Wine Food Pairing in Austria, Dont say NO!

Who ever thought that just a quick stop over to say hello to a friend or neighbor would entail several hours of eating and drinking?

When you visit someone at their home in Austria, be prepared for a wine food pairing extravaganza! As an American, I am used to wonderful hospitality, but the Austrians definitely kick it up a notch. Recently my husband and I spent a couple of months visiting his homeland and I found out the hard way, by gaining 5 pounds, that "no" really means OK!

Everyday we would visit someone new and as we were seated in their cozy kitchens, the first question was red or white wine? Of course, it was asked in German, but it didn't take me long to figure it out, if I made some excuse and politely refused (like it was only ten in the morning!) it seemed I got red wine! I guess it is almost an insult to refuse. OK, I am adaptable.

Next, the food would come out. The Austrians are wonderful cooks and definitely have a sweet tooth. Apple strudel is one of their favorites and nothing is better than a strudel right out of the oven, dusted with a bit of powdered sugar. I would pair this with a Blaufrankisch, a medium bodied, red wine with a bit of spice and it was delicious!

Another snack that they are famous for is a tiny open faced sandwiches or as they call them "toasts". These little guys are only about 1" x 2" in size and truly a work of art! Made from an assortment of breads they can either be plain or toasted and the array of toppings is mindboggling. They use seasoned butters, any kind of cold cuts or smoked fish, chopped eggs and all sorts of pickled items. TERRIFIC! Usually these are eaten with a knife and fork, but as an American I just used my fingers and it seemed to work just fine, especially after a couple of glasses of red wine!

Usually somewhere along the way a different set of glasses would come out and we would switch to a local Riesling. I found this white wine to vary from sweet to dry, with my preference being the dryer of the two. Nobody could ever fault the Austrians for lack of hospitality!

Laughter and conversation always continued as the food dwindled down and soon another set of glasses would come out. HOLY COW, it schnapps time! This potent, usually fruit based, liquor will set your tonsils to yodeling! Everyone explained to me that this is a traditional digestive aid. I guess this has been used way before Tums were invented!

At this point, it is almost dinner time and you know that it is time to wind down and get ready to leave when the espresso comes out. The Austrians also have a yummy coffee beverage called a melange which is half coffee and half milk with a frothy top, YIKES, it is good!

Wine Food Pairing, a wonderful experience in the villages of Austria! CHEERS!

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About The Author, Deniseclarke