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CARNIVAL

All you need to know about Faschingskrapfen

Fasching, or carnival season in Austria, isn’t just about wearing crazy, colourful costumes and watching parades - it’s also the time of year when you can eat as many Krapfen, or jam-filled doughnuts as you want. On Faschingsdienstag, or Shrove Tuesday, here are some things to know about Krapfen before you give them up for Lent.

All you need to know about Faschingskrapfen
Photo: weareaustria.at

It’s got to be apricot

It’s not a real Viennese Faschingskrapfen unless it has sticky apricot jam inside. According to strict Krapfen standards, apricot jam must make up at least 15 percent of the entire doughnut, and at least six fresh egg yolks must be included in every kilogram of flour used to make the dough.

Vienna Krapfen-makers who scrimp on their jam and eggs may end up with a fine from the MA 59 – the food inspection officers.

They are finished off with a generous coating of fine icing sugar. Sometimes rum is added to the jam, so if you feel rather giddy after scoffing a couple, that could be why.

Calorie bombs

A good Krapfen may taste deliciously light and fluffy, but with between 200 and 400 calories apiece, and containing an average of 12 grams of fat, these doughnuts are not kind to your waistline. (Be warned: It takes around 50 minutes of moderate to brisk exercise to burn this many calories.) However, in the past, particularly in times of war and rationing, monks and priests are said to have recommended that their parishioners tuck into the fatty, sugary treats so that they could gain enough strength to get them through Lent.

Still popular

Although consumption may have decreased as Austrians became more health conscious, it’s been estimated that Austrians consume an amazing 100 million Faschingskrapfen per year. (That’s around 12 doughnuts per Austrian). They don’t call it Fat Tuesday for nothing. But luckily it’s followed by four weeks of fasting, or Lent. Traditionally Krapfen are only sold between December 31st and Ash Wednesday.
 

They go way back

Faschingskrapfen are said to have their origins in the ancient world. The Greeks used to offer up their goddess Ceres sweet, baked doughnuts and the Romans served them at festivals and parties. But the real ‘Krapfen’ first appeared in Vienna in the 19th century, when a famous Viennese chef called Cäcilie Krapf created “Cilly Balls” – doughnuts with an apricot jam centre, which immediately became the thing to eat at carnival dances and balls in Vienna.

See also: Six things I learned at my first Cologne Karneval

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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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