Thursday, 16 December 2010

Holiday in Salzburg

Salzburg was our first holiday together so it only seemed right to revisit on our post wedding holiday (nope – still can’t type that word!), and what better time of year to visit than in the run up to Christmas?

Salzburg, like much of continental Europe, really goes to town in the run up to Christmas and every square had its own Christmas market. It was lovely to see wooden items made by craftsmen and hand painted rather than the mass produced plastic tat we’re so used to.

It was also nice to come across a new Christmas legend...well, new to us. In the UK you never hear mention of Krampus but he’s the sidekick to St Nicholas and punishes the children who have been naughty. We were lucky enough to be in town on his special night (5th December) and see him roaming the streets – he makes quite a lot of noise! Here are two Krampusses (Krampi?) and a suitably scared tourist:

Consequently Krampus features heavily in Christmas eats; here he is as a cutesy chocolate:

A slightly more fearsome chocolate:

A mean looking breakfast bread (don’t worry – I defeated him with my twin attack of butter and nutella):

And a rather too healthy looking incarnation made from dried fruit (although maybe for some people golden raisins are scarier than chains!):

But it’s not all Krampus. Thankfully, there are schneeballe (snowballs) to enjoy. I’d never seen or heard of these before – they are fried biscuits which are then covered in thick chocolate and other flavours. Here’s the stall selling them:

Just to put it into scale how enormous these beauties are, here’s our one after we tried to take a bite from it (I now know how a hamster feels when given a new gnaw-stick!):

After such exertions it’s likely you’ll need a drink. There are many options – will you choose punch?

Or perhaps a nip of very strong liqueur?

Or maybe a hot chocolate?

During life, one learns that there are set answers to certain questions – a good one being “does this item of clothing make me look fat?”. The correct answer – of course – is always “no”. Another example would be “would you like chips with that?”, “yes”. I have a new question to add to the list and it’s this: when ordering a hot chocolate in Austria and you’re asked if you’d like it “mit schlag” the answer is always yes, as then you will receive it with about three inches of whipped cream on top!

This example from the Hotel Sacher scores extra points for coming with a generous measure of rum:

What can one say about the divine Cafe Sacher, located within the famous Hotel Sacher? Sometimes you hear about celebrities living in hotels and all I can say is that Hotel Sacher would be my choice, if only for the cafe! I may well need to be winched out of the place, should I stay there for a prolonged period, but so be it! It has an understated elegance:

This visit, I had one of the best cakes I’ve ever eaten in my life...and I don’t make such a claim lightly (in fact, I make it a few pounds heavier!). It was called “maronischnitte” which translates as chestnut slice. Such a simple name for a work of art:

Mr CC chose the chocolate truffle cake:

And here is a selection of all the cakes I will work my way through when I a) become a celebrity and b) live at the Hotel Sacher:

During out last visit we tried the famous Salzburger Nockerl and this time we splashed out and had it in one of Salzburg’s swankier restaurants – The Golden Hirsch. It blew the last one we ate out of the water! This one omitted the fruit and included vanilla. The waiter asked us if we wanted the beginner’s version or the regular. It seems that the beginner’s version only has three peaks. Guess which we opted for?

It was light as air and creamy with a thin sugary crust. Just looking at this photo makes me drool:

But I am not the hero you think. Whereas Mr CC managed both his peaks comfortably I admitted defeat. As being beaten by food is such a rare occurrence for me, I photographed it...oh the shame:

Even the street food was top quality. I bought, from one of the stalls, Florentine balls and chocolate truffles. Sinking your teeth into the Florentine balls was heavenly – thick layers of sticky sliced almonds!

The chocolate pyramid contained the richest, thickest truffle:

The one mis-fire of the trip was Esterhazy cake. It looked beautiful....

...but was actually a little dry and heavy going. As it was the first time we’d ever had it I don’t know whether we had a bad one or it’s just meant to be like that.

Finally, just to prove that we didn’t live on cake, dessert and chocolate (although it does sound an appealing diet) here is the most famous savoury Austrian dish of all – the Weiner Schnitzel, although this was pork rather than veal:

Mr CC and I both love Salzburg – the food, the scenery, the lovely friendly people, the Christmas cheer. What a perfect place to get into the Christmas spirit!


Please Do Not Feed The Animals. said...

Steve and I spent a day in Salzburg when travelling as students. We obviously couldn't afford to sample much of the food or drink. This post has made me want to go back and sample it properly. Never heard of Krampus either - pretty scary-looking!! Th threat that Santa won't leave any presents seems to be quite enough here without and evil krampus!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

We quickly saw Salzburg in 2005 close to Christmas time. You, however, have clearly had a greater oppurtunity to discover its Christmas festivity! What beautiful photos.

Victoria said...

CC...what a lovely trip!! and the perfect time to go too!!! happy holidays! :)

Cakelaw said...

I am so envious - it all looks marvellous, and I have very fond memories of my 2 days in Salzburg.

coco cooks said...

I love Austria but have yet to get to Salzburg. What a wonderfuly way to spend the hoildays.