History of Austrian Cuisine

Over the hundreds of years of Austria's existence, a unique tradition of Austrian Cuisine has emerged. Its traditional and well-known recipes attract millions of tourists each year. Austria's rich Cuisine is a result of its history as a multi-national empire, where all kinds of different cultures contributed their very own nuances.

The Habsburg Empire stretched from the borders of Imperial Russia to the Adriatic and consisted of more than a dozen nationalities with over 51 million people speaking sixteen different languages. Within the last seven centuries, the cosmopolitan Habsburg rule extended over Switzerland, Alsace, Burgundy, Spain, Holland, Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy. All of the above have influenced Austria's cuisine in their own way.

© Andrein [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AAustria_Hungary_ethnic.svg

© Andrein [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AAustria_Hungary_ethnic.svg

But not all of what can be enjoyed at Austria's restaurants and cafés nowadays has peacefully found its way into Austria's kitchens. Many a recipe and ingredient had been washed ashore by Austria's melting pot of pan-european cooking by accident or as a coincidence or war. The Turkish invasion of Europe for example heralded the birth of Austria's coffee culture by introducing the coffee bean to Viennese cooks. Furthermore, "Apfelstrudel" is an Austrian version of a Turkish delicacy introduced during the Turkish occupation. The Wiener Schnitzel probably originated in northern Italy, while the delicious Palatschinken (crêpes) and the Gulasch came from the Hungarian plains; the roasts and sausages were originally Southern German delicacies, the pastries originated in Bohemia.

Apart from the foreign influences on Austrian cuisine, every Austrian features their own local dishes: Frittatensuppe (crêpe soup) comes from Styria, Speckknödel (bacon dumplings) from Tyrol; and Salzburg, Mozart’s home, has contributed the so-called Salzburger Nockerln, a sweet soufflé made from eggs.