Back to the roots

Breathe out

Text & Photos: Melanie Limbeck

Austria’s DNA. Some might say it’s about the mountains, the rivers, the lakes. Maybe a song or a typical Austrian Gstanzl (stanza). Traditional costumes, lederhosen, dirndl. To me, Austria’s DNA is in a sun-ripened tomato, perfectly called Paradeis in Austrian, freshly picked from the plant; in a bell pepper, bursting with freshness when you sink your teeth into it; in a smooth, orange apricot I carefully twist off the stem to protect its perfection. Or in a golden grape, snatched swiftly to save it from being harvested and turned into wine in the fall. These moments make me realize: Variety and flavours are the essence of life. In Austria, variety can not only be found in gardens, fields or in the kitchen, but also in the language spoken across this magnificent country. A country shaped by its highs and lows. Ever inviting. Ever exciting. There’s a big difference in both the pronunciation and choice of words by people from the Seewinkel in Austria’s East, or the Tyrol Alps, or the Bregenzerwald in the country’s westernmost part. No two dialects are alike. The differences may be small, but they are exactly what evokes this sense of home and belonging in us.
Flavours, unfolding the most of their potential when enjoyed as close to their origin as possible, are the most important part of our food. Eating has long evolved into something more than just feeding the body. It’s about pleasure, appreciating the produce and their tastes. Luckily, Austria is a country where the quality of food is essential. More and more people appreciate, value and enjoy locally produced items of food.
Austrian cuisine boasts a great variety of typical, traditional dishes, most of them striking in their simplicity, often consisting of just a handful of ingredients, complementing each other in the most delicious ways. Think of Goulash, Marillenknödel (sweet apricot dumplings) or Tafelspitz (beef boiled in broth). How nice that Austria is coming back to its roots – and has more and more of them grow in its gardens.


Das Mundwerk
A laarer Sock steht nid. (“An empty sock won’t stand” in Melanie’s native dialect)

A little more than a year ago, when nature started to bloom and spring had sent its first herald, wild garlic, I started my food blog “das Mundwerk.” Growing up in a small village bakery, I have always been blessed with fresh, homemade food. Our family’s vegetable and fruit garden was my playground, the yolks of our chickens’ eggs shined brighter than the sun, and we always cherished my grandmother’s cooking. These are the moments and culinary highlights I strive to capture and share on my blog. I like to present food as a sensual experience, created from local ingredients – vegetables, fruit, cheese, meat – light, from your own garden, a neighbouring farmer or local markets. Recipes that call for no special culinary skills but sensitivity and passion for good food.

Das Mundwerk