Austrians Everywhere

flagEverybody knows that we (Californians) have a governor with an Austrian background (and an Austrian accent !). And everybody knows Aaanold from one movie or the other or has seen him on TV. Probably only few fans have heard that Mr. Schwarzenegger’s fav wine maker is Gerhard Wohlmuth, both of course hailing from the same Austrian wine region, Styria. Arnold’s longing for home cooking in the US was so strong that he opened his own restaurant in Santa Monica, Schatzi on Main that dishes out traditional Austrian cuisine.

If you’re talking about Austrian restaurants in the US you have to mention the expanding food empire of Wolfgang Puck. Many people have eaten in one of his restaurants, or have baked one of the gourmet pizzas sporting his name, or have watched one of his entertaining cooking shows on TV. Of course, Wolfgang is an Austrian hero too, born in the southern province of Carinthia. Thoroughly trained in France, Wolfgang continued in LA to pioneer Californian fusion cuisine with his distinct Austrian background as a major ingredient.

Then there are various wine makers who have this particular ethnic heritage in common, among them one of the founders of the Canadian Inniskillin estate. I doubt that many afficionados who love their famous ice wines are aware that the head wine maker, Karl Kaiser, is a native of Austria. It was KuK who learnt about making Eiswein during his time as a high school student in a Cistercian monastery boarding school in rural Austria.

But who would have imagined that there is an Austrian couple toiling away in the midst of Piemont’s vineyards to produce Barbera and Moscato wines. Anneliese and Harry König are also managing a boarding house in historic surroundings, officially called the Azienda Vitivinicola Casa Re. Judging from their web site it must be a very cosy kind of place, so if you are travelling in Italy and you want to meet some real Austrians, go visit them. Then come back and tell us how the Austrians are doing in the heartland of Italian wine making.

We know this much already: if it has anything to do with food and wine, or tourism and hospitality, Austrians tend to overachieve. It does not matter in which corner of the world they happen to be, Austrians are always at home in a kitchen or a cellar and they are always willing to share the goodies!