Janes Walk Vienna Grinzing

Janes Walk Vienna Grinzing

Vienna and Vineyards from Krapfenwaldgasse Wien 1019

Vienna and Vineyards from Krapfenwaldgasse – Grinzing

I’m leading a walking tour from Cobenzl to Grinzing on May 2, 2014, as part of the worldwide Jane’s Walk weekend. Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urbanist and activist whose writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building. Her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities is required reading for anyone interested in city planning and how cities work.

Sign showing proclamation by Kaiser Joseph II allowing grape farmers to sell their own wine (1784) "Buschenschank".

Sign showing proclamation by Kaiser Joseph II allowing grape farmers to sell their own wine (1784) “Buschenschank”.

The walk will start at Wiener Linien bus 38A stop in the Cobenzl parking lot. We’ll walk down the Oberer Reisenbergweg into the centre of Grinzing, head up to the Krapfenwaldgasse (see the view above). Along the way we’ll talk about history, wine in Vienna and Grinzing.

Der Wiener Heurige sign Grinzing Vienna

Der Wiener Heurige sign Grinzing Vienna

At the end of the walk we’ll stop for a glass of wine and some Heurigen food at Jutta Ambrositsch’s Buschenschank in Residence. Here’s a link to the detailed information about my tour Grinzing, Wein in Wien in case you’d like to take the walk by yourself. Contact me and I can send you my notes for the tour.

Vienna – Glacis Beisl

Vienna – Glacis Beisl

Glacis Beisl Vienna - entrance on a winter night.

Glacis Beisl Vienna – entrance on a winter night.

The Glacis Beisl is one of my favorite restaurants in Vienna. Located in the MuseumsQuartier, it’s a very comfortable place with a great garden in the summertime.

The room is large and comfortable. It’s no smoking (inside) and the noise levels are fairly low.

They give you the option of having linen tablecloth and napkins, bread and a spread (Gedeck, cover charge in English) or not. This is really a nice feature and makes the restaurant good for both formal and informal dining. You should specify which you want when you make a reservation (or come into the restaurant).

The service has been very good every time I have visited. The staff are nice, speak English and are helpful with menu choices. The menu itself has an English translation on the last page.

The food is excellent. Whether you want traditional dishes like Wiener Schnitzel or Tafelspitz, or more creative cooking. Their food comes from good sources, local and often organic. The bread is from Joseph Brot (a local bakery) and is fantastic. They have a changing menu and standards. Like many Viennese restaurants they have a daily lunch special including a main course and soup.

The wine list features many very good Austrian wines by the glass and bottle. This is a nice place to experience Austrian wines. They feature a rotating winery of the month. The beer is good (Eggenberger and Budweiser from Czech Republic).

We love to take visitors to the Glacis Beisl to taste excellent Austrian food at a reasonable price.

Burgenland Austria bike tour

Burgenland Austria bike tour

Frauenkirchen Church in Frauenkirchen, Burgenland Austria, August 2013.

Frauenkirchen Church in Frauenkirchen, Burgenland Austria, August 2013.

On Saturday I took my bike on the train to Gols in Burgenland (Austria). My goal was to combine a visit to Judith Beck Vineyards with some exercise on a beautiful end of summer day.

Saturday was Pannobile Day 2013 (German) in Gols. It’s organized by a group of 11 (opps!) 9 winemakers around Gols to celebrate the new year of Pannobile wine (they make a single red and/or white wine that they call Pannobile from a blend of grapes). The winemakers then work together on marketing etc. The name Pannobile comes from the Roman name for the area.

On Pannobile Day all the wineries are open for tasting and there is a big dinner party in the evening. Since I was on my bike I decided it would be best to only taste one and not stay for dinner (maybe next year I’ll stay overnight and go!).

I tasted three wines from Judith Beck Winery just on the outskirts of Gols. I chose her wine because I’d enjoyed it before and it’s organic. She has a beautiful winery building and tasting room. The people were quite friendly and there was nice food to nibble on. I tried a white, the Pannobile 2011 and the Pinot Noir. They were all very nice, but since I was on my bike I only took one bottle (the Pannobile naturally!).

Regional train from Burgenland at Vienna Hauptbahnhof (main train station), August 2013.

Regional train from Burgenland at Vienna Hauptbahnhof (main train station), August 2013.

The bike ride was great too. Although it’s a little hard to get to the Vienna Hauptbahnhof railway station by bike (there are very few direct routes with good bike paths right now). However the station is just being completed so hopefully this will change. The Austrian National Railways (OBB) has a nice feature on its travel planning software that allows you to select only trains where you can take your bike on board. You can take a bike on most of the local and regional trains. However, there was not very much space on this beautiful day for bikes, so my advice would be to get their early. You don’t need to pay extra to take a bike on these trains either, nice!

I took the train to Gols. There I followed Burgenland bike route B-23 (the Culture Bikeway). It goes through the vineyards to a small city called Frauenkirchen (named after a large baroque church in the town). The church was a pilgrimage church in the middle ages and there are several historic buildings around it including what looks like an old cloister across the street. The cloister is also a historic landmark and houses a restaurant called Paprikawirt – “Paprika Restaurant” in English – that looked excellent.

