El albergue

El albergue

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Savoring Salzburg

The beautiful city of Salzburg!
Not only was the fort really old, it was made in
gigantic proportions.
The second leg of our trip took us to Salzburg, Austria, where Mozart was born.  It’s a beautiful little city at the foot of the Alps that can boast of being not only the birthplace of that musical genius but also the site where most of The Sound of Music was filmed!  We immensely enjoyed our slightly cheesy Sound of Music tour, as well as exploring the world’s oldest and biggest existing fort, but my favorite part was the food.  Yes, surprise surprise, the food. 

Just look at all that amazing deliciousness.
Our first meal once we got into town was composed of amazing bagel sandwiches and delightfully creamy caffe lattes topped with inches of foamy milk.  I sank my teeth into my caprese sandwich, savoring the fresh brightness of the pesto, the sweetness of the tomato, and the suave flavor of the mozzarella, all framed by the amazing chewiness of the bagel.  I sipped my coffee through the cloud of foamy milk.  I was happy.  Later though, when we walked by a bakery, I was still up for trying out some Austrian breads.  One of the two rolls we picked out was kind of like potato bread, fluffy and slightly sweet, but completely covered with some mild cheese.  Delicious.  The second was dark, heavy, and nutty, and tantalizingly topped with parmesan cheese.  Double delicious.

Maybe you think me silly for this picture, but this bread was totally deserving.
And dinner was heavenly.  We went to this tiny family-owned Italian place near the hostel that served only three pasta options that changed each day.  I ordered the anchovy pasta, which turned out to have nearly as much olive and sundried tomato as anchovy, all chopped up together and liberally doused with olive oil, with just a hint of spiciness that lingered on the back of my tongue.  By itself, the pasta was amazing.  But the real magic happened in combination with the wine the waiter served me.  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t anything more special than the house white wine, but it was the absolute perfect partner for my dish – after swallowing each bite, I took a sip of the cool liquid, reveling in the bursts of flavors that exploded in my mouth.  I was particularly delighted by the surprising almond flavor that seemed to dominate everything else – absolutely heavenly.

The next day, after some simple gnoshing on more bread and a light sandwich, we indulged in another amazing dinner.  The location: St. Paul’s Stub’n, a pub-like place on a small side street in the old town with locals filling the richly dark, smoky interior.  The fare: spaetzle, salad, and wiener schnitzel that blew our mind.  First, the spaetzle.  Imagine taking really small gnocchi, fried onions, and all the cheesy goodness of homemade mac’n’cheese, and combining all that in a steaming pan that beckons you like some sort of savory Siren.  Oh yes.  It’s that good.  Next, the salad.  No more complicated than a small head of green lettuce placed in a bowl, what made it shine was the creamy balsamic dressing drizzled over the top.  I’m a sucker for creamy balsamic.  Last, the wiener schnitzel.  The meat itself wasn’t anything super special – a wide, thin pork steak breaded and fried – but the combination of the meat with the accompanying potato salad and cranberry sauce was magical.  The sweet tartness of the sauce perfectly paired with the heaviness of the meat and the slightly oniony and vinegary potatoes that exuded a profound creaminess coming from the perfect state of the tubers themselves rather than any additional ingredients.  It was so much food that Kels and I were unable to finish off the second half of the meat (the sauce and potatoes however were gone).  We looked at each other and said, “We came.  We ate.  We NEARLY conquered.” 

Our last bit of deliciousness as we headed out from Salzburg was some brown bread and cheese that we bought at the grocery store.  A German friend in Madrid had bemoaned to me a while back the lack of decent hearty bread anywhere outside of her home country, and I finally understood what she was talking about.  This bread comes in super thin slices, with the understanding that just a couple of these nutty, grainy, dense, savory slices with just a hint of the sourness of a good sourdough are enough to fill you up.  And it really is quite filling.

Now, here's what you've been waiting for, I know - Sound of Music pictures!!!!!

We got to see the church where the wedding scene was filmed!

We also got to skip down the same lane they used when Maria sang
"I've Got Confidence."
And the graveyard they used for the escape scene is really beautiful.

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