food, amazing wine and the company of locals and visitors.
MAYER AM NUSSBERG Kahlenberger Strasse 210, 1190 Vienna The wine tavern is situated in the midst of the vineyards and affords a wonderful view of Vienna, an area with loungers and fresh prepared food. Definitely worth trying and enjoying.
Christina is a student visiting us from Austria. She loves the creative side of the job where she gets to use own initiative. Her favourite food is her daily banana!