Some of the Best European Memories are Those You Can Taste
To say that food is an important cultural experience is not just an excuse to sample all possible delicacies in every destination you explore (though we’ll take it!). No, we maintain our fervent belief that cuisine and all the pomp and tradition that go with it are among the very best ways to experience new places. From five stars to street food, it connects us to the daily life that exists in destinations far from our homes. Take it a step further and learn where the recipes originated, what ingredients they use and why, and you’ve got yourself a delicious history lesson that paints a picture of a city or country.
As with many history lessons, Europe is arguably the greatest region to learn the culinary language, and the destinations along the Danube River are just waiting to teach you. This summer, Crystal Mozart sails along this mighty waterway rich in flavorful pursuits, among other grand highlights. Whether you pack your own list of “must taste” experiences or choose one of the culinary-focused excursions our destination experts have planned, come with an appetite.
Here’s what’s on the menu of “Tantalizing Gastronomy” destination experiences set in Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Germany:
Life is supremely sweet in this UNESCO City of Media Arts, thanks much to its penchant for creating rich and buttery pastries. The Linzer torte is the most famous of these, a delicate cake with a lattice top and hazelnuts and thick fruit filling. In the medieval square of Hauptplatz, you’ll find Jindrak’s bakery shop, where you’ll dive into the dough of your own Linzer creation, sit back with coffee or tea, and learn about the surrounding city.
The Ringstrasse is considered one of the most important and beautiful boulevards in the Austrian capital. Here, you’ll find the Imperial Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Vienna State Opera, Parliament and other stately buildings. You’ll also find numerous street vendors serving Wiener Wurstel, or Vienna sausages, a signature comfort food that will make you feel right at home here. For a hands-on gourmet experience, embark on an excursion to the Michelin- and Gault-Millau-rated kitchen of the city’s Kempinski Hotel, where you’ll learn the art of Austrian cuisine from the sous chef.
Potatoes kind of rule here, as the city’s most traditional dishes include bryndzové halušky (potato dumplings stuffed with cheese and roasted bacon) and zemiakové placky (potato pancakes with garlic oil). But there are hundreds of distinct flavors and unique twists on well-known favorites to be tasted in the Slovakian capital, if you make the effort to explore the hidden cafes. A culinary walking tour is the perfect place to begin your search, including a wine tasting at the Museum of Viticulture and several other non-food-focused highlights not to be missed.
When in Germany, prost! Munich-style Dunkel Lager and Helles Lager, Märzen, Hefeweizen, Doppelbock and Pilsener are among the signature beers produced at Hacklberg Brewery. If you prefer to drink your cultural lessons, this is the place. Your guide will escort you through the production process that, by law, involves only water, hops, malted barley and yeast. The perfect pair to your Bavarian beverage? Traditional bier-pretzels, of course.
Crystal Mozart’s summer voyages along the Danube range from 7 to 10 days, sailing from Vienna and Budapest. Prepare your palate for the luxury journey of a lifetime.