Austrian food – what’s missing

Food plays a very important role in my life. Not only do I need it to stay alive, but I love to eat it, I love to cook it and I love to read menus! After a few months living in Austria (remember, small town) I found that most things I knew existed in some way, shape or form… it was just a matter of translating and hunting.

First pie attempt in a tart dish... unacceptable.
First pie attempt in a tart dish… unacceptable.

But more than a year in… there are still some things missing. I’m not talking about the classic Cadbury chocolate, Tim Tams or Vegemite, I’m talking things you wouldn’t initially think about. Here’s my top five:

  1. Jelly

Port wine jelly is the best
Port wine jelly… I need you

I crave it when I’m sick. Obviously my mum used to give it to me when I was unwell. So the first time I got sick I sent Thomas out on a wild goose chase for jelly. Luckily, he did find (in the 5th shop) a small tub of pre-prepared raspberry, but it’s rarely available. You can find gelatine and torte glaze by the bucketload and I did trial making my own jelly from fruit, but it was a complete FAIL. What you can’t get is the sachets of jelly crystals, and this is what I need.

  1. Healthy cereals

Weetabix
Note the rounded corners

In Australia we’re inundated with choice of breakfast cereals, the good and the bad. Here, there’s plenty of the bad, and not so much of the good. It makes sense when you realise most people eat bread and meat for breakfast (WT?) but for an Aussie craving morning cereal it can be hard work. Most cereals that are actually healthy come in tiny boxes at a very high price. They do have muesli though again the nutritional content is questionable. Eventually I found Weet-a-bix (same as Weetbix but with rounded corners) at a moderately high price and I trialled numerous mueslis until I found one that was acceptable. Throw homemade porridge into the mix and I’m happy!

  1. Pies

Meat pie
Let me at it!

Oh yes, pies are definitely an English/Aussie thing. And while you can get pre-prepared pastry (strudel is rampant) a pie dish is a different story. After hunting for weeks and ending up with a torte dish which frankly, didn’t cut it, I waited until a journey back to Oz where I purchased a small pie dish. And now I’m in pie- heaven.

  1. Lamb

No lamb in Austria
Lamb shanks… oh how I miss you

Though it’s more readily available in the summer months, lamb is something I miss, coming from a country where it’s almost the national dish! It can be found if you hunt for it but you can’t just rock down to the butcher for a variety of cuts like you can in Oz. Here they’re chicken and pork eaters, which is fine but I do love red meat!

  1. Unseasonal Produce

Seasonable vegetables in supermarket
Feel like pumpkin… sorry not this time of year

Living in Melbourne, I just got used to the fact that you can generally find any kind of fruit and vegetable all year round, there’s just a premium if it’s out of season. But in my small Austrian town, they tend to go more by the philosophy of… if it’s not in season, we don’t have it. I actually like the theory, it’s how things really should be, but it does take some getting used to.

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