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The Austrians have their mouths full of sweet teeth. The seemingly endless variety of sugary dumplings, strudels, pastries, tarts and other delights that most tourists have never heard of let alone know how to pronounce bear witness to both culinary creativity and heroic fearlessness when it comes to calories. If you are striving for an hourglass silhouette, you will need to combine consumption with plenty of hikes in the Austrian Alps. If not: unbuckle your belt and dig in!
The Original Salzburger Mozartkugel
“Wolferl”, as Mozart was sometimes called by his family, had been dead for almost a hundred years when the Salzburg confectioner Paul Fürst invented the Mozartkugel or Mozart Bonbon. So just to make things clear: this treat was never part of the wunderkind’s regular diet. Nevertheless, the harmonious creation was a tremendous success. Ever since, copycats have been popping out of the Salzburg soil like mushrooms. That’s why you’ll need a couple of hard facts to distinguish the real bonbons from the imitators: 1. The original Mozartkugel is spherical and not flattened as some of the knock-offs are. 2. It is packed in blue and silver aluminium foil and depicts the famous composer. 3. Only the product of Paul Fürst’s descendants, who regretfully failed to patent the invention, is allowed to bear the name Original Salzburger Mozartkugel. 4. The original praline also differs from the copies in terms of manufacturing: a ball of pistachio marzipan is coated with a layer of nougat, dipped in chocolate and placed on a wooden stick to dry. Finally, the hole from the stick is covered with more chocolate.
“It’s nothing but warm air”, some people say. Others describe them more poetically: “Sweet as love, tender as a kiss”. The Salzburger Nockerln are a real rite of passage for the local patissières. The delicate soufflé mainly consists of egg, sugar and only a pinch of flour. It must be served warm immediately – otherwise it collapses. But aren’t the most fragile of desserts also the ones that have that extraordinary ability to tickle our palates most profoundly? According to local legend, the snow-covered oven-baked “Alps of Salzburg” were originally a romantic gesture from Salome Alt to her great love, the prince-bishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau, in the 17th century. To thank his mistress, whom he was never allowed to marry, he built her the mansion of Schloss Altenau, which later turned into the famous Schloss Mirabell.
There are several myths proclaiming the origin of the Kaiserschmarrn. The most beautiful version tells the tale of the empress Elisabeth, aka Sissi, who was obsessed with her weight. One evening, she disdainfully rejected the dessert made by the royal pastry chef Leopold. In response, her husband Kaiser Franz Joseph I snatched the fork and uttered the famous words “Then give me the Schmarren (trash) that our Leopold has made us” before devouring the dish. The basic batter is quickly made by whisking together eggs, flour and milk. It is fried in a pan with butter until the pancake-like substance turns golden brown. Kaiserschmarrn is often served with fruit and the dessert is still popular among nobility and commoners alike.
When it comes to the gastronomy of Salzburg, beer is an essential element. And here you will find unconventional and delicious ways of consuming it. One option is the ice-cream dessert the Stiegl-Weisse-Eisbecher. Aside from showing great environmental awareness, the Stiegl brewery is not afraid of conducting experiments. And it has been like this since 1492. In the Bräustüberl, a part of the beer exhibition Stiegl Brauwelt, among the classic beer sorts and traditional Austrian dishes you will come across specials with a beery twist as well as this unusual yet delicious dessert, the Stiegl-Weisse-Eisbecher. It consists of three scoops of Stiegl-Weisse beer ice-cream, a berry jam and four different kinds of malt.