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Viking River Cruises’ culinary tours: the flavors of Vienna

Hofburg, the Imperial Palace, Vienna
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Hofburg, the Imperial Palace, Vienna

Our Viking River Cruise took us to Vienna, a magnificent city with imperial palaces and treasures of the Habsburg dynasty.

Belvedere, Vienna
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Belvedere, Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna
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Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

gardens, fountain, and gloriette at Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna
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gardens, fountain, and gloriette, Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna

Swiss Gate, Hofburg Palace, Vienna
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Swiss Gate, built in 1552, Hofburg Palace, Vienna. This wing houses the Imperial Treasury

Best of Culinary Austria

This time we opted for the “Best of Culinary Austria” excursion in the Imperial City. We tasted regional specialties and learned to prepare them.

As is typical in Vienna, this event was also in a grand building, the Palais Ferstel.

The palace was once a Viennese social center with salon areas, a ballroom, and the renowned coffee house Café Central.  It was a  popular meeting spot for artists, writers, politicians, and scientists —  people like like Hitler, Stalin, Sigmund Freud, and Leo Trotsky.

Café Central, Vienna
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Café Central, Vienna

We sampled wine and a Brettljause platter of fine air dried ham, prosciutto and cheeses from the Styrian region of Austria in a deli and wine bar called Vulcanothek.

Vulcanothek, Vienna
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Vulcanothek, Vienna

This is the only place that serves these foods outside of Styria. This  lush volcanic area by the Slovenian border is known as “The Austrian Tuscany.”

meat and cheese platter, Vienna
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platter of fine meats, Vienna

We continued through the arcade courtyard to Mörwald Kochamt for a demonstration by Chef Roland Huber. We learned how to prepare one of Emperor Franz Josef’s favorite dishes.

The slender Empress Elisabeth, known as Sisi, ate very little and refused it when it was served. The Emperor said “Give ME that nonsense!” From then on the Imperial Palace baker gave it the name, Kaiserschmarrn, or “Emperor’s trifle.” Here is a recipe link.

cooking demonstration, Vienna
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cooking demonstration by Chef Roland Huber, Vienna

That evening we shared in the gemütlichkeit,  or cozinesson another optional tour. We enjoyed traditional food along with the latest vintage at a Viennese vineyard and tavern.

Vienna is the only capital city with significant wine production within its city limits. Our excursion took us through fashionable Viennese neighborhoods to dinner, music, and the latest vintage of Grüner Veltliner in a charming heuriger. This vineyard tavern is in Neustift am Walde.

heuriger, Vienna, Austria
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heuriger, Vienna, Austria

The heuriger was filled with local people enjoying the simple food and young wine. The Heuriger tradition goes back to 1784, when Emperor Joseph II issued an ordinance permitting everyone to sell  home-made food, wine and fruit juice without the need for a special permit.

We sat at a long table while more and more plates of food were brought out to be shared, family-style.

traditional Austrian food at the heuriger
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traditional Austrian food at the heuriger

Music by local musicians added to the gemütlichkeit. What an enjoyable way to spend the evening!

violinist, heuriger, Vienna, Austria
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violinist, heuriger, Vienna, Austria

 

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