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Austria fears for its Wiener Schnitzel after EU-proposal for healthier frying

Last week the European Commission announced it wants to reduce the presence of acrylamide in food. This carcinogenic substance forms automatically during high temperature processing, such as frying and baking. Exactly how the traditional Wiener Schnitzels are made…

Once implemented, the new regulation will require that food business operators apply mandatory measures to reduce the presence of acrylamide. One of these measures concerns the frying temperature: maximum 175 degrees celcius.

dsc_2121-1024x1820‘No Frittenpolizei!’

Now, the Austrians fear for their Wiener Schnitzel. Often fried in a thick layer of superhot fat in a normal frying pan, the traditional dish could be stuffed with carcinogenic substances. But according to Andrä Rupprechter, the Austrian Minister of Agriculture, the ‘Frittenpolizei’ is a ‘unnecessary bureaucratic monster of the EU’ that he will ‘resist with all his strength’.

Will the real Austria please stand up?

Lucky for him, the proposal still has to be approved by the Council and the European Parliament. The two institutions will have three months to examine it before final adoption by the Commission. But since his own country voted in favour of the European Commission’s proposal, it’s uncertain if Rupprechter will succeed in his war against healthier schnitzels. Will the real Austria please stand up?

About acrylamide

Acrylamide is a substance that forms from amino acids and sugars in foods during high temperature processing, such as frying, roasting and baking. This happens particularly in potato-based products (like fries, chips and baked potatoes), in cereal-based products (like the bread crumbs on the Wiener Schnitzel) and coffee and coffee substitutes. In 2015 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) investigated the substance and discovered that it can cause cancer in mice and rats. Little is known about the effect on people. But based on the animal tests, EFSA concludes that also people are at greater risk of getting cancer if they often eat foods that are relatively rich in acrylamide.

How to avoid it

Since so many foods contain acrylamide, it is almost impossible nót to eat (or drink) it.  According to The Netherlands Nutrition Centre, the best way to avoid the substance, is to have a varied diet and to stay away from fried foods. If you do have a crave for home made fries: set the temperature of your deep fryer at 175 degrees celcius max. Otherwise, keep an eye on the colour: the darker your fries or Wiener Schnitzel, the more acrylamide it contains. The same goes for coffee: espresso contains more of the substance than filter coffee. Since coffee also has some proven health benefits, the current advice is to drink maximum 4 cups of filter coffee or maximum 2-3 espresso a day.

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Source | Heute

‘Immer wieder’ the same song in Austria

Now that the presidential election must be held again, the battle between ‘green’ candidate Alexander van der Bellen and his right wing opponent Norbert Hofer (FPÖ) continues. The Freedom party likes to do this the traditional Austrian way: with lots of beer, schlager music and lederhosen.

I was walking in the Prater this Tuesday evening, when live music drew my attention. Turned out the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) was throwing a big party in the ‘Almhütte’ Prater-Alm. After passing through a modest security, I could sing along with patriotic hymns like ‘Immer wieder Österreich‘ and (having just missed Hofer’s speech) listen to chairman Heinz-Christian Strache speak about rising crime rates (caused by mainly ‘foreigners’), growing unemployment and burka’s (a ‘fabric prison for women’).

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‘Klebergate’

Strache further called the presidential election an ‘international blamage’. The result of the election in May was annulled because of procedural flaws and this week the re-vote had to be postponed because the glue on the envelops used for postal voting won’t stick too well. Instead of 2 October, as originally planned, the new election will now be held 4 December. According to the president of the federation of Austrian municipalities, ‘Klebergate’ will cost municipalities at least three million euros extra, making them ‘stinksauer’ (meaning ‘mad as hell’), he said in an interview with the Austrian Press Agency (APA).

Strache: ‘Reform the system’

The FPÖ-frontman thinks the current voting system should be reformed. “Of course this will make leading politicians nervous,” he claimed on stage. “Why? Because then elections cannot be manipulated that easily anymore.”

About the presidential election

In May this year Norbert Hofer narrowly lost the presidential election against Alexander van der Bellen. The FPÖ then claimed to have detected formal irregularities in the vote counting and demanded a re-vote. In July the Freedom party got what it wanted: Austria’s highest court annulled the result of the election and ordered a re-run. Although the court’s president explicitly stated that there was no reason to suspect so, the FPÖ still claims that the outcome might have been manipulated.
 According to the latest vote polls, Hofer is ahead of Van der Bellen.

