‘Britwurst’ sausages find a following in Austria

Austrians love their sausages and are fiercely proud of their homegrown "wurst". But this hasn't daunted Englishman Richard Holmes in his quest to get locals to love his bangers too.

'Britwurst' sausages find a following in Austria
Photo: Philipp Horak

“I started doing it because I really missed British sausages from home,” the 31-year-old told AFP as he demonstrated his sausage-making technique. “That and fish, a nice bit of cod.”

Based in Vienna, he sells his handmade “Britwurst” creations to a growing number of restaurants and shops and at markets — although not yet to Austria's ubiquitous “wuerstelstand” sausage stands.

But looking the archetypal British butcher with his blue-and-white apron, chunky forearms and sausage-sized fingers, he says it has been a struggle to get established.

The worst thing, he says as he minces great pale chunks of pork —
“shoulder for the taste, 'cos it's got the good fat” — was the “absolute
nightmare” of Austrian bureaucracy.

“Rules are rules at the end of the day but I really struggled with them a lot. At one point I thought, this is too much, I'm going to give up on this,” the Essex native said.

Richard Holmes. Photo: Philipp Horak

Sausage suitcase

You can't just turn up in Austria and start making and selling sausages. The authorities needed documented proof that Holmes knows what he is doing.

So he went back to England for a weekend sausage-making course and returned armed with 50 kilos (110 pounds) of sausages in his suitcase — and the vital piece of paper.

Acquiring also a business licence, he then went to see the “Master Butcher of Vienna”, who didn't know one end of a British sausage from another but who allowed Holmes to operate.

The proviso though from this wurst overlord was that he wouldn't “tread on the toes” of local producers by selling Austria-type sausages like the kaesekrainer (with melted cheese inside) or bratwurst.

Not that this restriction has cramped his style. Alongside the standard British favourites, Holmes has innovated, using anything from pistachios to jalapeno peppers to add a twist to his creations.

But Holmes says his main selling point is not that his sausages are British but they are a quality, all-natural product — unlike the cheaper end of the local market.

“If you visit a wuerstelstand you've got no idea where they come from,” he says. “Your typical frankfurter from the supermarket has all sorts of stuff in it.”

His meat comes from local, free-range pigs that are slaughtered at Hoedl Fleischerei, Vienna's last butcher that kills on site, and which then makes the sausages to Holmes's recipes.

Down at Vienna's Karmeliter market where Holmes is every Saturday, he is doing brisk business.

Only around 10,000 Brits live in Austria, plus roughly 1,000 Irish, a third of them in Vienna, so Holmes can't rely just on expats. And in fact, a majority of his customers are locals.

“He doesn't use any additives, it's not industrially manufactured and it's handmade. And he does these interesting combinations. It's absolutely fantastic,” said local Nilufar, a regular customer.

“British sausages have a totally different taste and structure to German and Austrian ones. And, of course, the English breakfast is famous. He's got a nice little niche here,” agreed Markus.

Not everyone is impressed, though. “British cooking? No thanks!” says a passing pensioner, disgusted.

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Wiener Weinwandertag: Everything you need to know about Vienna’s ‘Wine Hiking Day’

After a two-year pandemic break, one of Vienna's beloved autumn traditions is back. Here's all the info you need to take part in it.

Wiener Weinwandertag: Everything you need to know about Vienna's 'Wine Hiking Day'

During an early autumn weekend, thousands of Viennese and people from other parts of Austria participate in the city’s Wine Hiking tradition, which is exactly what it sounds like: walking around vineyards and trying out different wines and food.

It’s a great way to celebrate the arrival of autumn (and fresh wine season) in a very Austrian way: outdoors, with friends and family, and with traditional drinks and food. “Visit wineries and wine taverns with snack stations, taste delicious Viennese wine and enjoy the view of Vienna from viewing points”, the City of Vienna advertises.

READ ALSO: Explore Austria: Mauer, a charming wine-hiking spot on Vienna’s outskirts

There are four different paths that people can take, with different lengths. The shortest is the Ottakring hike, in Vienna’s 16th district, with 2.4 kilometres.