After a short break I headed back along the path through more vineyards and agricultural fields, then the towns of Halbturn and Mönchhof, before reaching Gols and the Judith Beck Winery tasting room. The path is quite well marked with signs and markings on the pavement, although I did get a little lost on the stretch between Halbturn and Mönchhof. After my tasting I rode around in the town of Gols since I had time before my train. There was at least one more Pannobile winery I passed and I also noticed the Pannobile Taxi, presumably to take people between wineries on Pannobile Day (another tip for next year!). The bike ride was about 24 km and the landscape was pretty much totally flat.

The trip to Gols from Vienna Hauptbahnhof (main railway station) takes about one hour. The OBB has a group fare called Einfach Raus that lets up to five people travel on regional trips for about 30 euros, it’s a really good deal for visitors.

Funchal, Madera

Funchal, Madera

Funchal Public Market - 06

I spoke about social networking and transportation at the CIVITAS Forum 2011 held in October in Funchal, Madera Portugal. Madera is an island in the Atlantic Ocean about an hour-and-a-half flying time to the south west of Lisbon. The conference was great and it was lots of fun to visit Funchal.

Funchal Public Market - 05
Highlights were the public market. The photo above is of a fruit stand that had about ten different kinds of passion fruit!

Funchal Restaurante Dos Combatentes - 2

I ate at a wonderful restaurant called Restaurante dos Combatentes twice, once for lunch and then later in the week for dinner. Very attentive service and great food.

I took a tour of the Old Blandy Wine Lodge which includes a museum and tasting rooms in addition to being used to store and age the wine. Madera wine violates lots of the rules: it’s aged in hot attics and the bottles should be stored upright. It’s a fortified wine so quite high alcohol content. It was fun being able to taste several types and vintages of Madera. Here’s a photo of one of the museum’s tasting rooms.

Blandy's Madera Museum Funchal - 4

The Funchal Airport was great, one of the few that still has an outdoor viewing platform. Here’s a photo of our plane from the viewing area.

Funchal Madera Airport - 05

All my photos of Funchal on Flickr.

Terra Madre Austria – Slow Food Vienna

Terra Madre Austria – Slow Food Vienna

Meat from Sergio Falaschi butcher shop, San Miniato, Italy at Vienna Slow Food Terra Madre 2009.

Last week I helped Slow Food Vienna (German) with the Terra Madre Austria conference in Vienna. Terra Madre is a program sponsored by Slow Food to highlight local foods and local growers/producers. There is an International Terra Madre every two years in Turin Italy, and local Slow Food chapters organise their own versions regularly.

Enrico Gaggini with his Sorana Beans from Pescia, Italy.

Enrico Gaggini with his Sorana Beans from Pescia, Italy.

The main idea is to highlight traditional local foods that are in danger of being lost due to the homogenisation of the food industry. Heirloom tomatoes are a good example. The big food companies want consistent, easy to pick, easy to ship long distances and ‘durable’ tomatoes, we want taste and diversity.

Terra Madre consisted of three parts: a market of variety, a series of classes on specific local foods and an international congress.

Giuseppe Bartolomei with his Podere del Tordo wine, Pistoia Tuscany, Italy.

This was the first Terra Madre in Austria and several local foods were highlighted in the market of variety including: Wiener Gemischter Satz wine, Wachauer Safran (safran grown in the Wachau area of Austria), Grubenkraut (a very old method for conserving cabbage – you bury it four meters deep in the ground for up to three years), several old varieties of pork, traditional mountain cheeses, a unique version of corn that you grind, cook into small cakes and then serve with apple sauce and several other tasty treats. The idea is that a food is designated as a ‘Presidio’ and then a group is formed to support its preservation and encourage others to adopt it.

I volunteered to help a group of Italian producers who participated in the Terra Madre as guests. (I know a little Italian, but my wife and niece are quite good, so actually I volunteered them … although they were only there a little while, but I spent the whole two days at the show.) We helped Alberto Bellesi, from Poggione, an olive oil producer (the green oil in this photo is only five days old), Enrico Gaggini, a producer of Sorana Beans, Giuseppe Bartolomei, from the winery Podera del Tordo in Pistoia (Tuscany), Andrea Falaschi from the butcher shop Sergio Falaschi in San Miniato, and Gulio Malvezzi who makes olive oil in Tuscany, but was showing traditional Pistola Mountain Pecorino cheese.

As a volunteer I found myself being pressed into action when the Rathaus Keller kitchen staff realised that they did not have enough people to peel all the “ox heart carrots” (another traditional food) needed for all the delicious carrot soup. So, I helped with several other volunteers for a couple hours peeling carrots in one of Vienna’s finest restaurants. A good story….

The conference was also very good. The Slow Foods International founder Carlo Petrini gave a great call to arms explaining why food diversity is good for the planet, society and the economy. I loved the point he made that ‘politicians always arrive too late to solve problems, so the people need to take the initiative for improving the world” amen to that!

One final thought, the Terra Madre was partly sponsored by the city of Vienna. The conference was held at city hall, the market was held in the city hall hof, the school for taste was held in the city hall. The city provided financial and logistic support. This is really a great thing about Vienna, the city supports lots of these types of conferences and seminars. The photo in the left is Andrea Falaschi carving the last pieces of the wild boar prosciutto from the bone, leaving a wonderful taste in our mouths as Terra Madre Austria 2009 ends.

More photos of Terra Madre Austria on my Flickr site.

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