Cuisine from the Alps
High in the Alps you’re going to worship cheese and dairy products, and be thankful for the bracing walks you can take to help prepare for the next meal. You’ll find that chocolate and cheese taste terrific at high altitude - although maybe not at the same time - that’s up to you.
Experience food in Austria on your feet in the street: wander through the ethnic melting pot of vibrant life and exotic scents at Vienna’s Naschmarkt, already a market place for dairy products in the 18th century. This premier open-air fruit and vegetable market should be on everyone's itinerary. Walk endless rows fruit, vegetables, seafood, spices, homemade pasta, cheeses and breads and pickles of all kinds. Had a long night out on the town? A typical hangover buster would be a pair of grilled or cooked sausages, served with freshly grated horseradish, mustard, ketchup, gherkins, a piece of dark bread and a can of local beer at a Würstelstände, the Austrian equivalent of the kebab house. Taste Salzburger Mozartkugeln and you have history, music and tradition in one sweet bite; sample pumpkin seed oil on savory dishes and desserts if you’re brave; Austrian cuisine is actually full of surprises.
Discover the varied cuisine and the noble wines of Switzerland, a country that has four distinct regions, each with its own language and culture, and time-honored local food traditions. As you travel through Switzerland you’ll find Malakoff cheese fritters in Canton Vaud; and cornmeal specialties and freshly caught perch from Lake Constance in Canton St. Gallen. The Valais is famous for its raclette, melted mountain cheese served with steamed new potatoes and pickles; Graubünden for its Capuns, tender dumplings wrapped in Swiss chard leaves; Zürich for its Geschnetzeltes, creamy shredded veal; and Ticino for its luganighe sausages and fabulous risotto. You have 450 kinds of cheese to try and don’t forget the Swiss chocolate!
Germany is a big country so expect and seek out your favorite regional variations, of which there are scores. For the carnivore, explore the endless array of beef and pork sausages and delicious specialties like Black Forest ham or heath land sheep. You're equally spoilt for choice when it comes to fish; sprats, herring and shrimps, eel, pike-perch, carp, trout or whitefish depending on your proximity to sea or freshwater. You’ll have potatoes prepared every way imaginable and unbelievably satisfying breads. Pay homage to delicate white asparagus on the Baden Asparagus Route and swim in ruby red fruit soups, preserves, pastries, and sauces made with the luscious German fruits and berries. To leave without tasting Black Forest cake at the source is a waste.
Italy, Austria and Hungary have all influenced the cooking of Slovenia, where 170 dishes are now officially recognized as typically Slovene, from unusual soups and buckwheat porridge to meat dishes and delightful desserts. The main ingredients are cabbage, beans and potatoes; without them there would be no typical dumplings or sautéed potatoes. Slovenia’s inns, or gostilne, are the best place to sample local cuisine. Many of them are family businesses, some going back a hundred years or more, so you can expect a warm, hospitable welcome and service. In the wealth of dishes on offer, you can always find at least three dishes that are typical of the area or region. A tasty meal is often concluded with a rich potica or prekmurska gibanica cake.
Italy has always been a synonym for "good food," offering an e explosion of flavors, scents, and aromas. Aside from having one of the most famous cuisines, it also proposes an immense variety of different regional dishes and recipes. World renowned products such as Parmigiano Reggiano (cheese, Parma and San Daniele ham, Modena balsamic vinegar, Genoa's pesto, buffalo mozzarella from Campania, Alba truffles, and cured meats are just some of the symbols that make Italy the land of good food. And how could anyone forget pasta and pizza, universal synonyms for Italy?