Naschmarkt, Vienna – A Sensory Treat!

On a summer trip to Austria last year, I discovered this gastronomical and delightful  and luxurious food and produce market.  

 Fresh meat  butchers, fishmongers,  local bakers and farmers display their wares and offer the freshest produce.  There are also stalls offering specialty cheeses, jams, sauces – fresh appetizers, snack and wine bars,  flowers, souvenirs and many more.

The uniqueness of this market is its multicultural atmosphere and alongside  the local stalls and restaurants you will find restaurants, produce and wares from all around the globe.

Known to be the most famous food market in Vienna – and now also a popular tourist destination,  NASCHMARKT is a must visit for foodies and everyone alike. Shop, dine, drink and enjoy the sights, sounds, tastes and aromas of this gourmet market!

 

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FROM LOCAL AUSTRIAN TO OTHER EUROPEAN CHEESES, FRESHLY BAKED BREADS, FRESH MEATS AND SEAFOOD, FRUITS, VEGETABLES,  FRESHLY COOKED APPETIZERS, SPECIALTY AND LUXURY FOODS – THIS MARKET IS A VERITABLE TREAT FOR THE SENSES!

 

Tantalizing aromas drew us to this bakery. They had an amazing variety of breads and baked goodies. We picked up some goodies  and muched our way through the market

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Visitors queued up and flocked this store to pick up their selection of fresh cheeses. I loved the soft gooey ones like the fresh bries which were literally running away if you get my gist 🙂 They had such an amazingly varied collection and the display was a real feast for the eyes.

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 COLOUR POPPING, EXOTIC FRUITS AND VEGETABLES STRAIGHT FROM THE FARM TO YOUR TABLE

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The white asparagus (known as spargel) which is a delicacy,  is mostly available only in spring and early summer. It is best boiled, and served warm with a hollandaise sauce. It is my must-have when I am in Europe that time of the year

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Strawberries, Cherries and ……..

 

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FRESH CATCH OF THE DAY

THIS MARKET IS A SEAFOOD LOVERS PARADISE,  YOU CAN BUY  FRESH PRODUCE OR HAVE AN AMAZING SEAFOOD MEAL AT ANY OF THE MANY STALLS AND RESTAURANTS.

 

Crab claws – giant sized – enjoyed best just boiled and dipped in a warm lemon butter herb sauce.

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Fresh Norweigan Salmon

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Octopus!

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Calamari and local fish

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        A BUTCHER CARVES A LEG OF DRY CURED SERRANO HAM FROM SPAIN INTO PAPER THIN SLICES FOR PATIENT CUSTOMERS 

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THIS MULTICULTURAL MARKET OFFERS DELICACIES FROM MANY DIFFERENT COUNTRIES – THE  GREEK AND LEBANESE MEZZES / APPETISERS WERE DELICIOUS AND VERY POPULAR

 

A variety of feta stuffed peppers 

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Dates served with assorted hams, nuts and cheeses – Stuffed vine leaves

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The stuffed artichokes were unbelivably good

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AN AMAZING ASSORTMENT OF PICKLES, GHERKINS AND OLIVES FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN 

A huge variety of assorted stuffed olives

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Giant gherkins and olives!

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AN ARRAY OF STALLS OFFERING FOOD AND DRINKS ON THE GO

 

Just stop by for freshly shucked oysters with a quick shot of champagne!

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A Vinothek offering a lovely variety of handpicked wines and wine based cocktails

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RUSSIAN PIROGIS – Puff pastry encased savouries with various meat based and vegetarian fillings. A bit like Indian samosas but not as spicy.  My nephew who is a chef and foodie, and I tried so many of these guilty pleasures!

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WINING AND  DINING

Al fresco …..

 

And fine dining……

 

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There were plenty of choices and a multitude of cuisines



 

A VINEGAR BAR!  MOST UNUSUAL AND  EXCITING –  THE VARIETIES WERE MIND BOGGLING

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ASSORTED GOODIES!

 

Local Viennese Jams

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Iranian nuts

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Local Flowers!

