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Well, perhaps some do; but you will find dishes like Glazed cubes of Atlantic salmon
on mint-flavored orange essence accompanied by wild flowers and placed in a nest
of homemade pasta in Austrian restaurants.
Home-cooks also do their best to stay up-to-date in cooking. That fancy dish mentioned
above you can probably find in a restaurant in Vienna as well as in Kapfenberg, Honolulu,
Timbuktu or Shanghai. You will also find the obligatory steak on the menu, although
you might not recognize it as one. Sorry for the T-bone steak lovers, because you
will not find it anymore in Austrian restaurants, due to the banning of all beef
products containing marrow.
In fact, it will be tough for you to find places where to eat traditional Austrian
cuisine. Of course Wiener Schnitzel and maybe Gulyas will find themselves on the
menu, Apple Strudel and also Topfen Strudel (cottage cheese) and Spinach Strudel.
Places where most tourists are led will be aiming to satisfy the foreign guests'
urge for those classics.
You should try and leave these paths to tourist traps and try to find a well-patronized
pub or restaurant, family owned and off the beaten tourist track. There you will
find the well-known classics but also more of the hearty traditional dishes, and
you can be sure of the authenticity of the food and the fairness of the prices.
No self-respecting Austrian would pay 5 Euro for a portion of apple strudel dipped
with vanilla sauce, probably heated in the microwave. That fiver is better used to
pay the lunch-special (Mittagsmenue) at the pub (Gasthaus) around the corner: soup,
main course and sometimes even dessert--maybe another 5 Euro for the drinks and coffee.
Is there a New Austrian Cuisine ? I would say so. It becomes more and more popular
amongst Austrian home-cooks to buy organically-grown food, organically-farmed meats
and fairly traded products from abroad. So if I´d like to cook nouvelle Austrian,
I would use ingredients like that, probably substitute olive oil for butter, use
more fresh herbs and less salt and try to cook it all a bit lighter than the traditional
way. Also staples like potato dough can be transformed into new recipes.
But all in all I´d rather stick with Grandma´s recipes. I want to conserve traditional
cooking recipes and let my friends cook me something a la nouvelle cuisine autrichienne.
Here is a book I recommend if you want to find out more about the New Austrian Cuisine.
It is David Bouley´s (with Mario Lohninger and Melissa Clark) East of Paris. The
words "what the Austrian cuisine would be if the Austro-Hungarian Empire were still
extant." say more about this book and its recipes than a 600-word review.
Also you should read about Austrian Cooking over at www.bernhards.at If you come
to visit Austria, have a great dinner at Obauer Restaurant near Salzburg.