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Ignored damage control

In a city where you can eat Kuchen and Käsekrainers just about everywhere, the Viennese have an old fashioned solution to prevent your appetite from getting out of hand.

You would think they are outdated, but don’t be surprised to spot several classic scales in Vienna’s city center. They are mostly located at bus- and tram stops, where people probably don’t have anything better to do than to wait or weigh. Since you’ll often find a Würstelstand at these locations, you can also enjoy a Käsekrainer or Waldviertler, and immediately check the damage afterwards.

But no matter how big and shiny, most people don’t seem to notice the lonely machines.

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P.S. to God

In Viennese churches you’ll often find a book lying on a little table, in which you can write your gratitude and prayers. Most people pray for the health of their loved ones and ask for God’s guidance in difficult times. Others pray for an independent Scotland.

The idea of the ‘wishbook’ is that other people can read your prayers, so that they can pray for you. I don’t know if it actually works this way, but while reading them, I did feel somewhat connected with the authors. We all have our fears, worries and doubts in life, and almost everybody can relate to the woman who wrote the ‘PS: lass diese Frau aus seinem Leben verschwinden’ (‘let this woman disappear from his life’).

If not, you might want to pray for an independent Scotland when Britain votes for a Brexit tomorrow.

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Feel the Force at Vienna’s University

If you want to experience Vienna’s ancient history in piece, set course to the university. Because of its impressive corridors, several movies have been shot here, including an Austrian no-budget Star Wars-film that was released this June.

Founded in 1365, the University of Vienna is one of the oldest universities in the world. And the good news is that you don’t have to be a student or professor to enjoy the cool shades of the ancient corridors. The relatively quiet inner courtyard has become one my favorite reading spots, also thanks to the little coffeeshop that offers good coffee for a Dutch price, which is a rare combination in the inner city.

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From its comfortable terrace, you have a nice view over the inner garden, where students are taking a sunny break and an occasional tourist is counting the faces of famous scientists who used to study here.

 


Möge die Macht mit Dir sein’

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Judgement day in Austria

It’s election day. One of the most important since decades. Today, Austria will choose its new president and future political course: will it turn right of left?

Most Viennese, like my roommate Caroline with whom i went to see a soccer game today, hope for the second. But according to the vote polls, the left wing and ‘green’ candidate Alexander van der Bellen has a bit less than fifty-fifty chance against his right wing opponent Norbert Hofer from the ‘blue’ party FPÖ. And that’s worrying a lot of people around here, I noticed.

Earlier this week I talked to a woman during my lunchbreak on a terrace in the 8th district. She seemed very angry and frustrated about the current political climate in Austria, as Hofer – who is said to have extreme right ideas – is so popular in the rest of her country. But: ‘In Wien kann man noch leben’ (‘here it’s still livable’).

Let’s hope it stays this way after today’s elections. As for now, I am cheering the ‘red’ party.

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Goosebumps at Heldenplatz

Yesterday, on May 8th, Austria celebrated it’s liberation from the Nazi regime. At the same location where Hitler announced the Anschluss in 1938, the Wiener Symphoniker gave a concert under a bright, starry sky.

Although it is the fourth year that the Fest der Freude (‘Festival of Joy’) is celebrated with the famous Viennese orchestra, for me, it was actually the first time that I heard the Wiener Symphoniker playing live.

I don’t know what gave me more goosebumps, though: Beethoven’s Eroica, the majestic Heldenplatz and Hofburg, or the fact that it was here, that hundreds of thousands Viennese inhabitants welcomed Hitler with open arms more than seventy years ago.

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Homemade ‘Karottenkuchen’ for breakfast

Yesterday I arrived in Vienna and met my roommate Sarah and her two cats, Yumus and Django. Today, I enjoyed her homemade Karottenkuchen (carrot cake) for breakfast and learned a thing about bees.

Besides baking now and then, turns out Sarah likes bees. She is a beekeeper and she visits her little friends every few weeks in her aunts garden near Vienna’s city boarders. 

Sarah and Yumus

She told me a lot of bees die as a result of the pesticides used in agriculture. The bees in Vienna are doing quite well, though. That’s because there are less farmers here and bees also feed from flowering trees, not only from flowers that grow in the fields.