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WE UNFORTUNATELY COULDN’T SHOP FOR THE FRESH FOODS, BUT WE PICKED UP SOME LOVELY SPECIALTY FOODS AND REALLY ENJOYED STALL AND RESTAURANT HOPPING.

WE HAD A 5 COURSE MEAL, JUST STOPPING BY AS WE WALKED,  STARTING WITH AN APERITIF AND STARTERS AT ONE STALL TO DESSERT AT THE LAST ONE. WE VISITED THIS MARKET TWICE FOR THE EXPERIENCE AND THE FINE DINING RESTAURANTS DID NOT DISAPPOINT EITHER.

A VERY ENJOYABLE VISIT – THERE IS SO MUCH TO SEE AND DO SO KEEP AN ENTIRE MORNING AND AFTERNOON TO SOAK IN THE SIGHTS, SOUNDS, SMELLS AND THE  ENTIRE EXPERIENCE OF NASCHMARKT.

 

 

 

 



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Magical Manali Memoirs!

The picturesque resort of Manali is located on the banks of the Beas River in the Northern hills of Himachal Pradesh. With rugged mountains, green valleys, snow capped Himalayan peaks, apple orchards – majestic rivers and streams – this is natures wonderland – all rolled into one amazingly scenic package.

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We rented a cottage (Retreat cottages) with a lovely garden and fabulous views of the snow capped Himalayas.

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Our mornings always started with a walk in the nearby woods bordering a stream.IMG_7864            IMG_7686

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Old manali town is connected to New Manali only by a bridge over a river called Manalsu – this is the most fascinating part of Manali. The streets are lined with lovely cafes and eateries (serving mostly continental food) curio shops, clothes and jewelry a lot of the restaurants have artworks painted on the walls and floors and are worth a look! Foreigners, who came to Manali, fell in love with its beauty and decided to settle down here permanently and now, run most of these shops and eateries.

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A picnic is a must – as there is no shortage of scenic spots in and around Manali. We spent an entire day driving and exploring the areas, and found a lovely picnic spot by a stream surrounded by apple orchards. The only sounds were the birds chirping, and the stream gushing by. It was surreal.

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The Solang valley – half an hour away from Manali town, which had abundance of snow even in April and many outdoor activities like paragliding, zorbing, horse riding, etc. including skiing in the winter.

The Rohtang pass – and although the pass was closed since it was off-season – the drive up was very scenic. Apparently a lot of Bollywood films are shot in and around these areas now.

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IMG_7760      Manali has an enormous variety of eateries, including street food like chaat, dosas, Chinese, and dhabas in a very economical price range on the popular Mall road – to more quiet eateries in the by lanes of the town. My favourite was The Johnsons Café – which serves a multitude of cuisines in an open restaurant surrounded by gardens and apple trees – we spent many afternoons there and often went back just for their delicious pancakes and hot chocolate.

Their cocktails are excellent and I spent more than one afternoon in cold and sunny weather enjoying their popular Margheritas followed by delicious Tandoori trout, pancakes and hot chocolate. Yes, the cold air does make you very hungry!

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Il forno was another favourite – beautiful views from a rustic log cabin and amazing pizzas there is an abundance of local trout available in Manali and it was on the menu of every restaurant we visited. Delicious and a must try!

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The Famous Trout fish was available in abundance and amazingly fresh well cooked wherever we ate it.

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A foreigner smoking a batch of trout – preparing for a huge influx of patrons for his Sunday brunch.

Our dinners would be at the cottage, sitting outdoors around a fire whilst the cooks in the cottage whipped up some delicious ‘Pahadi” or hill cuisine.

I found some great bargains at the shops in and around the Mall road and came back with a suitcase full of odds and ends including plenty of woolens at great bargains. (I was told they were all from across the border. China and Tibet) Got the famous Bhuttico shawl – Tibetan rugs and artifacts – curios, and many other items, all at throwaway prices. And some wonderful memories of a place that I can simply describe – as heaven on earth!

