Austrian Culture


Published on

Authentic Austrian Cuisine and Food

Published in: Business, Self Improvement
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Austrian Culture

  1. 1. ==== ====Special Austrian Food you will find here : ====When you travel to Toronto, this multicultural metropolis, youll have a chance to sample delicaciesfrom all over the world, but one of the national cuisines is not well represented: Austrian cuisine.Canada experienced a big wave of Austrian immigrants right after World War II and into the1970s, but since then the number of newcomers from this small European nation has dwindledconsiderably, resulting in a shortage of Austrian eateries.As an Austrian immigrant myself, one place caught my eye a while ago: an authentic Austriancafé / pastry shop called "Konditor", German for "sugar baker". Over the last few months Ihave tried several times to drop by and try some Austrian dishes that I had grown up with, butevery time I swung by I inadvertently picked a Monday or Tuesday when the establishment isclosed.Well finally, today after doing my interview with Sheila Blinoff and Carole Stimmell from the BeachMetro Community News, I decided to pay another visit to Konditor, and given that it was aThursday today, I had finally picked the right day of the week. I came in right around noon into asmall yet tidy establishment in Torontos Beach neighbourhood, on Queen Street just west ofWoodbine Avenue. This compact café has nine tables and three of them were occupiedwith enthusiastic patrons. The mood in the place was amazingly cheerful, with patrons chattingback and forth from table to table, and I overheard a conversation between two different groups ofcustomers who both agreed that Konditor has the best apple Strudel and the best coffee.A group of three local business people sat down at the next table: Ernesto Monte is the owner ofMeat on the Beach, known for its high quality meats; Arthur (Arturo) Bossio runs a local pestcontrol company while his brother Tony is a general contractor who does a lot of work in theBeach.Soon jokes were flying back and forth and Arturo started to inquire about the reason for my visit.He indicated that he is originally from Italy, from the southern region of Calabria, but came toCanada when he was a small child. Then Arturo joked with one of the owners, Benedetta Stellino,who also hails from Italy.People sometimes say that Toronto residents are rather reserved, and strangers are hesitant totalk to each other. Well, at Konditor, witty comments were flying back and forth, and completestrangers (including myself) were ribbing one another, having a good time.The real reason I had come here for was to finally sample some Austrian cuisine, some munchiesthat reminded me of my time growing up in the Austrian Alps. So I ordered my favourite Austriansoup: Fritattensuppe (pancake strip soup) and a gourmet pork roast sandwich. Tasting the food ofmy birth country again, right here in Toronto, was great and the filling meal definitely hit the spot.
  2. 2. The gentlemen beside me were already wondering how I was going to polish away a sizeablebowl of soup plus a nice size sandwich, but no problem here, this girl can eat....Guests kept streaming in, and Benedetta kept them entertained with her charm and an enviablegift of the gab. She definitely has a great knack for making anyone feel welcome, as if they hadbeen friends for many years. She explained that on weekends this place really starts to hop.Finally, I had a chance to meet her business partner, and the pastry chef herself. Burgi Rieglergrew up on a farm in Mürzzuschlag, a town in the beautiful province of Styria, only about 30km away from my own home town in Austria. We sat down and chatted for a bit in our nativeGerman dialects, and then switched to English when the formal interview started.Growing up on a farm, Burgi was introduced to cooking early on, having to prepare meals for herlarge family. At nine years of age she had already figured out her ideal job: she wanted to becomea chef. She figured she might as well get paid for her favourite activity. After her localapprenticeship she spent some time during the winter tourist season in the Austrian province ofTyrol, working as a chef and skiing to her hearts content. Although she would sometimes work 20hours a day in the winter she would have the summers off.But the big city kept calling her: Vienna. She spent several years in the Austrian capital, working insuch esteemed establishments as the Hotel Bristol, the Hilton Hotel and Restaurant Corso, one ofViennas most renowned restaurants. She worked with some of the most well-known Europeanculinary experts. While working in Vienna, she fell in love with pastries (who wouldnt?), and tookan evening apprenticeship as a pastry chef. Part of the reason was also to prove one of herprevious supervisors wrong who had told her she was a "total loser with cakes". Now Burgi hadofficial credentials as an executive chef as well as a fully qualified pastry chef.After a few years in Vienna, that Austrian city became too small. The big wide world was calling -Burgi wanted to go to America. But she was unable to obtain a green card and a friend suggestedshe should go to Canada. Burgi was actually recruited by the Royal York Hotel in Toronto as theywere attempting to increase their profile