Tag Archives: tradition

Vanillekipferln 2019

23 Dec

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Vanillekipferln. For anyone who has not taken my word for how important Vanillekipferln are to the Viennese at Christmas let me quote a statistic from the Kurier: 71% of Austrians think of Vanillekipferln when they think of Christmas cookies. In Vienna I suspect that percentage is even higher. (I don’t have a sense that Vanillekipferln are quite as central to Christmas in Tirol and Vorarlberg, for example.) 😉

In any case, Merry Christmas to all my readers who celebrate Christmas!

Heuriger (wine taverns or gardens)

11 Oct

How could I miss this? The Wiener Heuriger as an institution was declared “intangible cultural heritage” by UNESCO on Tuesday. Now there’s one cultural institution I’m still supporting regularly. 😁

https://m.facebook.com/oesterreichwein/photos/a.411385460232/10156501926320233/?type=3

At it again

7 Oct

Austria cleaned up at the EuroSkills competition (for people learning trades and crafts) for the fourth time in a row with a total of 21 medals. Russia (a rather larger country than Austria, if I may point that out) came in second with a total of 19. The Russians did have more gold medals (nine to Austria’s four), but still. I’m so glad there are still countries that promote and reward the trades!

“First ice cream of the year?”

6 Apr

I was walking home from the supermarket on this Friday evening. In front of me was what I took to be a little family group–mother on the left, a tow-headed boy about six years old in the middle, and father on the right. The boy was licking with great enthusiasm a large and delicious-looking ice cream cone. His mother watched with pride and pleasure and said, “Das erste Eis heuer?” (“First ice cream of the year?”)

The German-language students among you may think “‘Heuer’? What’s ‘heuer’?” “Heuer” is Austrian dialect for “dieses Jahr” or “this year”. That tiny scene made me happy–that I have learned the language to the level where I know that immediately and that I live in a country that still respects the seasons (at least in some things). It is possible to get ice cream at the supermarket in winter, but if you want ice cream parlor ice cream you have to wait. The traditional places are closed from October to March. (They used to be turned into fur coat stores in the winter, but now, it seems, even the Viennese are not buying enough fur coats to keep them in business.)

You can imagine under these circumstances that the first ice cream of the year becomes an event.

Heringschmaus

10 Feb

“Heringschmaus” (one contributor to the online dictionary at leo.org suggested “herring delight” as a translation) is a traditional feast on Ash Wednesday. Now, if that sounds contradictory to you, then you are not alone. I come from the Protestant tradition, where there was certainly no feasting on Ash Wednesday. It was a day of great solemnity and deprivation, even though when I was a child we didn’t celebrate anything like Carnival so had nothing to recover from or make up for.

In the Austrian context–one of moderation in all things, even moderation–Heringschmaus makes sense, though. It goes along with the dearly held belief, in the meantime supported in some ways by medical studies, that eating “sour” things like pickles helps alleviate the symptoms of a (Mardi Gras) hangover. (The herring in this case is pickled and is eaten with pickled vegetables like beets and cabbage.) It also complies with the Catholic idea that eating fish is somehow penance (no meat).

What to do this year when Ash Wednesday coincides with Valentine’s Day? The Kurier is suggesting Heringschmaus by candlelight. Just thought I’d pass that tip along. 😉

NYTimes: Gowns, Wurst and Protesters: It’s Ball Season in Vienna

9 Feb

We made the New York Times! (Doesn’t happen all that often.)

Gowns, Wurst and Protesters: It’s Ball Season in Vienna https://nyti.ms/2GL8Fkl

Vanillekipferln

3 Dec

It’s that time of year again. The Kurier has printed a recipe for Vanillekipferln (an essential and quintessential Viennese Advent and Christmas cookie) with the comment that there are probably as many recipes as there are “Omas” (grandmothers). Here is their version this year. 

You will need:

250 gms of flour

210 gms  of (cold) butter

100 gms ground  almonds

70 gms of sugar

salt

4 – 5 tablespoons of powdered sugar

one packet of vanilla sugar.

(1) Mix the flour, almonds, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Cut the cold butter into pieces and knead it quickly into the flour mixture. Wrap the dough in foil and cool for at least 30 minutes.

(2) Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper, turn the oven on to 180  degrees C. Knead the dough one more time. Cut about 1/3  off and put the rest back into a cool place.

(3) Shape the dough into a roll with a diameter of about 5 cm. Cut the roll into slices of about 1 cm each. Out of each slice roll the dough between the palms of your hands until it is 6 – 8 cm long. Bend the dough into a crescent shape and place on the cookie sheet. Bake the batch for about  15  minutes.

(4) Remove the cookie sheet from the oven, take off the cookies, and let them cool for a few minutes. Mix the powdered sugar with the vanilla sugar and turn the warm Kipferln carefully in the sugar mixture. Put the finished cookies on a plate to cool and then store for a few days in a tin before eating.