The traditional Wiener Schnitzel

Österreich Werbung / Wolfgang Schardt

Top 5 Austrian Dishes You Need to Try

Austrian classics from Wiener Schnitzel to Marillenknödel - don't miss these must-eats on your stay in Austria.

Food is identity. It is an important part of our sense of belonging: to our families, cultural area and national unity. For the British the archetypical dish is fish and chips, for Americans it’s hamburgers, for the Japanese sushi, and for the Austrians it’s Wiener Schnitzel, of course.

1. Marillenknödel (Apricot Dumplings)

Culinary specialities are national and regional landmarks. They reveal much about the soul of a country, about the openness to other cultures. Thus it can happen that an originally Chinese fruit (the apricot) is combined with a plant product from Southeast Asia (sugar) and a Bohemian method of preparation (the dumpling) to become the cultural icon of Austria’s picturesque Wachau Valley: the Marillenknödel (apricot dumpling).
 

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Austrian apricot dumplings

Austrian apricot dumplings

Rita Newman

2. Wiener Schnitzel

Many of the dishes considered to be classic Austrian recipes today would never have seen the light of day without intercultural dialogue. Austrians have always been true masters in the art of uniting a wide variety of cultural influences on a single plate.

Take, for example, the famous Wiener Schnitzel. Its roots are to be found not in Vienna but in Venice. Italian chefs were frying meat in a breadcrumb wrapper as early as the sixteenth century, and before that the Jewish population of Constantinople did the same. According to legend, this form of fried meat was brought to Austria around 1857 by the Austrian field marshal Count Radetzky. Austrian chefs perfected the recipe during the late imperial age, making Wiener Schnitzel what it is today: an incomparable Austrian delicacy.
 

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The traditional Wiener Schnitzel

The traditional Wiener Schnitzel

Österreich Werbung / Wolfgang Schardt

3. Linzer Torte

The Linzer Torte is another dish known far beyond the borders of Austria. It took its name from Linz, the Upper Austrian capital, and is unique in the fact that it was the world’s first cake recipe to appear in written form. The cake first became famous in 1822 when a baker from Franconia, Johann Konrad Vogel, began working for Katharina Kress, the widow of a Linz confectioner. And that was the beginning of a success story. Today, the Linzer Torte is just as well known abroad as the Sacher Torte and no less popular as a delicious city souvenir.
 

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Linzer Torte

Linzer Torte

Austrian National Tourist Office / Wolfgang Schardt

4. Sacher Torte

Although chocolate cake was not invented in Vienna, the legendary Sacher Torte was. Baked for the first time in 1832 by the clever baker’s apprentice Franz Sacher, the cake was impressive above all for its taste and design. But the person responsible for the Sacher Torte, which became the most famous of all chocolate cakes, was his son, Eduard Sacher. By the end of the nineteenth century he had made the Sacher Torte a household name nearly everywhere, thus launching its unparalleled success story.
 

 

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Sacher cake

Sacher cake

Österreich Werbung / Wolfgang Schardt

5. Vorarlberg Mountain Cheese

In Vorarlberg, Austria's western-most province, a spicy, aromatic speciality is produced: Bergkäse (mountain cheese). Cheese originated in the Middle East, where the nutritional value of milk had become apparent as early as the Stone Age. The recipe developed in the high mountains of western Austria for purely practical reasons. Fresh milk was easily and cheaply available, and hard cheese kept for a very long time, making it possible to survive in high and inhospitable Alpine regions. We owe the wide variety of cheeses available today to the many different kinds of grass and herbs found on Alpine pastures. On the Vorarlberg Cheese Road, you can visit a variety of dairies and cheesemakers and have a taste.
 

 

 

Visit the Cheese Road
Bregenzerwald Cheese Trail

Bregenzerwald Cheese Trail

Austrian National Tourist Office / Hans Wiesenhofer
  • Wachau Apricot Dumplings

    Wachau Apricot Dumplings

    Österreich Werbung / Wolfgang Schardt
  • One of Vienna's most famous coffeehouses - the Cafe Sacher

    One of Vienna's most famous coffeehouses - the Cafe Sacher

    Hotel Sacher Wien
  • Linzer Torte

    Linzer Torte

    Linz Tourismus / ms Fotogroup
    Linz
  • The traditional Wiener Schnitzel

    The traditional Wiener Schnitzel

    Österreich Werbung / Wolfgang Schardt
  • regional gastronomic speciality - Kässpätzle in Gebse

    regional gastronomic speciality - Kässpätzle in Gebse

    Vorarlberg Tourismus / Michael Gunz