Sunday, December 12, 2010

Non-carnivores menu please

Austrian Cuisine

Austrian cuisine is a style of cuisine composed of influences from Italy, Hungary and Germany.

With temperatures of -12 degrees, we enjoyed hiding away in a nice warm pub for goulash, sausages, sauerkraut, dumplings, soup with pancake strips, a few mounds of meat and potato. Children gorged on meat, meat and more meat. At no stage did I wear a lederhosen or dance to an 'Ompah Lumpa' band, (call me old, call me sober?) But I still managed to enjoy...

Drinking mulled wine in the streets of the Christmas Markets seemed to be customary. Everyone stood around with their mugs warming their hands and allowing the steam to defrost their cheeks and noses. On our second day, we decided to give it a go. We anticipated a five minute window for relaxing and reflection by the river as the children rested in the pram. What I received was crushed alcohol cloves, (not really my cup of tea, or shall I say not really my cup of mulled wine). I utilised the mug as my body warmer for a while, then I inconspicuously tipped it out in the snow at my feet. Now I see the wine was red. I have just reproduced a pile of snow road kill at my feet- not so inconspicuous!

Munich cuisine

Apparently Munich's cuisine differed somewhat from the everyday cuisine of the rural people of Germany, (especially by the greater consumption of meat). In the city, more people could afford beef, and on festival days, roast veal was preferred. From 1840 to 1841, with Munich having a population of about 83,000 citizens, a total of 76,979 calves were slaughtered, statically approximately one calf per citizen. My husband would of been extremely hungry, "May I have a green salad with my full calf please?" In the 19th century, potato's were also accepted as a part of Bavarian cuisine, but they could still not replace the popularity of dampfnudel, (steamed white bread roll). Veal is predominate on the menus, and pork also dominates. Welcome to the world of meat and potato!

My children were in their element eating sausages for our entire stay and using pretzels as frisbees. I enjoyed authentic schnitzel (pork and veal), goulash, sauerkraut, various sausage, pig in all forms, potato; oh and did I mention meat?

Liechtenstein Cuisine

The cuisines of Liechtenstein have developed over the years with the influence of the neighboring countries. It is now considered as a country having one of the most diverse cuisines in the world. Cuisines in Liechtenstein are sure to satisfy international palettes, it is here where I had my favourite meal of the entire trip. The restaurant boasted to serve food from the page of Liechtenstein with a dash of Italy.

We feasted on soup, (Barley and Beef broth), antipasto platter, Mamma's home made gnocchi (tomato and mozzarella), veal and venison, with side of you guessed it... potato. The children loved Mamma's home made pesto gnocchi, and son as always, was looking for more!

Liechtenstein is also known for producing its own wine. Red wine is most famous and it is a common practice here to have glass of red wine along with your food, (or maybe I just made that last fact up to satisfy my conscience). There are a number of wine making estuaries in Liechtenstein

Switzerland Cuisine
Alright; so this is kind of a cheat to say that this meal was 'Swiss'. We stopped off at a place called San Bernardino in Switzerland for lunch on our way back to reality, (home). It is a mountainous village in the canton of Graub├╣nden in Switzerland. It is the southern entry point to the San Bernardino tunnel and the side of the roads were piled high with fresh snow. This was so exciting for me, as I had only seen something similar in a sand dune.

In winter, apparently San Bernardino becomes a winter sports haven. The ski area goes up to 2500 m, with eight lifts and 40 km of marked ski runs, offering an impressive view of the surrounding mountains. By my observation, early December, ski season was definitely due to commence. Two small lifts near the centre of the village cater for children, while there are 24 km of track round the village and Isola Lake for cross-country skiing. Winter walkers will find 14 km of prepared footpaths, (14km walking in the snow, are they crazy?) This extreme sport of skiing is seeming more and more intimidating to me as the days get colder.

Blah, blah, blah, on to the food... As I said, I may be cheating a little here regarding the cuisine. Now, south of the Alps, you are in Italian-speaking parts, and we found this featuring particularly heavily in the menu options. (Where did my meat and potato go???) Our meal consisted of 3 shared 'Italian dishes'; bolognese gnocchi, butter and sage fagotinni and tomato based tortellini. (Including of course a basket of bread and bowl of cheese, (formaggio), but that goes with out saying by now.) As this was the end to my holiday, of my holiday off gluten and wheat free, (just a trial, what are you crazy I live in Italy!!!), these meals were consumed pretty swiftly, with pure fear that someone would consume more than their fair share.
The holiday has ended... plates were literally licked clean... (and a whole lot of carbohydrates were absorbed; oh how I love food)... As we left we left our footprints in the snow, not quite as permanent as concrete but satisfying enough for us.

We slipped and slided back to the car over an icy car park, heading towards the real world. My interpretation of culture; views, people, atmosphere, mood, food... then rate your happiness from 1 to 10, (and also on behalf of your family). I love culture; this trip passed the test, definite 8.

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