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Ideas for an Austria Themed Party
Austria is a land-locked mountainous country in central Europe, dominated by the Alps. It shares borders with Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovkia, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Its name is derived from the German "Österreich", meaning Eastern Empire, and dates back more than 100 years to when what is now Austria was the eastrnmost region of Bavaria.
The full history of the country is extremely complex and is tied up with such former powers as the Holy Roman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Suffice to say that historically Austria distanced itself from what has since become Germany at the time of the reformation, when certain German regions leaned towards protestantism and Austria upheld its Roman Catholic traditions. It has a rich cultural tradition, being the birthplace of such musical composers as Haydn, Liszt, Schubert, Mozart and Strauss.
Nowadays Austria is a wealthy, peaceful nation. Due to its Alpine location, sports such as cross country skiing, snowboarding and ski jumping are very popular, and football is the most popular team sport.
Austrian Party Decorations
Food for an Austria Themed PartyNow, this shouldn't be difficult. Wiener Schnitzel and Apfelstrudel, right? Absolutely, and nothing wrong with that, both classic authentic Austrian dishes. But there is more to Austrian cooking than just those two, and hopefully we can tempt you into trying something different. Austrians are quite big meat eaters in general, with pork, chicken and beef being the most popular choices (although of course Wiener Schnitzel is traditionally made with veal). But because of the large areas of woodland and forest on the Alpine mountainsides, there is a long hunting tradition in Austria, and when in season game - particularly venison, pheasant, partridge and wild boar - is very popular, as are many different local varieties of sausage.
As well as traditional "Austrian" recipes, dishes and influences from neighbouring nations are widely enjoyed, particularly those from Hungary, Italy and Slovenia. So for example Hungarian Beef Goulash (which is more accurately called "Pörkölt" in Hungarian) would be a perfectly acceptable dish to serve at your Austrian Grand Prix party.
Austrians have a well-developed sweet tooth, and are very fond of their cakes and Torten. Again, cake recipes from neighbouring nations are acceptable alternatives, and we've listed a couple below.
So yes, Wiener Schnitzel and Apfelstrudel are great, but why not try some of these other ideas next time you are throwing an Austrian Grand Prix party:
Drink for an Austrian PartyCoffee and café culture have been popular in Austria - and Vienna in particular - for centuries, and indeed many credit the Austrians with being the first Europeans to really embrace the drink. Whether or not this is strictly true, Viennese café tradition has become an important part of the city's identity. Enjoying a coffee in a coffee house is very much an everyday part of Viennese social life, and coffee - or alternatively hot chocolate, which is also very popular - often goes hand-in-hand with cake (see above).
Coffee is served in a variety of styles, most commonly the "kleiner Schwarzer" or "Mokka", which is similar to espresso, but is extracted more slowly. Also popular are the "großer Schwarzer" (a double Mokka), the "kleiner (or großer) Brauner" (single - or double - Mokka plus milk), the "Melange" (half Mokka, half hot milk), the "Einspänner" ("großer Schwarzer" topped with whipped cream) and the "Wiener Eiskaffee" (iced Mokka with vanilla ice cream, topped with whipped cream). Cappuccinos, espressos and lattes are also popular. For those who aren't so keen on coffee, Viennese Hot Chocolate is very rich, containing double cream in addition to real chocolate, and is hugely popular - something everyone should try at least once!
Almdudler is a popular Austrian soft drink, a sort of herbal lemonade, and is considered by many to be the "national drink of Austria"; it is sometimes mixed with white wine or water.
Beer is very popular, with the pale lager variety (known as Märzen in Austria) the most widely available. A naturally cloudy alternative called Zwicklbier and wheat beer are also popular.
Given its Alpine geography, it may surprise you to hear that a fair amount of wine is produced in Austria. The main wine-producing areas are in Lower Austria, Burgenland, Styria, and Vienna. The Grüner Veltliner grape provides some of Austria's most notable white wines and Zweigelt is the most widely planted red wine grape.
After a meal, Schnapps (or fruit brandy) is sometimes drunk.