Austrian Food: What Food To Try at The Christmas Markets in Austria
If you are a food lover like me, one of the best parts of traveling is trying new cuisines around the world. Regardless of which city you’re visiting, there are some must-try foods in Austria that you simply have to taste. Today I’m going to answer your question about what food to try in Austria at the Christmas Markets and also mention some of the best cafes in Vienna.
I’ve tried almost all of these dishes myself and they are simply a must-try!
If you want to learn more tips about visiting Austria, click here to read my blog post on the most important tips.
What to eat in Austria?
Apfelstrudel – a traditional Viennese pastry made from apple, flour, oil, and butter. This is a delicious dessert or afternoon snack to try in Vienna. Even though the apple kind is the most popular one in Austria, I would highly recommend you trying other kinds as well. The one that I tried with plums and poppy seeds (which sounded very strange to me at first as well) became my favorite one. You never know until you try it!
Sacher Torte – one of the most famous Viennese dishes. This chocolate cake was invented by Franz Sacher in Austria. It was originally made in 1832 for Prince Metternich in Vienna. It usually contains apricot jam and has a rich chocolate icing.
Topfenstrudel – As you can see, pastry desserts are incredibly popular in Austria, and strudels are definitely the most popular of them all. This strudel is filled with soft and slightly sweetened quark cheese. Sometimes peaches, raisins, or apricots are added to the mixture, and the dish is flavored with lemon or vanilla. It is very light and airy. I would recommend checking out this dish at Café Central in Vienna, as it was absolutely delicious there!
Kaiserschmarrn – Schmarrn are pancakes served cut in small pieces. They are made in sweet or savory varieties, however, the kaiserschmarrn is particularly tasty as it’s made with rum, raisins, and sugar. I tried both apple and berry jam, and both flavors were delicious. If you’re traveling in December at Christmas time, you will find it at one of the Christmas Markets for sure.
Knödel – Knödels are boiled dumplings that are found throughout Central and Eastern European countries. They are served in many sweet and savory varieties. I honestly loved them both, maybe the sweet version a little bit more.
Trzesniewski sandwiches – The perfect choice for lunch on the go are these bite-sized sandwiches. They are made with little pieces of rye bread and topped with a variety of different ingredients. They are often served for a morning snack or with a small beer.
Anna’s torte – another delicious chocolate cake. This chocolate nougat cake can be found at Demel Café in Vienna, and it was one of my favorite cakes I tried in the city!
Winterkuss – another dish for you to try at Café Central, this is a puff pastry made with plum and cinnamon cream. If you’re looking for something sweet that’s not as heavy as some of the tortes, this is a great option. It was a little bit hard to eat but so delicious.
Wiener Schnitzel – a classic Austrian entrée. This is a thin, breaded cut of veal (although other meats are sometimes used). It is one of the national dishes of Austria, and a must-try for any first time visitor.
Würstel Sausage – A Viennese sausage, which is a thin parboiled sausage that’s traditionally made of pork and beef and cased in sheep’s intestine. It’s then smoked at a low temperature before being served. Since I don’t eat meat, I didn’t try it myself but I found a vegan version on one of the Christmas Markets in Salzburg.
Goulash – If you’re looking for a hearty, warming dish in winter, I’d recommend a bowl of Goulash. This very thick soup is made with meat and vegetables and is seasoned with paprika and other spices. I tried a very delicious vegan version served with amazing bread dumplings in a restaurant called Landia in Vienna. Even though the service was very slow I highly recommend it.
Leberkase sandwich – Found throughout Austria, south Germany, and parts of Switzerland, this is quite similar to bologna sausage. It’s made of pork, bacon, and corned beef, which are grind and cooked together in a bread pan until it has a crust that is brown and crunchy.
Maroni – If you’re looking for a snack on the go, these roasted chestnuts are a good option. They are served in a paper tube and are available all over the cities of Austria during the Christmas season. They are nothing special, just roasted chestnuts but so tasty, especially eating them warm on a cold winter day.
Schaumrolle – Another delicious pastry option that is sold all over Christmas Markets. It is a tube-shaped pastry that is filled with whipped cream or meringue. It’s a very yummy sweet dessert and can be different flavors.
