Every now and then, an Austrian province makes camp in Vienna to convince us of their local culinary delights. Consider the Genuss Festival a “best-of” equivalent that showcases high-quality regional food and drink from throughout the country.
- Huge open-air event with dozens of booths
- Excellent place to try (or buy as gifts):
- Regional wines
- Local delicacies
- Unusual foods
- Interactive stations for kids, too
- Located in the central Stadtpark park
- 2024 dates: TBA (was May 12-14 in 2023)
- See also:
Quality meets tradition
(Translates roughly as “come on in”, a message I can endorse)
Vienna is quite the anomaly for Austria as a whole.
Most of the country actually consists of mountains, forests, vineyards, and small farm holdings. And often all at the same time. And each province is fiercely protective of its local character.
So while “industrial” food production certainly exists, Austria still has a strong regional and small-scale agricultural tradition with a range of food and drink specialties.
The Genuss Festival brings them all together in one place: consider it a gourmet trip around the country.
At the event, numerous small booths line the footpaths inside a city-centre park normally known for its monuments to Strauss, Schubert and others who worked with bows and batons rather than beans and barley.
All these participants bear the AMA GENUSS REGION quality seal, which marks family-owned farm shops, manufacturers and restaurants with a focus on high-quality regional food using traditional skills.
On the beverage front, expect vatfuls of wine (including contributions from Vienna’s own vineyards), but also schnapps, fruit juices and mead, for example.
As for food…sausages and cured meats, breads and pastries, and bottles and jars filled with special pestos, vinegars, oils, dressings, jams, mustards, honeys, herbs, spices and spreads.
Those bottles and jars might make good gifts for back home. Not that everything is to take away; many stalls sell food and drink for immediate consumption, too.
Organic (“Bio” in German) products are common. And the food often has an innovative or unusual touch to it.
On my last visit, for example, I spotted rare breed sausages and deer salami, vegan ice cream, sea buckthorn spreads, black garlic, and mountain shrimp. Not to mention wasabi from the province of Burgenland.
A handful of interactive stations also kept the kids engaged; tented areas let them grind their own herbs, try a barefoot parcours, or make butter, for example.
Dates, tickets, and tips
The Genuss Festival is free to wander around and usually pops up for three days in May. I don’t have details for 2024 just yet but the 2023 event ran from May 12th to 14th. Opening hours were:
- Friday: 11am to 9pm
- Saturday: 10am to 9pm
- Sunday: 10am to 5pm
Given the joys of taking a culinary journey through rural Austria, the event attracts a lot of visitors. We try and get there just after opening, even if it means an earlier glass of wine than we’re used to (all in pursuit of accurate journalism).
If you miss the Genuss Festival, you might still catch one of those province-focused events mentioned in the introduction. For example:
- Waldviertelpur: the Waldviertel area is well known for its poppy seed products and beer.
- Styrian Spring: Styria is a mountainous province particularly famous for pumpkin oil dressing, apples and wine.
- Burgenland Kultinarium: the flatter province of Burgenland has a strong wine tradition, too (look for Uhudler).
How to get to the festival
The Stadtpark has a U4 subway station at the western end usefully called, um, Stadtpark; the station pavilion is one of the Jugendstil white & green designs by the famed architect, Otto Wagner. The eastern end has the U3 Stubentor station.
(The event stretches from one end of the park to the other.)
Alternatively, jump on the 2 tram to the Weihburggasse stop.
Address: Parkring, 1010 Vienna | Website