Creative Cuisine in Vienna

Nowadays, there are more and more travellers booking cooking courses for their holidays to make their experiences more personal and creative. We have recently been offered this chance at the Vienna Kochatelier, a Viennese kitchen owned by the chef Thomas Hüttl. My colleagues during this creative event were the travels writers Elena Paschinger (www.Creativelena.com), Katrina Stovold (www.TourAbsurd.com) as well as Sarah and Terry Lee (www.LiveShareTravel.com).

Weihnachten in Österreich: Xmas Markets & Co.

Thomas Hüttl (Photo by Creativelena)

At the famous Viennese market of Naschmarkt, we meet with Thomas to shop the ingredients for our creative menu. He asks us about our cooking skills and whether we have any allergy food. After having some feedback over our cooking knowledge, we bought some cheese, fish, vegetables and fruit for our dessert.

Thomas Hüttl´s kitchen is like a dream come true for people who love cooking. His kitchen is equipped with all cooking utensils that you can imagine. Before chopping the vegetables, we get comfortable at the creative course drinking traditional Austrian mulled wine.

We begin to prepare a Bouillabaisse, a fish soup that takes a couple of hours until it gets the right flavour mixing the spices. Meanwhile, Thomas shares with us that there are many men who come to learn how to cook! Their wives then wait talking in the dining hall until they are spoilt by their husbands´ dishes.

The main course we cook during our creative cuisine are so-called Austrian “Spätzle”, homemade pasta similar to gnocchi but much smaller that are mixed with cheese and onions. The dish is yummy and it is very easy to prepare. Chopping the onions we learn that the knife should be longer in order to use movement instead of power. Using the method properly you can avoid burning your eyes when you cut onions.

We finish eating both dishes that are just so delicious. Finally, it is time to make Apple Pie, so we peel the apples and fry them. We spread the dough that can be bought in supermarkets and add chestnuts, caramelised sugar and the apples. We fold the dough into a so-called “Strudel”, which is how the Austrian call this typical, tasty dessert, and finish by painting it with egg yolk. Now, it is ready to be baked.

Yummmmmmmy!! Apple Pie is so good. Cooking courses are like an addiction because the food tastes better if it is cooked by you. Finally, have a look at my video with the highlights of this creative kitchen course: Enjoy your meal!

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Austrian Christmas Markets

The Austrian Christmas stands are an authentic tradition for tourists and even the locals. At the stands, you can find presents for the family or just enjoy the Austrian “way of life” such as drinking mulled wine and trying typical meals.

In Vienna there are twenty Advent markets that are located in the city according to the most important districts in the capital. Based on my experiences, I can recommend three.

1)At the surroundings of Belvedere Palace, which impresses visitors for its location and Baroque style building, there are few stands, but they offer an extensive variety of handcraft products and Christmas decorations.

Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace

2)In front of the famous Schönbrunn Palace, there are about 60 exhibitors showing their handicrafts, ceramics, and cake-chocolate stands for children or even adults. This spot is ideal for families.
3)The Spittelberg market with the narrow streets is one of the most complete in the Viennese capital. There are stands offering art, jewellery made of silver, ceramic, warm clothing, and local food specialities from different Austrian regions.

In all the markets you can find two typical hot drinks: mulled wine and punch. The former is made with wine (red, white or rosé) mixed with spices and fruit. The latter is a mixture of spirits (rum, vodka, whisky or liquors) with spices and fruit. There is also kids punch made with syrups, sugar, fruit and without alcohol.

Schallaburg Castle

Schallaburg Castle

In Lower Austria, you can visit the village of Schallaburg and Schallaburg castle, one of the architectural gems of the Renaissance period. Inside the castle, there is a museum and constant exhibitions during the whole year. In December, Christmas markets of hot drinks and culinary foods are located in the main square of the Schallaburg castle. In the inner rooms, you can wonder through the halls and visit the stands of jewellery, wooden clothing, handcrafts, Christmas decorations, wood toys for children and much more. Back at the square, you can see old guilds like blacksmiths working with metals as in the past.

St Wolfgang Nativity

El Portal de Belén St Wolfgang

The romantic Advent village of St Wolfgang, an hour by car from the city of Salzburg, is well worth seeing. The St Wolfgang Lake has on one side the village whereas on the back, there are huge mountains making this a truly picturesque place. During Advent festivities, a giant red candle is placed in the middle of the lake and the village is filled with Christmas stands. Alcoholic hot drinks, excellent Austrian specialities and a wide range of craft products can be found at St Wolfgang. The village park converts into a Nativity scene with carved wooden figures taller than life. It is a truly spectacular place to visit right before Christmas!

Here you can watch a video with experiences of Xmas markets in Austria. Enjoy… 🙂