Austria’s gastronomy and wine production

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Austria’s gastronomy and wine are developing rapidly

Austria’s gastronomy and wine have experienced a major boost in quality and production in recent years. There is still much regard for classic gastronomy, but well-known dishes are reinterpreted in an exciting way, old traditions are revived, and the country’s best wines have achieved world class.

Austria's gastronomy and wine

Wagram wine production, top producer Gregor Nimmervoll

Austrian wine production – Gregor Nimmervoll’s Veltliner, the perfect example of Austrian gastronomy and wine

The small town of Wagram really came on the world map in 1809, when Napoleon’s troops toured together with the Austrian army under the leadership of Duke Karl. But even though Wagram is today a small cozy wine region, where it feels as if time has stood still for many years, in recent years it has made a strong mark with a number of quality wines. a good example of where Austria’s gastronomy and wine development is heading.

A new and energetic generation of winegrowers has combined centuries-old traditions with modern innovation and technology, creating success stories such as Grüner and Roter Veltliner, and the best Veltliner wines are world class. One of Wagram’s best-known wineries is run by Gregor and Claudia Nimmervoll, and although they have only been independent for twelve years, their winery is today one of the leading companies in the area.

“Even when I was a child, I inherited my grandmother’s passion for making wine,” recalls Gregor Nimmervoll. “And even though she advised me to find another profession, I persevered and at the age of fourteen was able to present my first bottle of my own production, a classic Grüner Veltliner.”

One of the secrets of Gregor Nimmervoll and Wagram’s quality wines is the combination of a stony subsoil and a soil consisting of sandy clay, which lies in a thick layer on top of the rocks. While the grapes ripen during the sun-filled daytime hours, cool air from the surrounding forests descends on the vineyards at night, and this interaction further contributes to giving the Veltliner wines the distinctive character that has made them sought after around the world.
Gregor Nimmervoll emphasizes that cultivation and production takes place without the use of pesticides, and he brings out the best taste in each vintage. Wine connoisseurs describe the Veltliner wines of the Wagram area as quality wines that have a touch of white pepper in the taste.


Saffron produced in Austria?

As you know, the most expensive and exclusive spice in the world is saffron, and it is produced primarily in the Middle East, India and around the Mediterranean. But in the Austrian Wachau, an old tradition of growing the sought-after spice has been resumed. A fine example of the development in Austria’s gastronomy and wine.
Between 75,000 and 100,000 flowers from the saffron crocus are used to produce just one kilo of saffron, so throughout history saffron has been both expensive and sought after, and lots of counterfeit products have found their way to the spice markets. In the Wachau, located on the Danube in north-eastern Austria, saffron cultivation began around 700 years ago, and they did so well that the production became internationally known and was one of the most famous specialties of the time. In particular, the quality and purity were great, and the production of Austrian saffron continued until the end of the 19th century.



From crocus to saffron, how is it produced?

Today, the cultivation of the beautiful crocus, which has good growing conditions in the lush Danube valley, has resumed. The flowers are grown on stony terraces, and when the harvest is over, the actual processing begins. You take the dust collected and pulverize this, and this produces the red spice, which only turns yellow when it is used in the kitchen. Saffron is used in dishes as diverse as paella and fish dishes, and it can give a powerful boost to both baked goods and tea. In addition, saffron is attributed some healing properties, and throughout history it has been used against eye inflammation as well as liver, kidney and breast diseases.

A visit to the Wachauer Safranmanufaktur – a small cozy shop housed in the historic railway station building in Dürnstein – gives a unique insight into the history and finesse of saffron diving. Guests can come on a guided tour, where the history of saffron and its production is told, and of course you are invited to sample various local delicacies. Among other things, saffron chocolate, saffron honey and saffron liqueur are served, and all products can be bought to take home. And should you feel like starting to grow the coveted spice at home in your kitchen garden, you can get a starter pack with seeds and instructions. So another example of a dynamic development in Austria’s gastronomy and wine.


The traditional dish Riebel

Riebel is a specialty that originates from Vorarlberg, and for generations the dish has been associated with good hearty home cooking. But via a series of new interpretations, riebel is now used in many other contexts, and the court has been given new life.

The main ingredient in riebel is corn, and milk, water, salt and butter are added. When all the ingredients have been kneaded well, leave the dough in a cool place overnight. The next day, roast it all on a pan. There are two very classic ways to serve riebel, which is a sweet and crunchy treat. You can either sprinkle a thin layer of cheese on it and enjoy the dish in connection with the main meal, or you can eat riebel as a dessert, and it tastes wonderful when served with sugar, applesauce or fruit compote.

In connection with the development that Austria’s gastronomy and wine have gone through, completely new possibilities of use for riebel have been spotted. Today, riebel is used in many different dishes, ranging from accompaniments to tapas and tiramisu to dishes with sea trout or lamb. The new popularity of the dish has also meant that a number of farmers in Vorarlberg have dedicated themselves to nurturing, developing and refining the local production of corn.


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