At the heart of Graz’s foodie culture is the Kaiser Josef Market. Beginning at 6 a.m., local farmers offer their produce out on the big market square, just behind Graz’s opera house. This is where most culinary tours through Graz start because you’ll find everything the region is famous for: cured meats, scarlet runner beans, pumpkin and pumpkin seed oil, crispy Graz lettuce and fresh farmer’s bread. If the aroma of fresh produce and prepared specialties makes you hungry, there are several small restaurants around the market that serve dishes prepared with this morning’s haul. The farmer’s market across the river on Lendplatz has also become a popular meeting place among locals.
Since Graz is practically surrounded by vineyards, the light, dry white wines produced here are omnipresent. Some wines, like Schilcher and Welschriesling, have attained near cult status in Styria. If you are planning a discovery tour of the region’s wines, start with stores such as Wine & Co, or the wine shop at Der Steirer
, a popular restaurant serving Styrian specialties. Visit one of the local wine taverns (Buschenschank) on the outskirts of Graz. An essential part of local wine culture, a Buschenschank serves homemade meats, cheeses and spreads (a Brettljause) along with the estate’s own wines.
To sample local fare such as a crispy fried chicken served alongside endive and potato salad with pumpkin seed oil, styrian beef or cream of pumpkin and roasted chestnut soup, head for one of the traditional restaurants in Graz. The Landhauskeller and the Stainzerbauer, for example, are located in the heart of the old town. For a romantic dinner with amazing views over the city, head to the Aiola on top of the Schlossberg
, where you can sample from an excellent wine list. If you crave something sweet, see if you can find the delicious Schlossberg chocolates at Linzbichler Suesswaren, or a delicious Original Sacher-Torte from the Café Sacher in the Herrengasse, both located in the inner city. A day trip to the Zotter chocolate factory
with its cocoa fountains and seemingly infinite array of samples is a truly indulgent experience.
Try to time your visit so that you’ll be able to participate in one of the numerous culinary festivals throughout the year. The Long Table of Graz
is one of the highlights on the city’s culinary calendar. For the price of one ticket, you can enjoy a gourmet meal served by Graz’s top restaurateurs at a lavishly set banquet table right on the city’s main square.