Austria is a county very dear to me, where I often go to relax and recharge my batteries. I like the rich breakfasts, the 7pm dinners and most of all the calm pace that the days have.
I’ve often heard people say that Austria doesn’t have the best cuisine, that all you eat there are potatoes, Wiener Schnitzels, frittatensuppe (a type of broth) and that all you drink is beer or apple juice.
Unfortunately I’m here to contradict such idea. The truth is that you just need to look around a bit to find new tastes tied to traditions, like the ones offered at the Kleeangerle Inn, a Carinthian restaurant in Falkert near Bad Kleinkirhheim.
The decor is characteristic of this area, rustic but warm at the same time. The wood that creaks under your feet, the candles and the traditional wood stove all give you a romantic and vintage feeling.
The restaurant is set on two floors and has three different dining areas: the romantic one for more intimate moments, the festive one to spend a few hours with friends, and a more traditional and rustic one on the ground floor, where wood and kitchen dominate the atmosphere.
The menu is full of classic dishes from the Carinthian tradition, with soups, meat and fresh water fish dishes.
My meal starts with a welcome dish from the kitchen: fresh cheese with speck and herbs.
As a starter I chose the classic Carinthia ravioli with melted butter, homemade pastry that is slightly thicker than the Italian ravioli, filled with potato, ricotta cheese and herbs.
After this great classic, and to keep on the light side as I waited to the main dish, I chose a salad with valeriana lettuce, speck and potatoes.
It’s now time for the specialty of the house: a wonderful pork cooked in the wood oven for over 3 hours. I don’t usually eat the pigskin because is often has a slightly mushy and viscous feeling that I don’t like, but this time it was different. It was so well cooked that it crackled between my teeth just like a slice of fried bacon! A pleasure for your mouth and spirit!
To not leave any of the Austrian traditions out, I also tasted a selection of cheeses from the mountain chalet in Carinthia, delicious to say the least!!! In every bit you could almost smell the hay, hear the bleating of the sheep, and the enchantment of the mountains and their herbs.
After all this heavenly food, it’s now time for schnapps, a small cup of homemade liquor that has great digestive properties. The only misfortune is that is frees some space for dessert, that I really couldn’t miss.
I tried a fritter with a heart of apple, cinnamon and raisins, set on a bed of whipped cream and liquor cherries.
So, for whoever believed that Austrian cuisine was not rich and colorful I can only suggest to go and have a look for places that have a different twist from the usual, starting with the Kleeangerle Inn.
Ph. Andrea Zangrando