Vienna’s courage

Austria presents its pavilion for the World Fair. With protagonists and dishes from its most innovative cuisine

17-10-2014
Artic char cooked at low temperature in cedar wood

Artic char cooked at low temperature in cedar wood with a raspberry vinegar sauce by Helmut Rachinger, chef at restaurant Mühltalhof in Neufelden. This is one of the dishes we will find in the Austrian pavilion of the Expo in Milan. For the World Fair, Vienna decided to bet on the country’s most innovative chefs, an example one should follow

The countdown for Expo 2015 is getting a brighter and brighter red – the 1st of May 2015 is round the corner. Therefore, previews on the content and projects that the various national delegations will present at the World Fair start to blossom. Austria called for a press conference on which we report with pleasure because the gastronomic element is essential.

Austrian chefs united to revise the European law on seeds, which penalises small farmers in favour of multinationals
Austrian chefs united to revise the European law on seeds, which penalises small farmers in favour of multinationals
In summary, the white-red delegation has conceived a pavilion in which the so called Air Bar (Luftbar) will stand out, a place that will give value to one of the country’s resources and prides, namely oxygen, a chemical element that is well known to the 3 million Italians who every year cross the Brennero or Tarvisio borders to give some rest to their lungs too. The bar will be powered with solar energy and built with 100% sustainable materials. On the counter we will find small snacks with a view of the forest and in the glasses tap water, which will be deprived of any possible impurity.

The most interesting aspect in this project is that the finger-food to be served(sold at 2 to 5 euros) will have nothing to do with wiener schnitzel, knodel or Sacher torte, that is to say the Austrian equivalent of our own pasta-pizza-lasagne triptych. Instead, we will find morsels of Bread made with a flour of spruce pine bark with a butter made with the tops of the same tree. Artic char and trout cooked on spot in larch wood with a sour sauce made with raspberry vinegar. Potatoes cooked and marinated in beeswax for 18 hours. Forest honey ice creams with cranberry cream and dark chocolate.

Wild pine croissant at the press conference that took place at Steirereck in Vienna, 16th restaurant in the World's50Best

Wild pine croissant at the press conference that took place at Steirereck in Vienna, 16th restaurant in the World's50Best

All these things will not be cooked by the big Gasthaus or Heurigen chefs, the corny inns from the national tradition, but by chefs who fight every day against the country’s gastronomic conservatism such as Heinz Reitbauer, the unquestionable leader of this new generation of Austrian chefs (his Steirereick inside Vienna’s urban park is at number 16 in the World’s 50Best), Harald Irka of the Saziani Stub’n in Straden, Styria (23 year old), Thomas Dorfer and Tobias Wussler of the Landhaus Backer in Mautern (Lower Austria), Helmut Rachinger of Mühltalhof in Neufelden in the far North and Andreas Döllerer of Döllerer’s Genusswelten near Salzburg.

A selection with important content, the result of a very simple thought: in Europe, at the moment, things aren’t easy for anyone, including Austria. So why should we persevere in giving an old image of ourselves, remaining tied to old stereotypes? It is clear that some clichés have made their course and have an increasingly lower impact. In Milan it will be best to attract perhaps fewer people but certainly more interested in what they are eating, and more aware of the importance of daring after remaining still for decades.

A message assertively amplified by chefs who are more united than their colleagues this side of the Alps. With unfanciful activities such as that of the Koch Campus, an association which, among other things, fights against the ban for the sales of traditional seeds. A trick which, according to an old European law that was never updated, allows the exchange of seeds only among multinationals, banning their sale among small framers. A crusade in which even Slow Food is committed in the frontline, which should deserve more attention than the one that public opinion reserves to it today.


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Zanattamente buono

Gabriele Zanatta’s opinion: on establishments, chefs and trends in Italy and the world