There is also the Mauer trek in the 23rd district, with 4.6 kilometres. The Strebersdorf to Stammersdorf, in the 21st district, offers two different routes, one with an 8.8-kilometre length and the other with a 9.6-kilometre trek.

Finally, the longest trek is in the 19th district, the Neustift am Walde to Nussdorf, with a 10.8-kilometre length. Of course, you don’t need to take the entire route and there are several stops with food, wine, entertainment and even children’s playgrounds on the hikes.

There are also many spots to sit and enjoy the view (and wine). (Copyright: PID / Christian Fürthner)

How do I get to the hiking points?

  • Weinspaziergang Mauer (23rd district): You can get there with the 56A bus (stop Ursulinenkloster) or the Bus 60A (stop Rodauner Strasse).
  • Weinspaziergang Ottakring (16th district): You can get there using bus 56A (Ursuinenkloster stop) or bus 60A (Rodauner Strasse stop). This is a round trek.
  • Weinspaziergang Neustift bis Nussdorf: You can get there through several entering points and follow different routes. The main points are Neustift am Walde (Autobus 35A), Sievering (Autobus 39A), Weingut Wien Cobenzl (Autobus 38A), Grinzing (Straßenbahn 38), Nußdorf (Straßenbahn D).
  • Weinspaziergang Strebersdorf bis Stammersdorf: There are also several points of entrance and different shortcuts to make the trekking shorter, but the main entry points are: Strebersdorf (Straßenbahn 26) and Stammersdorf (Straßenbahn 31).

The hike is family-friendly and can also get quite full (Copyright MA 49 / Fürthner)

The hikes in detail

The hikes are varied in length and offers. They bring different resting points and different stalls where local wineries can show their products. The official brochure has all the maps and signs, but the paths themselves are also very well maintained and signalled. The hundreds of people walking them also serve as a good guiding point.

Alternatively, you can also hike along smaller sections. Here you can find maps and more information on each paths:

(Stadt Wien)
Resting spots:
A: Weinbau Stippert
B: Weinbau Leitner

Neustift bis Nußdorf

Stadt Wien
Resting spots:
A: Weinbau Wolf
B: Weingut Kroiss
C: Buschenschank Haslinger
D: Weinbau Burner
E: Weingut Wien Cobenzl / Wiener Gusto
F: Genuss am Cobenzl
G: Buschenschank Hengl-Haselbrunner
H: Weinbau Wiegel
I: Weinbau & Buschenschank Taschler
J: Wagner & Glass
K: Weinbau Langes
L: Mayer am Nußberg
M: Buschenschank Feuerwehr Wagner am Nußberg
N: Weingut Wailand
O: Weingut Stift Klosterneuburg
P: Pedalones
Q: Buschenschank Wanderer am Fuße des Nußbergs
R: Buschenschank Wieninger am Nußberg
S: Buschenschank Franzinger
T: Buschenschank Windischbauer
U: Die Buschenschenkerei Ing. Michael Ruthner
Strebersdorf bis Stammersdorf

Stadt Wien
Resting spots:
A: Weingut Schilling und Tony Allen – Naturalcrafts
B: Weingut Walter Wien
C: WBV Strebersdorf
D: LAWIES – Buschenschank über den langen Wiesthalen
E: Villa Weinrot
F: Bio-Weingut Weinhandwerk
G: WBV Stammersdorf Vinothek
H: Weingut Dr. Höfler – Ausblick.Wien
I: Weingut Sackl
J: Buschenschank in den Gabrissen
K: Keller am Berg K. Lentner
L: Heuriger Gerhard & Hermine Klager

Stadt Wien
Resting spots:
A: Weinbau M&M Beranek
B: Weingut Edelmoser
C: Bio Weingut Fuchs-Steinklammer
D: Buschenschank Grausenburger

READ ALSO: How to drink wine like an Austrian

The trails are senior and child friendly; there are separate, specially marked trails for families who like to travel with prams.

Dogs (on a leash) are welcome.

The stalls are open from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday.