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VEGAN

A carnivore explores vegan Vienna

Confirmed carnivore and The Local's resident food writer Gaz Smith decides to cross to the dark side, and explores some of Vienna's vegan restaurants. He was pleasantly surprised by what he found.

A carnivore explores vegan Vienna
All Photos: Gareth Smith

#Vegan #ish

Now, anybody who knows me (or has seen me) knows that I´m no vegan. If we were back in the caveman days, I’d be the king of meat eaters. Walking around like Henry VIII with a roasted pterodactyl’s leg held aloft like a giant chicken drumstick.

But I’ve recently taken an interest in vegetarian/vegan eating, I guess to broaden my horizons a bit in terms of cooking inspiration. Also to teach the kids a bit more about healthy eating. Mainly I did it because my wife was giving me stick about eating too much meat.

So I opened my eyes, even going as far as doing a 30 day vegan(ish) detox. When I say ish, I mean I cheated a couple of times. I mean who can resist lamb season, or umm steak season, or burger after a few pints season.

I cheated, ok? But I felt better for doing it. I even learnt the vegan hash tagging rules. First rule of being a vegan is hash tagging everything #andImeaneverything.

It opened my eyes, not only to some really great places that cater for vegans, but a whole community of people and different perspectives. Also some really great food too.

What hit me like a hammer, was the passion that the people involved in these places had.

Usually when somebody tells me about “how passionate” they are about something, my bullshit alarm sounds off.

Real passion doesn't have to be stated, it states itself.

It is the first thing that you can spot.

The sparkle in the eyes, the goofy grins, the 20 minute smiling machine gun of chitter chatter, the erratic hand gestures. These guys had them all.

I had planned to pop into a few places with Vienna's Vegan Soul sister Veronica, grab a quick bite, take a couple of pictures and get some basic info. We ended up spending at least an hour in each place, just chewing the (vegetarian) fat.

We started off at Veganista, there being no better way to test the vegan waters, than with ice-cream.

That, and the fact that I had mentioned ice-cream to my six-year-old, who was now pestering me about the ice-cream every two minutes. She needed to be silenced.

She was silenced. Hypnotised by the offerings at Veganista. They had it all.

A sassy little shop, 18 flavours of ice-creams and these little genius “InBetWieners”. Think ice-cream sandwiches. Great stuff altogether.

Everything is made by hand, they press the fruits themselves, no fixed recipe from batch to batch of fruit, but rather trial and error until they are happy with it.

They build up relationships with growers and customers alike. In fact they buy their peaches from one of the customers, who has more peaches growing in her field than she knows what to do with. The transparency of this operation is so refreshing in this day and age of industrialized produce.

A lady with lovely, home grown peaches comes in, peaches get weighed, and Peach Ice-cream gets made.

Simple.  Perfect.

The ice-cream itself is wickedly good. Not only would you not know that it is vegan, but it’s better than so many conventional ice-creams I’ve tasted.

They don’t use the vegan paste that almost everywhere else uses. They source local soy milk, oat milk and rice milk from Italy.

I could write for an hour on how good it was, but I’ll simplify it for you in the best possible way — we didn’t hear a peep from the ice cream pest for 30 minutes, except the slurping and wrist licking — that’s how good it was.

Brass Monkey

Run by a super happy Greek brother & sister, you could walk in here, kick off your shoes and settle in for the afternoon drinking coffee and eating their vegan cupcakes.

They aren’t vegan, but we chatted about vegan eating as if they had been vegans since birth.

I guess that gives them an advantage over vegans, in that they can taste both sides of the fence to see what works better.

There’s a cracking selection of products, sourced from their hometown which are available for sale in the shop, and they use a Greek coffee (UTZ) , with an impeccable traceability line.

The tea is served with a little timer, to let you know when the tea leaves have done their thing and she´s ready for supping. I liked that little touch.

Home-Made

A little Organic grocer / Café. Serving food that is, as the name suggests, home-made, it's run by Nadine and Anna.  Another smiley, happy couple of ladies.

Things to try — the Sunday Brunch buffet was full of tasty and perfectly seasoned dips, breads and I kind of gorged on the vegan apple Kaiserschmarrn.  And the guacamole.  And the kiwi and orange compote.  And the spelt pasta.  And the chocolate tarts. I was hungry dammit. Don’t judge me!

Places to go vegan or vegetarian

Yamm!

It's a bit pricey, but you’re paying for fresh, top quality meals made with care and full of flavour. They have a big selection of vegan, lactose free and gluten free options as well.  A real game changer in proving you don’t need meat to eat a great meal.

Dancing Shiva Superfoods

This is a great place for raw and super foods (think maca, cacao, hemp seeds, spirulina) . They have a ton of great desserts, smoothies and juices as well as full meals. The green spinach wrap is where it´s at.  Aside from some of the honeys all of the meals are raw, bio, vegan, lactose free and gluten free. For the record, I don’t know what spirulina is either.

Loving Hut

Yeah it’s on Favoriten, and it sounds like a brothel, and it’s opposite a brothel, but it´s not a brothel.  Try the summer rolls. Some real hashtaggery awesomeness going on with these bad boys.

Maran

An amazing grocery shop that is full to the rafters with vegan and organic produce.  Try the grub in the bistro. Although bistro is a tough sell, I’d call it a canteen or deli, but it’s still great.

Café Ansari

Not vegan, but they do some of the best vegetarian food in town. The chickpea curry is top of the bus, and the curd cheese raviolis are one of the best things I’ve eaten this year, so simple, but so good. I tried to re-create them at home, but the less said about that, the better.

Pizza Riva

The margherita here is, in my opinion the best in town.  But Il Mare (best overall Italian in town), That’s Amore and Pizza Mari are hot on its tail

Schone Perle

Always a great selection of soups and salads here, friendly staff, and we have a soft spot for the website.

So, look. This isn't a one man crusade to get you all drinking quinoa smoothies to wash down a mung bean burger, and I’m not gonna lie, I’m eating beef carpaccio writing this, but I thoroughly enjoyed this detox, and if you know of any other good places, let me know. I'm genuinely curious.

#donttellmywifeaboutthecarpaccio

#orthedrunkenburger

#snitchesgetstitches

Veganista, Neustiftgasse 23/3, 1070 Vienna
Phone: +43 1 961 08 45 www.veganista.at

Brass Monkey, Gumpendorferstrasse 71, 1060 Vienna
Phone +43 (0) 660-283-2809 brassmonkeyvienna.com/

Home-Made, Mollardgasse 2, 1060 Vienna
Phone +43 699 19278780 www.home-made.at

Yamm!, Universitätsring 10, 1010 Vienna
Phone + 43-1-532 05 44 www.yamm.at

Dancing Shiva superfoods, Neubaugasse 58, 1070 Vienna
Phone +43 1 524 78 43 www.dancingshiva.at/

Loving hut, Favoritenstrasse 156, 1100 Vienna
Phone +43 1 2938470 www.lovinghutvienna.com

Maran Stumpergasse 57, 1060 Vienna
Phone +43 1 5954 900 www.maranvegan.at

Cafe Ansari, Praterstrasse 15, 1020, Vienna
Phone +43 1 276 51 02 www.cafeansari.at

Pizza Riva, Türkenstrasse, Ecke Schlickgasse, 1090 Vienna
Phone +43 0 1 310 20 88 www.pizzariva.at

Il Mare Pizzeria, Zieglergasse 15, 1070 Vienna
Phone +43 (1) 523 74 94 www.ilmare.at

Schone Perle, Grosse Pfarrgasse 2, 1020 Vienna
Phone +43 664 2433593 www.schoene-perle.at

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FOOD & DRINK

Hugo, Almdudler and Radler: 5 drinks to try in Austria this summer

It is easier to face the summer heat with a proper cold drink in your hands. Austrians know that well and have created (or made popular) several delicious alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Here are five you should try.

Hugo, Almdudler and Radler: 5 drinks to try in Austria this summer

The debate of which is the perfect summer drink is undoubtedly a very controversial one.

