Christmas Markets

Christmas lights are more effective when the sun sets at 4 o’clock in the afternoon rather than sometime after eight. Similarly when there’s snow outside a roast Christmas dinner is suddenly desirable rather than just traditional. Growing up in Australia we’re immersed in a set of transplanted European Christmas traditions that aren’t always appropriate in…

Dandelion Salad

Walking along the bike track on the Pleiße river one afternoon I spotted a family getting off their bikes, and heading into the knee-deep grass to search for something. No, it wasn’t the dog’s ball, and this time it wasn’t mushrooms either. They were collecting wild greens. Flicking through my book on wild foods in…

Mushroom Collecting

In Germany every season seems to have its own wild foods, from bärlauch (ramsons) in Spring, to mushrooms in Autumn. Restaurants change their menus with the seasons from asparagus and bärlauch, to strawberries, to pfifferlinge and steinpilze (chanterelles and porcini). The most amazing thing though, is that ordinary people have no fear of deadly toadstools,…

A Wedding Feast in Southern India

An Indian wedding with around a thousand guests requires a wedding feast on a spectacular scale. The dining hall at my friend’s wedding in Tittakudi, a small village in Tamil Nadu, had a constant stream of people entering and leaving. It felt like everyone in the village had come to lunch. Even the elephant had…

Germany’s only Nudelmuseum

What’s a Nudelmuseum? A museum about noodles of course. The pasta manufacturer in Riesa (Sachsen, Germany) runs factory tours on weekdays, and on weekends the Nudelmuseum, restaurant and shop are open. Want to buy 5kg of pasta? No worries, and the choices aren’t limited to macaroni and spaghetti either. The Riesa range includes Spätzle, gluten…

The Asparagus Menu at Der Pimpel

A spring walk along the Danube near Vienna lets you experience a forest with a combination of new leaves, blossoms and bare branches decorated only with clumps of mistletoe. The air smells moist, the ground is muddy, and there are snails crawling along the track. It’s a far cry from the dry, peppery eucalyptus scented…

The Demel, Vienna

If you have a sweet tooth one of your first pieces of German vocabulary should be ‘die Konditorei’, which refers to a cake shop that serves torte. Vienna has a plethora of shops that sell these moist cakes. One of the oldest and most famous of these Konditorei is the Demel K.u.K. Hufzuckerbäcker, that is…