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where to buy prosciutto in Vienna?

Hello people,

Google searches in both English and Italian have turned up nothing more than places to buy a ham sandwich, so I have signed up for Chowhound purely in hope of getting some advice here.

Here's the deal: in July, I'm visiting my uncle who lives in a cabin in the mountains in Moravia (Czech Republic), about 3 hours drive from Vienna. He has asked me to bring a chunk of prosciutto. At least I think he has. He may have asked me to bring a whole prosciutto. To explain the context of this request would take a very long time--it involved a serious language barrier, Google Translate, a death in the family, and a whole lot of eccentricity. The long and the short of it is that I want to bring my uncle a significant amount of prosciutto, but it is illegal to carry it from Canada (where I am) through London (where I am changing planes), or for that matter in to Vienna. I don't like the prospect of trying to smuggle an illegal ham past the sniffer dogs that I always seem to encounter in airports these days.

Before driving to my uncle's place, I'll be spending exactly one full day in Vienna (a Saturday). I don't know Vienna at all, and I'd rather not spend my day tracking down a piece of ham. There may be prosciutto in every supermarket, for all I know; or there may not be. If I could bring it from home, I'd head to the guys at the big Italian deli downtown, have my pick of three or four brands, and maybe even get a deal on buying, say, half a leg. Is there anyone local out there in Vienna who could tell me how they'd go about doing the same thing? (not necessarily the deal, but a reasonable price, nice selection, helpful service--English or Italian speaking would be great)

ny advice would be much appreciated!

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  1. It will not be very difficult to buy a whole or part of a whole prosciutto in Vienna. The Viennese love to eat prosciutto, and you can get it sliced and packed in every supermarket.

    For a whole prosciutto I would go to one of the major delicatessen shops, such as Meinl am Graben, Böhle on Wollzeile or Piccini on Naschmarkt:
    http://www.meinlamgraben.at/Page.aspx...&
    (click on "english" at upper left corner for english version
    )http://www.piccini.at/index2.html

    15 Replies
    1. re: Sturmi

      Thanks a million, Sturmi! Just looking at the picture that comes up when I click on the Meinl am Graben link, I can tell that my main problem will be deciding which kind of beautiful prosciutto I should buy!

      I just hope I don't then find out that you can find good prosciutto for half the price in the town near where my uncle lives: it would be just like him to have it available right under his nose and him not know it because he's never stepped foot in the "fancy" shops.

      1. re: scarciofini

        It'll be worth it for the pleasure of shopping in Vienna. For that matter, you might want to go the Naschmarkt route, since it's one of the planet's great outdoor markets and a tremendous amount of fun to visit.

        1. re: kukubura

          Yes, of course, kukubura, you have a point: Just by chance I visited the naschmarkt this morning and checked for possible sources of "whole prosciutto". Within walking distance of the famous and traditional Piccini delicatessen, which is a great source of prosciutto, whole or sliced, there are three more stalls where you can buy any style and amount of prosciutto:

          The also very famous (just recently Anthony Bourdain was there) Urbanek, who is a local institution and offers great quality of ham, prosciutto, cheese and wine and more in a minuscule setup:
          http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant...

          and Pöhl am Naschmarkt, just a few steps from Urbanek, offering also a great selection of prosciutto, ham, lard, bacon and sausages as well as cheese and wine:
          http://www.poehlamnaschmarkt.at/index...

          But you can also buy prosciutto in any size at the local outlet of the Radatz chain, which is a high-end purveyor of meat and delicatessen:
          http://www.radatz.at/filialen/1040_wi...

          1. re: Sturmi

            Hey Sturmi, my wife and I just attended a class in Baltimore by Georg Riedel on pairing wines with the appropriate glasses. Amazing what a difference it makes. He's very quirky, just as a good Austrian should be. And we got to keep a nice set of glasses as a gift. Too bad they're all red wine glasses and all the Wieninger we've been hoarding are whites!

            1. re: kukubura

              But Riedel is offering glasses for white wines as well !!

              OTOH a nice, dry and young white Grüner Veltliner will not need a Riedel glass as desperately as a mature red Bordeaux ...

              We have a nice collection of Riedels but use them only for special events. I am quite a clumsy one, and have broken more than one Riedel glass...

              1. re: Sturmi

                Yeah, they offer all sorts of stuff, but if they're giving us a couple of sets for free we'll take what they give us! ;)

                And, yes, we're counting the days until we smash one. :(

            2. re: Sturmi

              Okay, I was just going to ask about this "Naschmarkt" that kukubura mentioned, so many thanks for the information! Frankly, I would rather spend half a day wandering around a great market than doing any kind of tourist stuff, so I shall be heading there. I think the B&B where we're staying has a fridge in the room, and it's just a three hour drive (unless we get lost) to my uncle's the next day, so I might be able to bring him all sorts of treats.

              I must say this is an auspicious beginning to being on Chowhound. Eons ago I was part of the old Foodwine listserv (remember those?) and I'd almost forgotten how real people are so much more helpful than Google! Thanks again, you two!

              1. re: scarciofini

                Hello Scarciofini,
                Just to avoid any disappointment: the Naschmarkt definitely is a major tourist attraction, but this does not diminish its primary function as a great market. And especially Saturday mornings are extremely busy at Naschmarkt, so be prepared to queue up for your prosciutto...

