Food is an important part of the Austrian culture. Meals are treated as a celebration and often last for hours, characterised by ‘Gemuetlichkeit’ which is distinctive to Austrian culture. Gemuetlichkeit represents a happy mood and sense of well-being.
Austrian cuisine has been heavily influenced by the extent of the Habsburg Empire, which stretched from the borders of Imperial Russia to the Adriatic and consisted of more than a dozen nationalities speaking sixteen different languages. Over 700 years, the cosmopolitan Habsburg rule extended over Switzerland, Alsace, Burgundy, Spain, Holland, Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy, all of which influenced Austrian cuisine in some way. The Wiener Schnitzel probably originated in northern Italy, while Palatschinken (crêpes) and Gulasch came from Hungary, the roasts and sausages were originally Southern German delicacies and the pastries originated in Bohemia.
There are also ‘authentic’ local Austrian dishes such as Frittatensuppe (crêpe soup) from Styria and Speckknödel (bacon dumplings) from Tirol.