Banquets in Burgenland, Austria
In the evening, Alfred Diewald, the Director, took us up to the roof and pointed out landmarks, while filling our glasses – and his own – with the wine that is bottled specially for the hotel.
Burgenland is a flat area bordered by Slovenia, Slovakia and Hungary, plus forests and lakes.
In the evening, we ate in the hotel restaurant, ‘Bienkorb.’ We were just reading the menus when Alfred whisked them all away, saying, ‘No no, I have something better for you!’
We started with a small ham salad, followed by kohlrabi soup with fish croutons placed on a spoon across the bowl, which looked really good.
I love it when I discover a new, simple idea. I’m working on that one!
Next came boiled veal, which I wasn’t looking forward to. I had boiled meat dishes in Germany once and they were horrible! But this was perfect, as though it had been grilled. It was served with mashed potatoes and asparagus.
It really is a good year for asparagus. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted it so full of flavour!
We finished with strawberry tiramisu, and rhubarb cake.
Then out came the schnapps. I usually find it tasteless, but I tried one called Nuts, and I liked that, so I had two!
In the morning we drove to Purbach, which is full of funny little buildings, often with grass growing on the roof. They’re old wine/meat/fruit cellars, below ground level, and a lot of them are still used. But most of them went out of use in the 19th Century as Lake Neusiedl would often flood them.
Fossil is an old cellar that has been turned into a restaurant.
When we saw the menu, we thought that we had to choose something, but they served up everything in lovely dishes, like tapas, so we could taste everything. It was excellent!
After the meal, I went inside, which is down some stone steps and below ground level, and I couldn’t believe how they can produce such a wonderful selection of food in such a tiny kitchen!
This is the menu;
Beetroot carpaccio with horseradish and cream cheese.
Smoked catfish spread, and catfish marinated in tomato-chilli sauce
Beef-tongue aspic with onion and pumpkin seed oil.
This was layered in different colours and looked impressive.
Bacon ‘Spreizenbarth’ with home-made red onion marmalade
Smoked wild boar from Leithaberg
Mixed salad with grilled cheese
Home-made olive-rosemary bread and rye bread.
Deer Gulasch with Rye bread and roast potatoes.
Some of us had cake, and my friend had a Cappuccino which was served in coffee-coloured layers like sand sculptures in a straight glass which was fitted inside a larger curved plastic glass.
We were highly impressed with this, and I’d love to buy some! Can anyone help? The coffee stays hot, but the outside is cold.
In the evening we drove to Der Reisinger am Neufelder See.
Quite honestly, when we arrived, we all looked at each other, wondering why we’d been brought here!
It’s a plain, almost ugly, Communist-looking hotel with modern lettering on the outside.
But when we walked inside, all was forgiven! It overlooks Lake Neufeld and it’s stunning!
We drank local sparkling wine on the terrace and watched the sun go down over the lake, then we retired upstairs to the restaurant.
The food was Nouvelle Cuisine, artistically displayed.
Again, we were served almost everything on the menu in small portions, only choosing the main course.
The starters were set out on a large slate;
Beer-beef aspic and pumpkin seed oil.
Ham roll tubes and mayonnaise
Pike and white garlic pesto.
The soup came in two huge tureens so we could help ourselves, with lots of bread, of course;
Cream of asparagus soup and ricotta tortellini.
Clear beef soup and pancake and liver dumplings.
For the main course we had a choice of
Catfish with asparagus and cumin mashed potato.
Veal and steamed cabbage, curd cheese and pepper dumplings.
I chose the catfish.
To finish, we had Bisquite cake, vanilla and chocolate sauce,
Every course was a work of art.
The next day, we drove to Rust, where storks perch in large nests on the rooftops.
After a walk round the picturesque village, we ate outside in the ‘Wirsthaus im Hofgassl’ courtyard.
The sky was a deep blue, and the clock tower, seen above the roof, announced its presence every 15 minutes. We were surrounded by plants and herbs. A peaceful oasis!
We started with
Beef Carpaccio with spicy mustard cream and parmigiano.
The thinly, sliced meat was so delicate that it could be eaten with a spoon.
Clear beef broth with butter dumplings.
I passed on this as I knew we had more walking to do and I was getting rather full!
Pike perch from Lake Neusiedl with white asparagus and brown mashed potatoes
Medium roasted loin of local deer with creamy celery and poppy seed gnocchi.
I fancied the deer, but with the perch accompaniments. And if you want something, it’s always good to ask. A quality restaurant should be adaptable to cater for the customer’s taste.
And they were. It was no bother at all for them to change the menu!
This restaurant is so good that they make their own bread, and the butter too!
In the evening we dressed up and strolled up the road to watch a Haydn concert in the Esterhazy Palace.
More about that later.
Afterwards, at 9.45pm, we crossed the road and ate in Restaurant Henrici, opposite the former palace.
This old building was originally the palace stables and it’s named after the architect, Benedict Henrici.
The marble mangers still line the walls. The horses must have lived a life of luxury!
Luckily, this was a lighter meal than we’d had so far as it was so late, and my stomach was very grateful!
The starter was ‘Henrici’ Goose liver variations.
Then the main course was Esterhazy roast joint with curd cheese dumpling.
Dessert was Finger-shaped potato dumplings with poppy seed, honey and apple-vanilla cream.
The food was good, the staff were professional and attentive, but we found the new owner a bit fierce!
After breakfast, we had a boat tour across Lake Neusiedl, and stepped ashore at Mole West.
We perched on high stools outside, under cover and ate with our coats on, enjoying the view of the lake, and the atmosphere.
It was hard to choose what to eat as the menu was huge. There were several Lebanese dishes, which are popular now.
I had a selection of mezzes, Babaganoush, hummus, tzadziki, etc with pitta bread and I asked if I could have a small salad with it. I said it must have tomatoes, and the waiter wrote, ‘Extra tomatoes.’
It’s amazing what you can do with a small salad. It even had a flower in the middle!
The food was local, fresh and high-quality wherever we went. So was the wine. And the service was friendly. Nothing was too much bother. That makes such a difference to your enjoyment, don’t you agree?