Tastes of Austria – in Salzburgerland
Austria’s larder, properly known as SalzburgerLand, serves up more than a few world ‘favourite things’, as Julie Andrews sang in the Sound of Music. In the beautiful, health-giving Alpine outdoors, cycling, hiking and lake-swimming are so inviting and accessible, you can eat and drink your way around the province on the Via Culinaria without gaining a pound.
Start in Salzburg, a beautiful city where fine eateries are rooted in fascinating history and rich culture. At St Peter’s Abbey, follow your nose to the Stiftsbäckerei where monks have been baking fresh bread since 696.
Europe’s oldest restaurant, the 1200-year-old St Peter’s Stiftskulinarium is the perfect place to sample the city’s favourite dessert, Salzburger Nockerl.
Visit food markets, stroll the pedestrianised Getreidegasse stopping at Mozart’s house and Konditorei Fürst where the original Mozartkugel are freshly prepared every day.
Thirsty? Salzburg has 11 breweries – Stiegl has been in business since Columbus discovered America.
Salzkammergut is Austria’s lake district. The good-to-drink quality of the water is one reason the smoked and fresh fish is so delicious. Sample it at Schloss Fuschl’s Fishery on Lake Fuschl.
The Bürglalm is an enchanting retreat on the Sonnberg above the village of Dienten with a divine herb garden. Walk up an appetite for its Kaiserschmarrn – shredded pancake, dusted with icing sugar and served with local pureed fruit.
Every good hut-keeper enjoys sharing his home-made schnapps, and the Bürglers are no exception.
Organic produce is a way of life in SalzburgerLand. Leogang’s Naturhotel Forsthofgut has its own farm which supplies all-organic and vegan menus. With its forest spa, bathing lake and mountain excursions, the Forsthofgut deserves a stay of several nights.
Sankt Johann im Pinzgau is the place for cheese lovers, and its excellent farm shops and cheesemongers will always freeze-wrap your purchase if you want some to take home on a plane.
Take a cheese-making course at Fürstenhof in Kuchl. Erwin Werlberger, proprietor of the beautiful Winterstellgut hotel/restaurant at Annaberg is a master chef who honours local traditions and knows all his suppliers personally. For a more rustic experience and Pongau’s meat doughnuts, book Oberforsthofalm.
Return to Salzburg via Golling for a view of the waterfalls and a feast to remember at Döllerer: Andreas Döllerer is one Europe’s top chefs with four Gault & Millau toques. At the end of it all, for a souvenir to savour, call in at Walter Grüll’s in Grodig, home of all things fishy, and Austria’s finest caviar.
There are nine Via Culinaria pathways – a collection of 300 mouth-watering stops, that are underpinned by organic produce and sustainable methods. The dedicated Organic Connoisseurs pathway, highlights places to taste and buy 100 percent organic delicacies. The Gourmets route features delectable eateries including Michelin-starred restaurants run by the world’s most decorated chefs, gorgeous guest houses, cafes, and shops.
The Fish Fans trail
The Fish Fans trail visits locations with sparkling, drinking-water quality streams and lakes in the Salzkammergut; plump trout and char leap from the water to the plate. The Meat Eaters route leads to retailers, many in the Pongau region, offering specialities such as tender Pinzgau beef and sweet, juicy Tennegau lamb. For vegetarians, skilful artisan producers featured on the Cheese Freaks road serve superlative varieties such as Flachau hay-milk cheese or Lungau goats’ cheese from the local Alpine pastures.
Discover the charm of rustic mountain refuges on the Hut Lovers way. Awesome views, traditional home-cooked food plus a genuine family-friendly welcome, is your reward after a long hike: compare the time-honoured kaiserschmarren between huts. Tread the Herb Lovers path to learn about the healing and flavouring powers of indigenous plants on historic farms or monastery gardens.
No meal is complete without a drink. The Beer and Schnapps Aficionados map points out where to find the finest craft beers and schnapps in Austria.
SalzburgerLand’s brewing tradition dates back to 696 when Benedictine monks set up shop in St Peter’s Abbey; longevity and success is due to clear water and fresh local ingredients. Every village has a secret Schnapps recipe which is passed down the generations, using local berries and herbs.
Perhaps the most popular tour is the Culinary Pathway for the Sweet Tooth. Discover the greatest coffee houses and chocolatiers for seductive pastries and sweet treats including Salzburg City’s world-famous Mozartkugel (Mozart Balls).
Location doesn’t get any better
Best terrace for meals overlooking the city