Some examples of the vibrant flora and fauna in and around Manali

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A fishy affair

Fish and I have been having major relationship issues for many years now – with fish telling me I have no idea how to treat him, and me always being extremely upset that no matter how hard I try I can’t get it right with fish.

After many struggles – today I think I finally did.

A perfectly cooked, rock salt crusted fillet of murrel steak, lightly pan seared with garlic & chilli flakes with a sprinkling of fresh dill and olives, finished with a  light drizzle of burnt butter creating that delicious nutty flavour.

A squeeze of lemon – and voila! 

The relationship hopefully has been cemented for life 🙂

  

Things that make you go Mmm…..the decadent Parisian hot Chocolate!

At home, I grew up with a mug of hot chocolate a couple of times a week. A glass of steaming hot milk with a couple of teaspoons of chocolate powder – when we were lucky it was Nesquik – but ordinarily – just the local Cadbury’s version . It wasn’t very different in boarding school in Switzerland except that the hot chocolate tasted much much better with Suchard! Over the years I discarded hot chocolate for the very addictive shot of caffeine found in the popular cappuccino.

On a recent trip to Paris I tasted what I can only describe as the most decadent and sexy dark hot chocolate I have ever had the pleasure of drinking – which I ultimately discovered is the classic French recipe!

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A wonderfully rich,dark, thick, warm and delicious mug of chocolatey happiness  – totally unlike any I’ve had before. It felt like I was drinking pure melted chocolate.

I discovered the trick is simple.
Warm some milk, cream and sugar to taste – as it simmers take it off the heat. Break up a bar of good quality dark chocolate and stir it in slowly – if required put it back on heat to dissolve the any left-over chocolate. Pour it into a mug – and if you are a brave heart, top the steaming mixture with a dollop of cream. I loved the flavour of the sprinkling of sea salt they added into my mug.
Very rich – I must warn you, and could actually be had as a meal accompanied by a delicious French dessert – Maybe a Mille-Feuille, a macaroon, crepes or a Gateau of any sort 🙂

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I missed having the high tea at the iconic Angelina tea house in Paris which is known for the best hot chocolate in France – and a must-do – but hey – for all you chocoholics who haven’t tried this yet – there’s something very special waiting to be discovered.

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Ok now I’m off to make myself a mug 🙂

Giant Pretzels, Spargel and all things German!

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A German Pilsner in hand – watching the sun go down in Baden-Baden – looking forward to a meal of Spargel ( white asparagus )served with warm Hollandaise sauce.

I ordered one with some Serrano ham and boiled potatoes – mmm…it was magic.

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The schweincotlett caught my roving eye, and even though my stomach was groaning in protest – I couldn’t resist! So here we go… 🙂

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Woke up the next morning determined to walk off last night’s meal…..sauntered by a baker’s window and look what I found

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Gorgeous gorgeous freshly baked giant pretzels with a liberal sprinkle of coarse sea salt. Couldn’t resist! Picked up one and munched along the way…..

The baker obviously believed – big is better! 🙂

Lovely freshly baked giants.

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Khagina – Indian style slow cooked eggs

This delicious version of spicy  eggs on a bed of onions and coriander – is the perfect hangover remedy. Mop it up with a crusty loaf of bread – and wash it down with a glass of chilled beer, followed by a long nap 🙂 – and you will wake up as good as new!

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The recipe calls for 5 large onions, finely chopped – a teaspoon each of ginger and garlic paste, 1/2 a teaspoon of bright red chilli powder,1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric powder, 2 green chillies slit through the middle and a bunch of chopped coriander.

Fry the onions and green chillies in a couple of tablespoons of oil till translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for 20 seconds

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Sprinkle the red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt and give it a good stir.

 

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Add a bit of water to amalgamate the onion paste.

 

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So that’s what it all needs to look like before we add the eggs!

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Now break the eggs evenly all over the paste and cover and cook it on a low heat for about 7 to 10 minutes till all the eggs have set.

 

And, Voila! Your Khagina is ready to be devoured 🙂