Austrian food, specifically Tirolean is delicious! Tirol is a farming region, and back in the day was not a very wealthy one. So, food that is popular today is so because of a long history of using what was available. Milk, cheese, wheat and meat are frequent features in dishes I eat these days. There’s something really lovely about knowing that what you are eating is local, unprocessed and that it is from a people who were creative and resourceful enough to use every little bit of everything little thing that they produced. Knödels…spaetzle…sauerkraut….and fleischkäse!
When I first met Boots in Spain, he talked constantly about fleischkäse, which I had never heard of before. But, on my first visit to Austria in October I was introduced to it, and now upon moving here it’s something we have at least once a week. What is it you ask? Well, it’s a sort-of ‘meatloaf’ according to Wikipedia – finely ground bits of different kinds of meat that are mixed together and then baked in a loaf-shaped dish. When done, it is sliced and usually served on semmel (a lovely, white bread roll) with mustard and pickles. And you can buy it anywhere – supermarkets, delis, gas stations, you name it.
Well, a few weeks ago, and many fleischkäse semmels eaten, we decided to watch ‘Indien’ one night – a beautiful, funny and heartbreaking Austrian film from 1993. (side note: This movie is So. Very. Worth. Watching) The movie is in German, with English subtitles and in one scene they are talking about fleischkäse. Boots didn’t think that there was an English translation for the word, so I was very surprised when ‘SPAM’ came across the bottom of the screen. Yup, spam. This amazing, delicious, affordable food that I had heard about for months and have been eating for a few months more turns out to be Austria’s answer to spam.
We asked my mom to send us a tin of proper British spam to compare, but have yet gotten up the nerve to actually do a comparison. Nervous that it’s going to be disgusting, but also nervous that perhaps these two ‘delicacies’ are actually the same in which case, I’ll never be able to look at fleischkäse the same way again!
But regardless, it is delicious – so, if you find yourself in Austria, make your way to the nearest gas station and order away!
And now, I leave you with this: