Category Archives: Wine, Beer & Food

Vienna, a city of oases with history


Wandering through Vienna’s streets it’s always worth keeping eye open for courtyards and passageways in which nestle shops, restaurants and galleries. Be warned they are not always obvious to the uninitiated despite the efforts of entrepreneurs to attract your attention with strategically placed signs. Part of the problem can be that despite the signs it’s not always obvious whether a doorway is a private or public entrance. Moreover, Vienna streets have so many signs directing you to shops or indicating offices and alike that after a while you tend to filter them out, the way we manage to not quite watch the TV commercials.

Many a Vienna passageway or courtyard provides a wonderful setting for restaurant, bar, or heurigen, a peaceful oasis in which to drink, eat and chat. Others are often home to interesting independent shops. If you do discover or regularly frequent such a location it’s always worth asking yourself about the history of the build(s) which surround you.

A favourite location of mine forms a useful short cut from the Vienna English Theatre and Veganista (the Vegan ice cream shop). It also has a surprising history.

Despite housing galleries, shops, restaurants, offices, apartments and flats (with assorted business signs on the main streets) the passageway linking Lerchenfelderstraße with Neustiftgasse is one of those locations that people seem to often miss. More than once lifelong residents of Vienna have been surprised when I’ve suggested we take this particular short cut. It was a the result of such surprise – and over a rather delicious vegan ice cream standing across the road looking at the buildings Neustiftgasse entrance – that we began to wonder about the buildings history. The name chosen for one of the restaurants, Monastiri, stimulated the debate and after a quick search on the internet we were deep in conversation about the former monastery built in 1847.

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So next time you find yourself walking down a Vienna street watch out for one of those oasis with a history.

 

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Austrian Red Wine – a few more recommendations


Some of my friends have introduced me to two more enjoyable wines in recent weeks. The first was a rather nice 2010 Merlot from the Winery of the Familie Hahn.

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http://www.weinguthahn.at/hauptseite.html

The second introduction was also a 2010 but this time the Schüttenberg Zweigelt from Weingut Grassl whose vineyards are located in the Carnuntum area which is approximately halfway between Vienna and Bratislava.

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http://www.weingut-grassl.com/

I’ll be looking to add these new friends to my wine rack next time I restock. Off course when it comes to buying my next batch of wines I’ll also be heading for another Winery in the Carnuntum area (it’s amongst my favourite in the whole country) that of Gerhard Pimpel .

If you do fancy taking a trip to the Carnuntum area it’s always a good plan to combine the wine with a little history of the area. In this case a visit to the archaeological reconstructions on the site of the Ancient Roman city of Carnuntum.

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For some of the best pizzas (and more) in Vienna….


….I’d recommend heading for La Delizia in the city’s vibrant 8th district.

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I’ve eaten here a number of times in the last year or so and would have done more often but this lovely, small restaurant is popular, so reserving a table in advance is the safest way to guarantee sampling their excellent dishes.

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One day I’m going to ask about the keys on the wall?

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La Delizia, Florianigasse 19, 1080, Wein

http://www.la-delizia.net/adresse.html

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A playground for young and old in summer or winter


Back in February I blogged about my day around the Old Danube area of Vienna, enjoying the chance to walk on the frozen waters and watching others ice skating, skiing, practicing ice hockey and generally making the most of this outdoor winter playground.

On Sunday, with the sun shining down on a glorious Viennese day, I was back once again to take pleasure in some of the summer fun available in Vienna’s water world.

One advantage of this area is that there is a good scattering of restaurant around the water’s edge and our first port of call was Zur Alten Kaisermühle….

A lovely place to sit on a sunny afternoon, you can relax while in the distance watching others swimming, sailing, fishing, boating and generally mucking about on the water. Helpful, friendly staff added to the agreeable environment. Alas if you are a vegetarian (such as me) then the menu is very limited, however the meat eaters in my party reported that the flesh was good…..

After lunch we took as stroll. Whether from the water’s edge or from the vantage point of a bridge it was easy to see the attraction of the water’s to anglers, they are simply teeming with fish….

There are a variety of options for spending time on the water but on this occasion we decided to hire a paddle boat, which in the hot sun turned out to be a little more energetic than expected but great entertainment for my nine year old daughter.

Our journey by paddle boat was not without some delay and obstruction when one of the local swans decided to investigate our craft and refused to allow us to pass….

Some parts of the water’s edge provide open access to the public. Others are occupied by boating or swimming areas, as well as restaurants and other facilities. But also occupying space around the Old Danube are small houses with petite gardens and/or piers for mooring boats…….

The lure of the paddle boat was not for everyone last Sunday but luckily on the Old Danube there are a wide range of options….

As we departed I was reminded that further down this waterway I had watched dragon boat racing last June – something I included in this blog post

Useful link: http://www.wien.info/en/sightseeing/green-vienna/summer-at-old-danube

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Filed under Activities for kids, Environment, Sports, Vienna Life, Wine, Beer & Food

Another red for the list


We had another every enjoyable Christmas day and evening entertaining friends. One of our guests added to the festivities by bringing along a rather nice bottle of Heinrich Red 2009. It’s a blend of Zweigelt, Blaufrankisch, St Laurent grapes. This is the second time this month I’ve encountered the Heinrich Red which has now definitively made it onto my list of recommended Austrian red wines.

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Images of a Vienna vineyard in November sunshine


We just had to take advantage of the November sunshine last Sunday and take a stroll through one of the 19th district vineyards:

 

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Wine and hailstones


A friend of mine recently returned from a week’s hiking in the Steiermark. They brought back the news that this year’s grape crop is particularly good and that the wine it will provide next year will be of exceptionally high quality and quality (as good as 2003).

So this is all good news for the local wine producers?

Well for most a very definite yes.  But alas for a few an event in recent weeks has deprived them of the chance to benefit from this bounty. It seems that there was a long narrow weather corridor across Steiermark which produced an
intensive hail storm and the hailstones destroyed most of the grapes in their path. This would be a sad story in any year for those affected but when it occurs in an exceptional growing year I think this would drive me crazy.

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