Delicious Highlights from Vienna to Budapest and the Incredible Wachau Valley
If you’re a professional chef, the European destinations featured on Danube River cruises are a source of great culinary inspiration. If your talents lie more on the side of tasting than on creating, these towns are equally rewarding, with delightful spots serving the region’s traditional fare, modern spins on age-old recipes, and lively surroundings for enjoying it all. The executive chefs aboard Crystal Mahler, Crystal Ravel and Crystal Mozart are well acquainted with these towns and their tastiest highlights, and they are sharing their personal recommendations here.
Traveling along the Danube is a marvel. Over a few hundred miles of this mighty river, one can experience an astounding array of cultures, scenery and, of course, food.
In Budapest, the Great Market Hall is a great first stop for foodies of all kinds. One item not to miss when visiting the market is Kolbasz, a traditional Hungarian sausage, served by one of our preferred butchers from Szeged. They use a blend of meats that gives the sausage great complexity, as well as regular salamis with spicy or sweet paprika. Additionally, Körözött – a sweet paprika-spiced cottage cheese dip – served with fresh bread and a shot of homemade palinka, is a must for visitors to Hungary.
Chef Profile: Chris Albersdörfer, Crystal Ravel – A native of Germany, Chris has spent a year and a half with Crystal showcasing his skills with elaborate pastries. He is also passionate about creating hearty vegan specialties and deconstructing classic favorites to give them new character.
Vienna’s famous Naschmarkt has everything you can imagine. It’s a fantastic way to spend a day strolling and shopping… and eating! Many travelers come to Vienna with Viennese Schnitzel in mind and many restaurants cater to this classic, but what a lot of guests do not know is that Vienna is also a great place for fish. Visit Fish Gruber, one of the great food stalls at the Naschmarkt, and enjoy some fresh fish or mussels. Meat lovers should also plan a stop at Leberkaes Peppi, a very famous Austrian restaurant that serves Leberkaese, specialty sausage, in plenty of variations. Flavored with traditional pizza spices, Leberkaese is made from veal, pork, horse or poultry and you will surely find your favorite. And don’t forget to order one of Vienna’s beers, like Ottakringer, to pair with these savory dishes.
Chef Profile: Žarko Lukić, Crystal Mahler – The Croatian chef has been with Crystal for four years, sharing his skillful creativity in modern and molecular cuisine, though his passion lies with the rich flavors of French and other European cuisines, and blending them into new specialties.
In Slovakia, another must-see market is Bratislava Old Market Hall, or Stará tržnica, as the Slovakians would say. It’s not so much a place for shopping, rather, it’s a place to explore street food and enjoy the cultural events that are typically taking place there. There are always new and innovative flavors on offer at the market, and travelers will find great insights into the culture of the city, as well as its cuisine.
When sailing through the Wachau Valley – one of the most spectacular and picturesque regions of the world – it’s natural to think of the wines. The area is filled with castles, ancient ruins, vineyards throughout, and is most famous for its dry white wines. Wines produced here are under the supervision of the Vinea Wachau, the local association of the roughly 200, mostly family owned, vineyards in the Wachau Valley that promote and ensure the quality and integrity of their. Drink it when enjoying Marillenknoedel, the local apricot dumplings, or enjoy the apricots that are grown here in the Wachau as a juice, jam or covered in chocolate. The choice is yours.
Chef Profile: Georg Pfandl, Crystal Mozart – Though he hails from Germany, Chef Pfandl has highlighted his personal style of a fusion between Asian and Austrian cuisine during his three years with Crystal.
Crystal River Cruises’ Danube River cruises are packed with culinary explorations to suit any preference. Reserve your suite today and begin daydreaming of the feast that lies ahead.