I love food. I’m not a foodie, but being a vegetarian I am fussy. One of my favourite things about home is my dads allotment, with fresh grown strawberries, raspberries, onions, potatoes, carrots, courgettes etc. Homegrown food tastes so much better than supermarket food. I find vegetables from all the shops from Waitrose to Aldi and local farm shops all taste like poor relations compared to dads. Mainly because growing methods tend to reduce flavour in favour of large quick growth (yes even in the organic sector), something dad doesn’t have to worry about. I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a good cry with a shop bought onion, they are so pumped full of water to get them to the right size that you lose the beautiful depth of flavour an onion has.
I assumed Austria would be the same. I am delightfully wrong. Austria is very nationalistic. For example, a lot of wine is produced locally, and while you can buy a Sauvignon Blanc, there is relatively little of it about in favour of the local Gruener Veltliner. Austrian wine for Austrian people.
Their farmed goods are no different. As I wander around the supermarket Austrian produce proudly displays the national flag on their packaging, in the same way we have ‘Made in Britain’ on UK goods. What is different is that each of these goods hs a little map with an area of Austria highlighted to show just which part of Austria it comes from, so you can tell just how far your food has travelled. They really love local here. So as a your typical tree hugging veggie I love knowing the food miles of my food. But my favourite bit is the flavour. The growing climate is much better here, with high temperatures and plenty of rain making it easier for farmers to grow good food. I have regular crying sessions while cutting onions, my carrots are bursting with flavour, tomatoes actually taste like tomatoes, and the local strawberries are amazing, I think they were almost better than dads, although as a whole punnet lasted mere minutes I may have to go back a recheck!
So whilst traditional Austrian cuisine may not be veggie friendly, the depth of flavour of the local grown produce has provided a culinary delight all of its own and makes me miss my mums home cooking slightly less!