 

 

Apparantly, Sarah is not the only bee lover in town. According to her, beekeeping is becoming a true hype in Vienna, also amongst young people. I am very excited to learn more about her hobby.

Weekend break in the Alps

One of the great things about Austria is its diverse landscape. From Vienna, it takes five hours to get to the Tiroler mountains. Don’t buy a normal train ticket, though. You’ll find much cheaper offers on the internet.

My weekend trip to the mountains was my first actual holiday this summer and I was happy to spend it with family and friends. Johanna’s home made Sachertorte makes Viennese pastry chefs look like amateurs.

There are two big train company’s in Austria. You can travel with Westbahn, or choose ÖBB. Westbahn is a private railway company with limited train routes in Austria, but you can travel from Vienna to Salzburg. Also, the trains are very comfortable. Westbahn has several very interesting offers, especially in the summer. Most discount tickets can only be bought online, but sometimes you can also buy them at a tobacco store (‘Trafik’), like all normal Westbahn’s tickets.

You can also try to find a more interesting offer at ÖBB. Check the SparSchiene for the cheapest tickets. The number of tickets is limited though, so the sooner you book, the better. SparSchiene tickets can only be booked online.

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Where one door closes, another is still open

In Vienna, you’ll find a Billa at almost every street corner. Maybe that’s a result of the supermarket’s typical opening hours; if one Billa just closed for the day, you’ll only need a few minutes to get to another one.

Although dining out in Vienna is relatively cheap compared to Amsterdam, buying and cooking your own food is not. After my first grocery shopping, I immediately started a quest for a budget supermarket.

So by now, I’m a loyal customer of Hofer and Zielpunkt. They have some good fruits and veggies and even their bread tastes great. It’s still not as cheap as the Turkish supermarkets in Amsterdam, but Hofer’s ‘Karottenbrot’ – with carrots and sunflower seeds – makes up for everything.

You’ll find most things you need at Hofer. If not, there’s always Billa, of course. And in worst case scenario, you can always find an escape route to a Spar Gourmet – the luxe edition of the normal Spar.

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Award winning beer at Salm Bräu

If you want to drink an award winning beer and eat good meat, go to Salm Bräu. Even the staff is superfriendly. It was here, that I first learned how the Austrians call half a liter of beer: Krügerl. For my stomach, a ‘little’ Seidel was good enough though.

Salm Bräu is a traditional brewery with a romantic courtyard, where you can sit, drink, eat and talk till late in the evening. Me and Jeff shared a ‘Bauernschmaus’, a plate with lots of delicious meat on it. It turned out to be more than enough for two persons, especially combined with the beer, that tastes way better than the Ottokringer beer.

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Salm Bräu, Rennweg 8 (3rd district, Landstraße)

Hippo taking a cold shower

Because of the high temperatures, many Viennese flee the city in the summer. The ones who remain, like to keep their pets happy.

Hiking to a Heuriger

You can drink a melange in Café Central, listen to Strauss at the Musikverein or feel like an empress in Schloss Schönbrunn. But the best Viennese experience is drinking a Grüner Veltliner at a gemütlicher Heuriger.

A Heuriger is a wine tavern where they serve the best Viennese wines and local specialties like cheese, meat and bread with homemade Aufstrich (spreads). They often have a garden or courtyard with large picnic tables, where you can sit in the cool shade of the grapevines. Most of the wine taverns are located just outside of town though, in the middle of the vineyards, with a grande view over Vienna.

So this week, me and my friend Jordan decided to go on a trip to the Viennese countryside and climbed the hill to Nußdorf. Forty charming, but sweaty minutes later we arrived at Sirbu, where we drank Grüner Veltliner like lemonade, tasted some Schinken and watched the sun go down. Also, we noticed that the crumpyness of Viennese waiters isn’t limited to the inner city.

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Sirbu
, Kahlenberger Straße 210, Wien

Old fashioned beer at high altitude

Yesterday evening I got to know Andi, who rents me his room. He suggested to go to 25hours Hotel Wien, where we drank a beer on high altitude.

