Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cheese, Hummus, Bread, and Vegetables

Vienna doesn't have Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, Wegmans, or Smith's (nod to the SLC peeps there!).  The closest thing to resemble a big box grocer is a place called 'Hofer' but I can't speak to the character of the place since neither Lisa nor I have been there.  (There is, however, a place quite similar to Costco in that the place is enormous both in size in selection -- and a membership is required -- but since trips there are so infrequent I don't really consider it a source for weekly foodstuffs.)  Anyway, Lisa and I buy most of our food from Vienna's largest and boldest (and most touristy?) food market:  Naschmarkt.  This market is a little over a mile from our apartment -- within walking distance -- and features stalls selling cheese, meats/fish, bread, pastries, vegetables, flowers, wine/beer, and hummus & falafel.  There are also several casual and inexpensive restaurants.  It took a little getting used to buying our produce and fish in a somewhat chaotic environment -- my German hasn't yet reached a point where I can comfortably (even clumsily!) converse with a vendor -- nevertheless, I've grown quite fond of buying 'real' food from local vendors in a relatively small, intimate environment.   This isn't to say, however, that we don't also frequent grocery stores -- mostly for non-perishables -- the two primary ones being Spar and Billa.  Both are chain grocers but rather than placing a few, obscenely large ones throughout a city, several small, corner-market type joints are placed throughout the city (sometimes two per block!).  Here are a few snapshots of our weekly trip to Naschmarkt:

"Cheese Land":  We eat considerably more cheese since we discovered this place.
The mass of people wandering through Naschmarkt.
Carbocide waiting to happen...but so worth it.
Capable of making vegetarians swoon...
And swoon some more
Pure goodness.
Poster-child for eating well and healthy.  Beste Frau aller Zeiten!
Dr. Falafel:  Austria's Best Falafel.  Their hummus is damn tasty, too.


  1. Hi,
    as a Viennese I'm glad you like the Naschmarkt. Although I observed a change from groceries towards more eating joints which is a pity. And then there is the "Oliven-Mafia": it refers to many shops offering literally the same stuff: olives, with cheese stuffed olives, lamb cheese …

    Anyway I hope you get your daily/weekly dose of Wiener Schnitzel and part. Grüner Veltliner ;-)

  2. I would carbplode all over that place. Those breads look amazing! I wish there were more outdoor markets like that around here. Eastern Market is great, but so hard to get to if you live VA...

  3. @Thomas -- "Oliven-Mafia": So true! Weaving your way through that part of Naschmarkt can be pretty tricky when the vendors are waiving olives in front of your face.

    @Brian -- We are pretty lucky in that we live relatively close to the place. I think there are other outdoor markets in the city but I have yet to visit them. Perhaps when you make your way across the pond we can push the limits of carbohydrate consumption, washed down w/ some tasty beverage?!?