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Austria's culinary specialities from A to Z

An alphabetic tour through Austrian cuisine will help you decipher the menu and spike your appetite for delicious desserts and mouth-watering specialities: from A(pfelstrudel) to Z(irbenschnaps).

plate of coldcuts with bacon
plate of coldcuts with bacon
 © Robert Gruber
© Robert Gruber
 © Österreich Werbung, Wolfgang Schardt
© Österreich Werbung, Wolfgang Schardt
 © Österreich Werbung, Wolfgang Schardt
© Österreich Werbung, Wolfgang Schardt
 © Österreich Werbung, Wolfgang Schardt
© Österreich Werbung, Wolfgang Schardt
 © Österreich Werbung, Wolfgang Schardt
© Österreich Werbung, Wolfgang Schardt
 © Oostenrijks Toeristenburo
© Oostenrijks Toeristenburo
 © Österreich Werbung, Wolfgang Schardt
© Österreich Werbung, Wolfgang Schardt
 © Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud
© Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud

A

Apfelstrudel
Apple strudel is the showpiece of Austrian pastries! Apple pieces, cinnamon and raisins are wrapped in a wafer-thin sheet of pastry. The pasty must be so thin that you can read a love letter through it. Go to the recipe! 

B

Backhendl
The way the Viennese most like to eat chicken: cut into pieces, breaded with egg and breadcrumbs, and fried to perfection.

Beuschel
Admittedly a somewhat tricky dish, but it tastes much better than it sounds: finely chopped offal (heart, lungs) in a slightly tart soup.

Buchteln
One of the wonderful desserts that Bohemian cooks brought to Austria: leavened dough pieces filled with jam. Go to the recipe

C

Champignons mit Sauce Tartare
This has become a classic dish for small appetites and consists of breaded mushrooms served with a spicy mayonnaise sauce.

D

Dirndln
A Dirndl is actually a young girl, but in the gourmet land of Austria there is a wild fruit by the same name that makes an outstanding schnaps.

E

Erdäpfel
The first potato plant arrived in Vienna in 1588. Today potatoes dominate the kitchen in the form of puree, dumplings, salad and potato pancakes.

F

Faschiertes
Minced/ground meat that is sometimes also called “hash” when it is used in dumplings.

Faschingskrapfen
In days gone by, doughnuts were only sold during Carnival (called “Fasching”). Now they are available all year. Traditionally, doughnuts are filled with apricot jam. Go to the recipe.

Frankfurter
Created in Vienna by a Frankfurter. In some parts of the world they are called wienerwurst and in others hot dogs. Is everything clear? But for our purposes, the Frankfurter is a sausage.

Frittaten
Pancakes cut into thin strips are a favourite with Austrians as an addition to soup, as are noodles and liver dumplings.

G

Gugelhupf
The mother of all cakes, an indispensable part of every coffee break. Go to the recipe

Gulasch
A dietary staple adopted from Hungary during the emperor’s day; diced meat and vegetables are put in a stew together. There are dozens of variations, from “gravy goulash” to “fiacre goulash”. Go to the recipe.

Grammelschmalz
Definitely not for those counting calories! Fragrant, melted pork fat with small cubes of bacon is delicious on bread.

H

Häuptelsalat
A green salad has been served with every decent main dish since the 17th century. The most popular to this day: the “Häuptel” or head of lettuce.

I

Indian
A name that sadly is seldom used now for the “Indian Bird”, the turkey. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Indian was filled with five to six pounds of truffles!

J

Jourgebäck
Sold only at exclusive shops: all kinds of baked goods (rolls, poppy seed rolls, salt sticks) in miniature format.

K

Kaiserschmarren
The high point of Viennese cuisine is a fluffy, sweet scramble made with flour, eggs and milk. It is cooked like pancakes and then torn into little pieces. Go to the recipe!

Knödel
From bread dumplings to apricot dumplings: no other cuisine in the world has as many variations on the dumpling as the Viennese. Added to soup, as a side dish, a main dish and dessert. Go the recipe of "Marillenknödel"!

L

Letscho
The Hungarian relic from the days of the Danube monarchy is stewed paprika with tomatoes.

Lungenbraten
Behind this strange name is the best cut of beef: the filet. It has nothing to do with lungs, but with “Lume” or loin.

N

Nockerln
Austrian-Hungarian-Czech archetype of the Italian gnocchi: made with flour, semolina, curd cheese or potato dough, sweet or with meat, cheese, vegetables. Find the recipe here!

O

Ochsenschlepp
This name might conjure up an ancient form of transportation; it is in fact an ox tail. A Viennese speciality, in particular as a soup.

P

Palatschinken
What’s important is what’s inside! Thin, hot pancakes are filled with marmalade, ice cream, curd cheese or meat. A favourite with all Austrian children.

Paradeiser
In particular in the East of Austria, the tomato still bears a name that is centuries old: “paradise apple”.

Powidl
This dark, thick, aromatic plum butter is popular as a filling for desserts.

Q

Quitte
The quince is a relative of the apple and the pear. Eaten raw, it is unpalatable, but as jam, jelly (with venison) and as schnapps it’s a real insider’s tip.

R

Rostbraten
Is not a roast, but a slice of beef stewed in dozens of different ways. The best known is the “onion Rostbraten”.

S

Schlagobers
Cream. A “Sacher mit Schlag” is a piece of Sacher cake with a portion of whipped cream.

T

Tafelspitz
Top quality beef cooked in soup and traditionally served with potatoes, chive sauce and apple horseradish. Go to the recipe!

Tiroler Gröstl
A well-known leftover dish in which diced leftover roast, onions, potatoes and marjoram are fried up together.

Topfengolatschen
Puff pastry or flaky pastry pockets are filled with curd cheese and are an essential component of the sweet side of alpine cuisine (curd cheese strudel, curd cheese dumplings, curd cheese cream).

U

Uhudler
Wine from southern Burgenland with a strawberry bouquet. A rarity made from ungrafted vines.

V

Vanillekipferl
Half-moon shaped crispy pastries with a strong vanilla aroma. Are only eaten during Advent. Go the recipe!

W

Wiener Schnitzel
The classic dish for Austrian cuisine: a cutlet breaded with egg and breadcrumbs and then fried until it is golden. Find the recipe for Wiener Schnitzel here!

Wurzelfleisch
Beef ragout cooked with all sorts of root vegetables (carrots, celery, parsley root, leeks).

Z

Zirbenschnaps
High-proof schnapps made with sliced cones from the Swiss Stone pine.