with high end desserts. Burgi was game, and in 1987 shearrived on Canadian soil. I myself had arrived here in 1986, so we realized that both of us haveabout 20 years of Canadian living under our belt.Burgis first impressions were that the country was so big, the city was huge (in comparison toGreater Torontos 5.3 million people, Vienna, by far Austrias largest city, only has about 1.5 millionresidents). Just like me, this Austrian transplant fell in love with Toronto. She felt that the peoplewere friendly, and within half a year she had found a Canadian who was so friendly that shedecided to marry him. Over the next few years Burgi and her husband started a family in Toronto.After the Royal York Burgi also spent several years as pastry chef at the prestigious Badminton& Racquet Club until Benedetta came up to her and said she was wasting her talent andshould pursue her life-long dream: to open her own coffee-house. Burgi liked the idea, quit her job,and Burgi and Benedetta ended up becoming business partners. The big breakthrough camewhen Ben was listening to a radio show where Kerry Stratton, conductor at the TorontoPhilharmonia Orchestra, commented that he was unable to locate a decent Sacher Torte (a realViennese specialty) in Toronto.Benedetta said to Burgi "your Sacher Torte is awesome" and they sent a sample to the conductor.
  3. 3. The sweet delicacy went over really well, and Burgi was invited to provide the sweet table for theprestigious Viennese Ball organized by the Toronto Philharmonia. Other highlights in Burgiscareer include an appearance on the popular "Christine Cushing Live" cooking television show,work for the Italian consulate, as well as the annual Salute to Vienna Concert at Roy ThompsonHall. People were definitely taking note of this gifted Austrian pastry chef.Today Konditor and the partnership between Burgi and Benedetta is well established. While Burgiprepares sinful treats in the kitchen, Benedetta handles the customers in the front. Ben is definitelya character; she has a great natural sense of humour, and doesnt shy away from ribbingcustomers in a good-natured way. While I was there, a regular customer came in and Ben told himoff for hanging out too much at Starbucks, her competition. The patron came right back with aquick-witted answer and a little humorous banter was flying back and forth.Not surprisingly, Benedettas background is in sales, she spent many years in the headhuntingbusiness, saying that she "sold heads for cash", prior to starting a business with Burgi. Althoughthe last three years have been a ton of work, both entrepreneurs agree that their foray intobusiness ownership has been very rewarding.Their recipe for success consists of providing an authentic Austrian coffee house atmosphere, withhigh quality meals and desserts. In addition to delicious merchandise, they strive to create anenvironment that makes people feel comfortable, just as if they were at home. Benedetta has aknack for engaging people in conversation, and patrons chat freely with one another. Ben, an avidpoet, said she is keeping track of all the goings on at her establishment, and one day shell write abook about it where she is going to dish out the goods and share the juicy tidbits that she haswitnessed in her café. I joked that I better behave myself so as to prevent anycompromising news from leaking out.Ben adds that Burgis desserts are second to none, and they taste even better than they look. Andpeople who have traveled to Austria confirm that this place looks like an authentic Austrian pastryshop. As an Austrian myself I can attest to that. For Mozarts 250th birthday celebrations lastwinter Burgi made a special three tier cake which was enjoyed by a crowd of 200 patrons. Theattendees were fortunate that it was one of the warmest days in January with temperatures around+10 degrees Celsius. Patrons were able to hang out on the patio outside.I inquired as to whether there were any special events at the restaurant. A recent initiative atKonditor consists of regular poetry readings called "Poetic Justice", held every first Thursday ofthe month. One or two poets present their writings, and audience members have a chance to readtheir own work at the open mike.A mouth-watering strawberry Cremeschnitte represented an enjoyable highlight to the end of ourconversation; I figured I couldnt leave this place without at least trying one of the sweet treats.Finally I had made it to Konditor, this little Austrian nook that reminded me so much of where Igrew up, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Ill be back (using Arnolds famous words), notjust for the food, but for the company.Susanne Pacher is the publisher of a website called Travel and
  4. 4. Transitions( Travel and Transitions deals withunconventional travel and is chock full of advice, tips, real life travel experiences & interesting lifejourneys, interviews with travellers and travel experts, cross-cultural issues, and many otherfeatures.Susanne has recently published a series of FREE travel ebooks about destinations such as Spain,Cuba, Mexico, Sicily, New York City, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, Nova Scotia and many more.Visit Travel and Transitions - FREE ebooks("Life is aJourney – Explore New Horizons".Article Source: ====Special Austrian Food you will find here : ====