                Vienna ist one of the cities (like NYC, London or Paris), where the great number of tourists will never be able to diminish its primary city functions. And, not unlike these other great cities, Vienna has kept most of its traditional infrastructure intact, e.g. by placing all the new business skyscrapers in two small areas at the city outskirts.

                I am sure you will enjoy your shopping experience and come back for more !

                1. re: Sturmi

                  No worries--the presence of tourists can't detract from the pleasures of a market, as long as the market doesn't exist solely FOR the tourists (which I can't imagine happening in any big European city).

                  I just got a barely-intelligible Google-translated message from my uncle telling me "prosciutto not transport to the customs office in Vienna problem." He seems to miss the point that it may be a problem whether I deliberately "transport" it to the customs office or not. I confess to having smuggled a bit of ham in my youth, but I think I'd rather buy it in Vienna this time!

                  1. re: scarciofini

                    You uncle is completely right: it is not possible to import any meat product into the EU, unless it is less than 10 kg AND imported from Croatia, the Faeroe Islands, Greenland, or Iceland.

                    http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/anima...

                    Of course there is NO restriction of ANY import from Vienna to Moravia, both being part of the EU.

                    1. re: Sturmi

                      Hi Sturmi,

                      Just wanted to let you know that the prosciutto was a HUGE hit with my uncle. I went to Piccini on Naschmarkt and asked if I could buy a chunk of prosciutto rather than slices. As luck would have it, the guy had a seriously large shank end of gorgeous San Daniele prosciutto in the back fridge, and offered to sell it to me for ten Euros, which was a steal. I paid another ten Euros for 200 g of sliced prosciutto, because for me part of the pleasure in prosciutto is eating it in paper-thin melt-in-your-mouth slices. It turned out that my uncle couldn't care less about sliced prosciutto (which he can buy vacuum packed at his supermarket), but he went crazy for the shank, which he hacked off in thick slices and ate with bread and the good cheeses that I picked up at a nice little cheese shop across the road from Piccini. Anyway, we enjoyed Vienna so much that we're thinking of going back for Christmas. We found a great B&B with what I think was a really old-fashioned good neighbourhood restaurant nearby (I had a plate of black pudding cooked with potatoes...very tasty), enjoyed an evening at Gmoakeller, which seems to be recommended here, and just had a good time all around. So thank you for your help back in June--it really made things easier!

                      1. re: scarciofini

                        This is really good news !! Great !!
                        And: PLEASE ! Let us know the name of the old fashioned neighbourhood restaurant where you enjoyed your Blunzngröstl !! This is my favourite dish...

                        1. re: Sturmi

                          A very satisfying recap! Vienna is a truly great city. Glad you had a good time. I knew that buying the prosciutto for your uncle would end up being more than a chore.

                          1. re: Sturmi

                            Gladly: the old-fashioned restaurant was Gassner's Wirtshaus http://www.gassners-wirtshaus.at/. It was very close to the excellent B&B where we stayed (Spiess and Spiess), and on their list of recommended places to eat.

                            Oddly enough, it is only open from Monday to Friday. We went on a Friday evening at prime dinner hour (the Greek restaurant around the corner was full), and Gassner's was empty except for a couple of old gents having a drink outside. Normally, I take an empty restaurant as a bad sign and refuse to eat there. But we really just wanted to eat and go to bed (it was the first evening we arrived in Europe), and it was recommended, so we sat down and ordered. Even before the food arrived, I was realizing that it didn't look like a failing restaurant. We were served by the owner, and he just came across as someone who took pride in his establishment and wasn't going to serve us crap. It was a very quiet part of town with lots of office buildings, so we figured that they probably do good business with the office workers during the week and can afford to close on weekends. The only other people who came in to eat while we were there was a couple who looked like they probably lived around the corner and couldn't be bothered to cook that night.

                            It was the first time I'd even heard of, let alone eaten Blunzngröstl, so I honestly have nothing to compare it with to judge if it was a particularly good one or not. It was very savoury, very generous, and served with lots of fresh grated horseradish. I am very keen on blood pudding and on horseradish--though I'd never eaten the two together--so there was nothing to dislike here! I would be curious to hear your opinion on how it measures up to other Blunzngröstl that you've had. It came with a big portion of cabbage salad of a kind I never see here: very light and refreshing, no creamy dressing, lots of caraway. My partner had the pork schnitzel and ordered an extra side of cucumber salad, both of which were very good. Everything had a nice "home-made" feel to it, as if it were put together by an individual who wanted to feed you well. And whatever beer it was they had on tap went down only too easily (I think I was dehydrated from the flight, because I found it hard to stop drinking it!) . The prices struck me as extremely reasonable.

                            So, I have no idea whether it would be worth a trip from wherever you live in the city (or if maybe you've been there already?) but it certainly gave us a good impression of traditional Austrian food.

                            1. re: scarciofini

                              Thank you so much for your report on Gassners Wirtshaus. Yes, this is a gem you will visit even if you live across town !!

                              Their menu shows that their main business is the lunch hour, and I am sure they are full at noon Monday to Friday. This is a quite typical business model, just consider Rudi's Beisl...

                              The Viennese way of life allows for a generous lunch break, and I am sure productivity is still quite high despite this custom , otherwise our economy would not be so healthy as it is in these interesting times...

                              And yes: I will check the Blunzengröstl !!