Wednesday, 4 June 2008


Cakes aside, I have never really thought of Vienna as a foodie destination. As a landlocked country Austria doesn’t have the best access to the freshest sea fish, and it isn’t really known for a particular breed of cattle or type of vegetable. Think Austria, think schnitzel, and to be honest most Wiener schnitzel is dry and very bland.

It was a really exciting surprise then to find the Naschmarkt in the heart of Vienna, a food market stretching over a kilometre in length. Now I’ve been to Borough, to the Boqueria in Barcelona and Paddy’s market in Sydney, but none of them got me as excited as the Naschmarkt. A walk down the narrow lane that runs between the stalls and you realise just how multi-cultural Vienna is. Its geographical position at the frontier of western and eastern Europe, and the influence of its muslim occupation during the years of the Ottoman empire are all still in evidence in the products on sale. Added to the Turkish and Slavic traders are stalls of Greek produce, oriental shops, Indian stalls – you really can buy anything here, from mangosteens to white asparagus, baklava, and pink salt.

Sweet things

Spicy things

Stuffed things

Asparagus things

Really weird things

The market is divided into two long lanes. Along the one side you have traders, along the other you have cafes and restaurants. Some are selling sushi, others bistro fare and everywhere in the Saturday sun people are sitting and chatting and soaking up the ambience. It’s buzzy but calm, the lanes are narrow but you don’t feel pulled along by a tide of people like you do at Borough. Traders call out to you to try a stuffed cherry tomato or a piece of pastry. I loved it and I wished it was on my doorstep. Ultravox clearly never visited the Naschmarkt. This means everything to me, oh Vienna!


Trig said...

I never thought of Austria as a gastronomic nation. But then I never thought of it as a footballing nation, either.

Anonymous said...

I think the Austrians are keeping their gastronomic prowess a secret (i understand they like underground secrets).
There are some really good red and white wines grown on the surrounding hills (Wienerwald) to go with it all, great combination with the Central European/Balkan/Turkish/Oriental influenced cuisine.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

I'd certainly have expected the sweet things, but not all the rest! Interesting.