The view was amazing, what makes the hotelbar definitely worth a visit. But even at a hotel that never sleeps, the Viennese tend to be a bit old fashioned. In many places in town it’s either impossible or inconvenient to pay with your bank card. However this annoys me sometimes, I find it somewhat comforting to know that some people just don’t like to be rushed.

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25hours Hotel Wien, Lerchenfelder Straße 1-3 (7th district, Neubau)

Bad habbits at the Musikverein

As you take your bad habbits wherever you go, today i arrived ten minutes too late at a concert at the famous Musikverein. Luckily, me and two other people could listen to Brahms in the ‘waiting room’ until the first applause.

By that time, half an hour later, we could sneak in and see the rest of the concert. I had a great seating spot at the balcony and was surprised to see several people standing next to an empty chair the whole concert. I figured they had bought tickets for standing places (‘Stehplätze’), but a few of them seemed to be with people who were sitting in a chair. Maybe they wanted a better view at the performance on stage, cause they were sitting (and standing) in one of the last rows at the balcony. Or they had paid for Stehplätze after all and their company just thought wurst.


 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Musikverein, Musikvereinsplatz 1 (1st district, Innere Stadt)

Warm welcome in Vienna

I’m back! Yesterday evening I arrived in beautiful Vienna once again and it felt like coming home. My roommate Alex and I got along immediately and his roommate Andi, who rents me the room, even left me a nice present.

Steirisches Kürbiskernöl is said to be great with vanilla ice.

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Farewell-sushi at Naschmarkt

Don’t feel like Wiener Schnitzel? Try sushi! Judging from the amount of sushi restaurants in town, it’s the second favorite dish of the Viennese. One of my favorite sushi-places is Kojiro, located right next to the ‘gemütliche’ Naschmarkt.

I like small places. They’re so cozy and for whatever reason their littleness is always an indication of good food. On my last day in Vienna it was a bit too crowded in Kojiro though, so me and my friend Petra decided to have lunch at the famous Naschmarkt. Despite of the tourists, it’s really a pleasant market where a lot of Viennese go for a beer or eat whatever dish they feel like. At Tewa, for example, you can have a good organic lunch for less than ten euro, wine included. But we felt like farewell-sushi today.

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Kojiro, Rechte Wienzeile 9 (4th district, Wieden)

Naschmarkt (6th district, Mariahilf)

Graffiti as it’s supposed to

Being the biggest graffiti-zone in town, the Donaukanal in Vienna has a totaly different look and feel than the spotless inner city. I love to walk alongside the canal, where graffiti-artists are allowed to experiment freely.

The contrast couldn’t be bigger. Whereas the inner city is supertidy, the shores of the Donaukanal are covered with graffiti, decorated with dented trash cans and floating garbage. But in this case, the Viennese don’t mind. Cause here, it’s supposed to look that way.

However, that didn’t stop a 30-year old vandal with a lack of creativity from tagging his name all over town. He ruined some great pieces of (graffiti-) art by doing so. It took the police a few months to arrest him and nowadays you see his tag everywhere you go. This July ‘Puber’ was sentenced to fourteen months imprisonment. Hardest challenge for the public prosecutor was to prove the scribblings were actually his.

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Schloss Schönbrunn: world’s biggest doll’s house

One cannot leave Vienna without having seen Schloss Schönbrunn, the famous palace of the Habsburgs. It’s gold-coloured interior with chandeliers and fresco’s is so ‘over the top’, you feel like you’re walking in world’s biggest doll’s house.

Once entered the gates of Schloss Schönbrunn, it’s impossible nót to be impressed by the look of the gigantic palace and it’s huge gardens where every grass haulm has the exact same length. All this fortune couldn’t satisfy every Habsburger though. Elisabeth, the ‘hyped’ empress of Austria better known as ‘Sisi’, used to mock her servants and fled most of the time abroad. The audiotour also mentioned her obsession with her appearance and figure, but apparently the Austrians prefer to avoid the word ‘anorexia’.

Officially, it’s not allowed to make pictures inside the palace. I sort of did, but just to show you how many people visit Schloss Schönbrunn. It didn’t bother me though. You can buy your ticket at a ticketmachine, for which you don’t have to stand in line. And the queue at the entrance moves quite fast. The gardens you can visit for free.

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Schloss Schönbrunn, Schönbrunner Schlossstrasse 47 (13th district, Hietzing)

More about the Habsburgs

 

 

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