Note: Before we get started, why does the title say kind of like a local??? Easy... we're vegetarians and I'm fairly confident in declaring that most of the locals in Austria are not. But I digress...
There's nothing better than making new friends abroad and then visiting them in their home country. Except maybe visiting them at their parents' house where their mom fills you full of all sorts of delicious local foods. And then teaches you how to make them.
That's exactly what happened to us. As we've mentioned before, we met Jutta (from Austria) and Pedro (from Argentina) while we were diving in Utila
, Honduras. We all did our divemaster's
together. We left Utila at the end of January and kept in touch through Facebook... we actually missed a reunion with Jutta in Antigua, Guatemala by about 12 hours in April.
So when we ended up booking an apartment in Austria, Jutta's home country, there was no question about us getting together. We hopped on the train in Loosdorf and, 5 hours and 3 trains later (we were too cheap for the fast, direct train), we were in Salzburg, hugging Jutta and Pedro.
Salzburg Train Station
Jutta showed us in and around her home city, while we sampled some of the obvious local fare... Austrian beer, Radlers, and Mozartkugeln (chocolate balls named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart).
The view's not so shabby from this biergarten
We looked into diving together here at St. Wolfgang (about 30 minutes from Salzburg), but decided that this lake was probably a place where you can see more above the waterline than below it
She took us to one of her favourite restaurants at the top of the mountain, and even managed to think of a delicious vegetarian friendly meal to order for us (not an easy task in the meat-rich cuisine of Austria). We followed up the meal with Austrian schnapps, which you "simply must have" after dinner out.
A little post-schnapps conversation
The meal was great, but it was just the start of our introduction to Austrian food. Jutta's mom (a professional cook), made us a delicious lunch of knudeln with mushroom sauce the following day and proceeded to cook and then recook (with us helping and jotting down the recipes) some fantastic desserts. Even though she didn't speak any English and we didn't speak any German, the language of food got us past the communication barrier.
Learning to make the dough for apfelstrudel - this is the most important part. Apparently having a recipe only goes so far... you need to understand how the dough should feel.
The finished product
Sachertorte - We were sworn to secrecy on this one... we've got the recipe, but you can't have it!
There's no better way to experience a culture's food than to have a local guide. Thanks Jutta! And thanks Jutta's mom for the food and the cooking classes... we'll send you a postcard next time we attempt the strudel!