Langos – This traditional Hungarian dish is a deep-fried dough, very similar to a flatbread. I again found it on one of the Christmas Markets and didn’t want to try at first as I didn’t see anything special about it. Oh, was I wrong. It’s the best snack when served warm and is very filling.
Lebkuchen –This is the German or Austrian version of a gingerbread cookie, and you’ll find them at all the Christmas markets.
Punch / Gluhwein / Mozart punch – all of these drinks are a must-try when in Austria. There is nothing else like drinking warm punch or hot wine enjoy the atmosphere and watching people go by at the Christmas market. Mozart punch is simply eggnog.
Krapfen (Farmer’s Doughnuts) – simply put this is just a regular deep-fried donut but way bigger in size. One-piece will cost you around 4 euros and you’ll be able to find it at any Christmas market.
Trdelnik (Chimney cake) – Hungarian dish, very popular during Christmas time. It’s made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, grilled, and topped with sugar. Make sure you try it in a popular place where it’s served all the time, so you can try it warm. Otherwise, it’s not going to be that good.
Kartoffelpuffer – a MUST-TRY, like I guess everything on this list. It’s a very simple potato pancake, deep-fried and sprinkled with some salt, but it’s very delicious, especially if it’s warm. The one at the Rathausplatz Christmas Market in Vienna was the best.
Kasespatzle – it’s a street version of mac & cheese that you can find in Austria. I tried two versions one with tomato sauce and one with fried onion and both of them were delicious. Highly recommend!
Germknodel mit Vanillesauce und Mohn – another one of my favorites. It’s a fluffy yeast dough dumpling, filled with plum jam, and served with vanilla sauce and poppy seeds on top. I know it might sound strange but believe me it’s very tasty, especially when it’s served warm. Also, in some places, it might be served in a more traditional way with melted butter.
Kiahl (Knieküchle) – another not so healthy but very tasty option. It’s a traditional German fried dough pastry which you’ll be able to find on all Christmas Markets. It’s usually served either with sweet berry jam or with sauerkraut. I decided to try something different and got the one with sauerkraut. It was a great combination.
And last but certainly not least
Mohnnudeln – thick noodles made out of potato dough, similar to German Schupfnudeln. Served with poppy seeds, powdered sugar and apple sauce on top. Believe me if it’s on this list, you have to try it.
Which Cafes should I visit in Vienna?
Now that you’ve heard about all the yummy Austrian food that’s available, I’m sure you’re wondering what the best places to get some coffee and desserts are. If you are visiting Vienna, you will be spoilt for choice with the cafes available to visit.
Café Landtmann – since opening in 1873, this Viennese coffee house and restaurant is a very sophisticated traditional option to visit in the city.
Naschmarkt – This is Vienna’s most popular market, and has 120 different stands and restaurants for you to browse and enjoy. With a variety of global cuisines, this is a social venue for friends and families to meet. Also, don’t miss the Saturday Flea Market!
Café Sacher – producing a whopping 360,000 tortes each year, enjoy a cup of Viennese specialty coffee at this wonderful café. You’ll experience a real taste of the coffeehouse culture of the city here. It’s the only place where you can try the original Sacher Torte.
Café Central – this traditional Viennese café is located in the Innere Stadt first district. It’s a popular coffeehouse and has a place in literary history. It was first opened in 1876, and many Viennese intellectuals have held meetings here over the years.
Café Mozart – A very popular café with musicians from the nearby opera house, it’s known as the location where Graham Greene wrote The Third Man. Offering traditional Viennese coffees and sweets, this is a welcoming and lovely café to relax in after a busy day of sightseeing.
Demel Café – known for their incredible collection of cakes, if you have a sweet tooth, this is one of the best places for you to visit in the city!
Christmas Markets – as I’m sure you already understood, if you’re visiting Austria in December, don’t forget to try as many local dishes as possible at the many different Christmas Markets throughout the city. It will be cheaper and more fun that way.
One of the highlights of my trip to Austria was getting to try their amazing food delicacies. Whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer something more savory, there is something for everyone. As you can see, there’s a lot of snacking to be done on a short trip, so make sure you plan out some great café stops in your touring itinerary! What are you most looking forward to trying in Austria? Let me know in the comments below.