In the Laa region, the ground has to be properly readied before the onions can grow roots. Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks appreciated the onion as a culinary ingredient, as well as originally a means to increase the libido. Thanks to the Roman legions, onions arrived in central Europe. After the drainage of the swamps and the regulation of the Thaya in the middle of the 19th century, conditions became conducive for the cultivation of onions. They were able to flourish since they didn’t require much water; they ripened naturally and also gained a rich aroma.
In 1992 the ‘Gelber Laaer’ (Yellow Laaer) and the ‘Roter Laaer’ (Red Laaer) made their way into the Austrian list of plant varieties, soon to be followed by the ‘Schneeweisse Unterstinkenbrunner’ (Snow-white Unterstinkenbrunner). Today onion soup, red onion ragout, or ‘baked onion mice’ enrich the Weinviertel culinary palette.
Hemp made its appearance in the Weinviertel much earlier than onions. Its story began 3000 years ago in China and India. In medieval Europe this cultivated plant was considered a miracle plant. The Gutenberg Bible was printed on hemp paper, and the first jeans were produced with hemp fibres. In the 1930s this herbal all-rounder was declared the ‘most dangerous drug in the world’.
Since 1995 hemp is being cultivated again in the region, and Hanfthal has become one of its centres. Machines were developed to process the fibres into insulation material as well as for the shelling of the seeds. Hemp chocolate, hemp honey, and hemp pesto are also being produced, and much more.