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The neighbours on the plate – shared culinary accents of South Moravia and Weinviertel

The diversity of the Austrian cuisine reflects the wide extent of the former monarchy. Inhabitants from all over the Austro-Hungarian monarchy could point to recipes from their native areas. The Austrian cuisine combines the best of them. The culinary traditions of South Moravia and Weinviertel are in fact quite similar. Pastries such as curd cheesecake, sweet rolls, dumplings filled with plum jam, and pastries with plums or apricots are typical for both neighbouring regions.

Even today both countries share many culinary expressions, used in daily language: Buchtel – buchta (sweet rolls), Dalken – vdolek (pancake), Kolatschen – koláče (cake), Zwetschke – švestka (damask plum), Kukuruz – kukuřice (sweet corn), Sliwowitz – slivovice (plum brandy), Palatschinke – palačinka (pancake), Liwanze – lívanec (puffy pancake), Powidl – povidla (plum jam), Kren – křen (horseradish), Erdäpfel –“erteple” (potatoes), Wurst – buřt (sausage), and more.

Both are wine-growing regions and fancy good drinking. In 1748 the emperor Joseph II permitted the vintners to sell and serve their own wine, fruit, and homemade cooking in their homes. This is how the Heuriger came into existence (also known as Buschenschank) – the small restaurants of the local wine harvesters. The term Heuriger is derived from the name for young wine of the same year, from the German word ‘heuer’ (this year). The Heuriger have seasonal operating hours and in addition to excellent wines also offers a wide selection of cold meals.

Typically this includes salted, smoked meat (‘Geselchtes’), roast pork, brawn, and blood sausage (‘Blunzen’ or ‘Blutwurst’), as well as various spreads. A regional specialty is ‘Kellergatsch’, which is a spread made of meat remainders. As a sign that the Heuriger is open, the vintners hang a cluster of branches over the entrance (aus’gesteckt is’ – ‘table is set’). In south Moravia the wine producers that include such types of restaurants are described as ‘under the branches’ (Czech: ‘pod víchem’).

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