While many people would argue that nothing can beat the Italian Aperol Spritz (which is also very popular in Austria), some would rather stay with a simple cold beer.

If you are team Spritz, then you should know that Austria has a love for things g’spritzt, with their own versions of sparkling drinks (with or without alcohol). However, for those who prefer a beer, the alpine country is home to several famous brands, including the Styrian Gösser, the Viennese Ottakringer, and Stiegl, from Salzburg.

READ ALSO: Five Austrian destinations you can reach by train to escape the heat

In any case, when living or visiting a new country, it’s always fun to try out the traditional dishes and, in this case, beverages.

Here are five drinks you should try during the Austrian summer.

Hugo drink summer drink austria

Hugo is a very popular (and sweet) summer drink in Austria (Photo by Greta Farnedi on Unsplash)

Hugo

Some say this is the Austrian answer to the Aperol Spritz, but its sweetness from the elderflower syrup makes it quite different from the bitter bright orange Aperol.

There is also a bit of controversy as to where this drink, which Austrians love to drink during a nice summer afternoon, originates.

Internationally, it seems to be widely accepted that this alcoholic aperitif comes from South Tyrol, a German-speaking region of Italy with deep Austrian roots. Ask any Austrian, though, and they will tell that just proves the drink is from Austria.

READ ALSO: Eight ways to talk about the heat like a true Austrian

Italian or Austrian, the sweet drink is made with prosecco, elderflower syrup, seltzer and mint leaves. Serve it with lots of ice in a large glass, and you have a perfect summer drink.

white wine drinks party

Mix your white wine with sparkling water and you get a refreshing gespritzt (Photo by Matthieu Joannon on Unsplash)

weiß gespritzt

This is extremely popular, relatively cheap even in fancy restaurants, and somewhat controversial, but take some white wine and add a little sparkling water (sometimes ice) and you get a weiß gespritzt, or a g’spritzter.

READ ALSO: The best Austrian wineries to visit this summer

Not everyone appreciates mixing your wine with water, but it makes for a refreshing and lighter drink. In Austrian restaurants, you might be asked whether you want a summer gespritzt, which means it has higher water content and, therefore, is lighter, or a “normal” one.

It is by no means an Austrian drink, and you may have to ask for a Weinschorle instead of a Gespritzter in Germany, but it is a popular drink in the German world.

gösser radler drink

Austrian brands sell some of the most popular Radlers in Europe (Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash)

Radler

A Radler is another drink that though not from Austria, is extremely popular here. Not only that but some of the most popular Radlers are sold by Austrian brands.

Traditionally, all you need to make a Radler is to mix beer and lemonade. However, the drink is also found bottled and sold by beer companies such as Gösser and Ottakringer. The mix has also expanded and you can discover Radlers with a citrus or berry mix.

READ ALSO: Austrian old folks toast success of ‘Grandma and Grandpa’ beer

It is a lighter and sweeter beer, perfect for enjoying the summer with a fresh drink that is not so alcoholic.

Mixing apple juice and sparkling water creates a perfect non-alcoholic summer drink. (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP)

Apfelspritz

Following the Austrian love for adding sparkling water to drinks, a very common and non-alcoholic beverage is the Apfelspritz.

It is a mix of apple juice and (you guessed it) sparkling water. It is popular in Biergarten as a non-alcoholic alternative, with kids joining in on toasts with their apple and soda mix.

The drink is also very common in Germany (where it is known as Apfelschorle), Switzerland and Hungary.

READ ALSO: Cash and Schnapps: A guide to visiting pubs and cafes in Austria

almdualer gerhard schilling

Almdudler’s CEO Gerhard Schilling holds a bottle of the traditional Austrian drink (© Philipp Lipiarski)

Almdudler

Another option for a summer light and non-alcoholic drink is the Almdudler, which is technically the name of the Austrian brand that sells the famous carbonated soft drink.

The drink is a blend of 32 “natural alpine herbs, beet sugar and soda water”, according to the website. It has a very distinctive logo and can be found in almost all Austrian households – being one of the most popular beverages in the country.

Did we forget about your favourite summer drink? Then let us know in the comments below or send us an email at [email protected]

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