Monday, October 1, 2012

The beauty and grandeur of Vienna, Austria

The history of Vienna, Austria is one that is marked by an extraordinary culture, economy and political influence and because of this, hosts many international organizations such as OPEC and the United Nations.

Vienna has a rich history that dates back to early Celtic and Roman settlements and its major transformation into a Baroque and Medieval city also happens to be the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. And let us not forget Vienna’s ever so important role as a major European Music Centre that dates back from the age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century.

Some food for thought, in a 2005 study of 127 world cities done by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Vienna was tied for first place as the world’s most livable cities (tied with Vancouver, Canada). The Economist Intelligence Unit is an independent business that conducts reports through research and analysis of forecasting and advisory services. This unit also produces reports on the liveability and cost of living of the major cities of the world. The information can be found frequently in international news sources.

Although I only had a few days to visit this magnificent city, it did leave me with a great impression. At every turn there was something beautiful to see whether it was a garden, the architecture or a famous building and the general sense of the people seen there was one of pride and elegance.  

Regarding the foods of Austria? There are various influences from the Austro-Hungarian Empire as well as Italian, German and Hungarian contributions, but this depends upon the region. They are known for many dishes, but ones that come to mind are the Weiner Schnitzel and Sachertorte which is made with chocolate cake accompanied by whipped cream and an apricot jam filling. Most breakfasts eaten there are served continental style, which is a combination of rolls, cold meats, jams, cheese, juice and tea or coffee. Some other popular Austrian dishes?
  • Tafelspitz - This consists of boiled beef and it is normally served with a roasted potato, minced apples and a sauce of sour cream or horseradish.
  • Punschkrapfen – This Austrian dessert comes in the shape of a cylinder or cube and is made of spongy dough that has been filled with rum, chocolate and jam and coated with a pinkish glaze.
  • Schweinefilet - This food consists of a fillet of pork with croquettes and sauce.
  • Apple Strudel - Nearly everyone worldwide has heard of this dessert. It's a sweet pastry with an apple filling that is baked.
  • Schweinsbraten – This is roast pork and is a traditional Austrian dish made from the neck, ham or shoulder of a pig and is roasted in the oven until the outside is crispy, then garnished with caraway.
  • Burenwurst - This is sausage and is common in many Viennese snack bars. Never grilled or baked, but always cooked, this is a national favorite.
  • Paatschinken – This is comparable to our pancake here in America and it is normally filled with jam.
  • Wiener Schnitzel - The most famous Austrian dish, this is made of a thin piece of veal that has been tenderized by pounding with a mallet and dipped in wheat flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. It is then fried in butter.
I can go on and on about Vienna, but, before you indulge in sightseeing, have a little "caffee" to start the journey..... 


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