Take a holiday for connoisseurs in Styria
On our Styria holiday for connoisseurs, we don't just have Producers of ham, chocolate, wine and cheese but also deals with products such as vinegar and pumpkin seed oil from Styria. Going on holiday in Austria's wine-growing regions is pure enjoyment. Everyday products like the ones mentioned are by no means banal in Styria! You don't believe the combinations we encountered in the Styrian kitchens. We would like to introduce these to you at this point. Let yourself be carried away to taste sensations Austria. Perhaps they will also make you want to experience them yourself.
A top-quality vinegar from Styria
Our first stop was the production facility of the Gölles company in Styria, which produces everything from vinegar to fruit brandies and liqueurs to whiskey. Ms. Herta Gölles, the wife of the company's founder Alois Gölles, leads us through the halls where the vinegar matures. They are more reminiscent of a wine cellar, as the apple balsamic vinegar is aged in barrels for several years.
"The smaller the barrels, the more valuable the contents," she explains. “Over time, part of the liquid evaporates and what remains is a condensate with a unique taste.” Years ago, Alois Gölles first produced the apple balsamic vinegar, which is one of the most important products of the producer today. "My husband couldn't stand the normal vinegar and experimented until he produced this vinegar," explains Herta Gölles.
Where vinegar flows like honey
You should no miss this product! We try different types of balsamic vinegar, that have matured over time and work our way towards the company's top product: an apple balsamic vinegar that matures in the barrel for twenty years until it becomes almost viscous. This vinegar is something very special and has nothing to do with the vinegar from the supermarket. It tastes almost like honey and drips in thick drops onto our tasting spoon.
“This vinegar can be combined with sweet dishes, for example on fruit salad or ice cream.” It tastes particularly good with chocolate. Chocolatier Josef Zotter from the neighborhood has created his own type of chocolate with it: Gölles Balsam Apple, which tastes simply delicious. Dark chocolate is wonderfully refreshing and is surrounded by a filling of fresh and slightly sour vinegar, two flavors that complement each other perfectly. You have to try it!
However, Gölles not only produces vinegar. They also distill fruit brandies from fruit grown in-house and from fruit farmers in the region: with apricots, plums, raspberries and many other types of fruit. These brandies and liqueurs mature in glass bottles in the company's cellar, until they are finally bottled and sold.
Alois Gölles has summarized his knowledge of vinegar and noble sour seasonings in a book. In addition to background knowledge about the 8000 year old history of vinegar and the production of vinegar, he provides great tips. You will find out what you can make with your vinegars. There are recipes for potato salad, white and green asparagus and beef salad, old recipes for tyrolienne sauce or sour sausage, recipe ideas for how vinegar can refine beef or recipes such as blue trout in Veltliner stock, alpine salmon with spinach or raspberries "XA".
Pumpkin seed oil from Styria
He is robust like the oil, that he presses in his centuries-old oil mill in Herbersdorf near Stainz in Styria: Gernot Becwar was mayor for almost forty years. He doesn't mince words and, after leaving politics, took over the oil mill, which was threatened with demolition. It once belonged to Herbersdorf Castle. This does not exist anymore. The 600 year old vaulted cellar is still preserved. Today it is used by Gernot Becwar and his wife Ulrike to offer visitors samples of their pumpkin seed oil from Styria, be it in an "egg dish" or together with other Schilcherland specialties. “I first had to familiarize myself with the production of pumpkin seed oil,” he says. "I had no idea, how to do it."
But that came and he is obviously also a marketing genius, because his oil mill has meanwhile been featured in film documentaries all over the world, including by a film team from Korea and the “Hairy Bikers” from England. Busloads of Japanese, British or pleasure travelers from Austria and Germany meet at the Herbersdorf oil mill in Styria. If you want, you can even attend literature readings or cabaret performances in the cellar.
Where the oil tastes like nuts
A visit to the Herbersdorf oil mill is definitely one thing you should not miss: it is extremely interesting and a very special experience. Gernot Becwar is overflowing with ideas on how to make his homeland and its products known, and he is proud of his kernel oil: “Which oil has 0 percent cholesterol, ”he laughs. "Oil can hardly be healthier, can it?"
He shows us, how the pumpkin seeds are crushed between grinding stones. Then they are mixed with salt and water, which is then squeezed out again to separate the ingredients from the rest. The mass is roasted, and thus the pumpkin seed oil gets its nut taste. They press the oil and what's left is the good oil. In Styria, it is not only used to fry or refine salads. Here you can have it over ice cream or fruit as well as with savory dishes. And we can only say: it tastes good!
Gernot Becwar decides to send us on the "bottle train" to Stainz, where we spend the night in the Stainzerhof *. This slow train stops right at the oil mill and trundles comfortably in a quarter of an hour to Stainz through the meadow landscape of the Schilcherland. The train got its name “because of the miracle doctor, who used to practice in Rachling. The Höllerhansl was supposedly able to recognize diseases from the urine of his patients, and so they traveled from all regions with a bottle in their luggage. "
Following in the footsteps of these Styrians, who were healed more by their convictions, than because of the healing powers of the Höllerhansl, we arrive at our destination for the day, to Stainz, where another of our days in Styria ends.
Oil Mill Herbersdorf
Vinegar in chocolate, oil on ice - these are some of the combinations that we discovered in Styria. And they taste great! Reason enough for you to come here and taste them on site?
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Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline