Food Culture and Tradition

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Austrian Food Glossary and Food Terms


Dobosch Torte: many-layered sponge cake, with a chocolate filling, and characteristically topped with caramel-glazed wedges.

Fleischspeisen: meats.

Gabelfruhstuck: literally a “fork meal,” referring to the traditional 10:00 a.m. snack usually of a small meat dish or sausage.

Gemuse: vegetables.

Gulyas: slow-simmered dish of cubed veal in a paprika-onion sauce, occasionally with potatoes and carrots added.

Gulyasuppe: the same as a Gulyas, with a thinner sauce.

Heuriger: name given to new young wine.

Jause: literally “gossip time”; refers to the pastry and coffee taken in the late afternoon. May occasionally be an elaborate spread of small sandwiches, pastries, and tea as well as coffee.

Kaisersemmel: crisp, artfully folded dinner roll, which, when baked, appears to have four sections in its top.

Kase: cheese.

Knodel (see also Spaetzle, Spatzle, Nockerl): dumpling made from flour and water and sometimes with added egg.

Krapfen: fried yeast cakes, similar to doughnuts.

Kuchen: a general name for what is considered “plain” cakes, i.e., pastry or yeast doughs with fruit or nut or cheese filling. .

Linzer Torte: named after the great composer Franz Liszt, this is more a flan than a torte; a rich nut pastry filled with fine raspberry preserves, criss-crossed with more nut pastry, baked, then served with whipped cream.

Mehlspeisen: literally, a dessert made with flour, so many include pancakes, waffles, cakes, pastries, dumplings.

Nockerl: one name for dumplings.

Palatschinken: thin, small pancakes, similar to crepes, usually served rolled and filled with pre-serves, sprinkled with nuts or crumbs and topped with whipped cream.

Sachertorte: moist rich chocolate cake, glazed with chocolate and served with whipped cream. Named after the famed Frau Sacher, owner of the Sacher hotel, known for its chocolate cake.

Schlagobers or “Schlag”: sweetened, flavored (usually with vanilla) whipped cream.

Spaetzli: tiny dumplings of flour and eggs, usually formed with a spoon dipped in broth or water.

Strucken: small, thin pancakes similar to crepes.

Strudel: very thin stretched dough made from flour, sugar, water, oil or butter, filled and rolled with sweet or savory filling. (Similar to Retes (Hungarian) or Phyllo (Greek).

Suss-speisen: literally, desserts with no flour, e.g., fruits, puddings, mousses, frozen desserts, gelatin desserts.

Teig: pastry or dough.

Torte: difficult to define, but commonly taken to mean a rich and often layered and filled cake usually made with little or no flour; instead, fine bread crumbs or grated nuts are used. Rich butter icing, chocolate or whipped cream complete it.

Vorspeisen: appetizers or hor d’oeuvres.

Wiener Backhendle: a Viennese specialty of egg-dipped, crumbed fried chicken pieces which are then finished by oven baking.

Wienerbrot: a Scandinavian term literally meaning Viennese bread, but which actually refers to pastries made from puff paste. (Known elsewhere as Danish pastry!)

Wiener Schnitzel: perhaps the most famous Viennese specialty; large thin (pounded) scallops of veal, egged and crumbed and crisply fried. The best are so thin and large, they literally bend over the edge of the plate.

Wurstel: refers to any one (or two) of a variety of spiced or bland sausages, large and small. Used some-times as a term of endearment. In Austria, why not?

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