Pig Out!

Here are a few snaps of pork products in Vienna.  Let’s start with head cheese.  This is a product that you rarely see in the USA but is a Central and Eastern European staple.  It is made with meat from the head and other parts of the pig, and then combined with a gelatin rendered from the pig.  It is usually served as a cold cut.  FYI if you live in Brooklyn, (like myself) you can pick up some head cheese at any corner Polish meat store in Greenpoint.

Head Cheese

Head Cheese

This is amazing.  The store front is like a pork product puzzle.  In my initial glimpse I spotted sausage, bacon, prosciutto, and salami just to name a few.  Check it out:

Pork!

Pork!

And here are a few ham hocks, just hanging around.  I saw an Italian family happily munching on one of these next to me at a picnic table.  Truly a family-sized treat!

Hangin' Hocks

Hangin' Hocks

Here is some tasty pork sauteed with some herbs, spices, and some potatoes on the side:

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Pig Out!

Okay, one more close up of the ham hocks:

Pork Explosion

Pork Explosion

The bacon explosion has nothing on these bad boys.

Naschmarkt in Vienna Images

The biggest open-air market in Vienna is known as the Naschmarkt.  Here you can encounter vendors with boundless flavored oils, teas, herbs and spices.  The vendors can smell the tourist on you, and will inexplicably yell out “paparazzi!”  in your direction if you carry a digital single reflex lens camera…  The good news is that the prices are for the most part open to negotiation.  I purchased some grape-leaf wrapped ricotta (pictured) and some fresh nougat (not pictured) and both were quite scrumptious.  Check it out:

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Raclettebrot in Vienna

Raclettebrot

Raclettebrot

What a treat!  This is a traditional Christmas street snack in Vienna, the Raclettebrot.  This delicacy is prepared by suspending an Austrian mountain cheese wheel on a vise, the top of the wheel is melted by a grill or torch, then the gooey cheesy goodness is scraped off by a knife and layered on the top of bread slices.  Raclette is derived from the French word racler… to scrape off.

According to the “Gourmet Cheese of the Month ClubThis style of cooking/eating dates back centuries to the Swiss cowboys who moved their herds into the high Alpine meadows for grazing during the summer months… Their evenings were usually passed in front of a campfire, where this egalitarian, some say primordial, tradition was born. A half wheel of cheese was placed on a rock near the fire’s edge, and as the cheese melted, it was scraped onto a waiting plate of potatoes and pickles.

The smell of the raclettebrot is a bit pungent, but the nose-hair bristling odor that emanates from this delight is well worth each mouth-watering bite.  You can easily find where the raclettebrot vendors are located within Vienna by just following your nose!  These refreshments are also available with ham and bacon, and the condiment pairing is usually a pepper grinder which stands at the ready in case you want a dose spice.  I did… naturally.

Frying Sausages in Budapest

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Pictured above is a typical Christmas market scene in Budapest. Twas here that I came across huge vats of frying sausages.  And I mean huge.  But why do they fry these dogs instead of grilling them?  Grilling does seem like a much healthier option, that’s why the George Foreman Grill does so well.  The George Foreman Grill would help these Hungarians from cooking their sausages in a huge greasy pot of boiling pig fat…. mmmmm boiling pig fat.  Okay, the Hungarians have a point.  Up yours Foreman!!!  Just kidding Champ, I’m a HUGE fan (I hope that sounded convincing.)

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How did they taste you ask?  Pardon the expression, but they melted in your mouth.  The texture was so soft that the tube-steak was almost falling apart and out of the casing… no plastic knife for me!   The taste was salty and delicious with some reasonable spiciness to boot.  Add some of those potatoes he’s stirring as a side and you got yourself some proof.

Fried Pig Testicles

Hello loyal proof readers!  This week I will be posting pictures from a recent trip to Central and Eastern Europe.

On this expedition I encountered various delicious street foods and local delicacies.  I must say the locals do things right over there when it comes to warming up in the cold weather.  There was always some gluhwein (German mulled wine) and sausages available at a seemingly unending amount of outdoor holiday markets otherwise known as Weihnachtsmarkt which are located throughout the city streets.  (More on these later this week).

Where do They Get Their Balls??

Where Do They Get Their Balls??

My first stop takes us to Budapest, Hungary where the natives celebrate the holiday spirit by frying up pig testicles, which are then enjoyed by all.  Here is a picture I snapped of a huge (at least yard wide) frying pan full of them being cooked up for the local revelers.  Nuts!

 

All Hail Deviled Eggs

All hail the glory of that ultimate hors d’ oeuvre THE DEVILED EGG!

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Check out this informational website.  Apparently people have been making these things since Roman times.  Those amazing Romans already invented Roman Law, concrete, aqueducts, and now most importantly deviled eggs!  What an impact!  The “deviling” aspect seems to have to do with heat or spice within the food.  That is a great term that really needs to be applied to more foods.  For instance, deviled nachos, or deviled wings.

What about Drake’s Devil Dog you ask?   Well that term is due in part to the fact that it is the polar opposite and sworn enemy of the yellow or “angel food” cake.  Will the fighting ever stop?!?  Proof.