Best Austrian Pumpkin Seed Oil
Planning to spend a week in Vienna next month and want to bring back some of the famous local pumpkin seed oil as gifts (and for myself of course)
Wondering if any of you are more familiar with the product and could educate me on what types or brands to look for.
(for example, I was pretty clueless about balsamic vinegar on my trip to Bologna, but a kind man at the Mercatto Delle Erbe was able to walk me through the differences. So many knock-offs, even in Italy proper!)
quite tricky: there are no "brands" of pumpkin seed oil, and there are many small oil mills in southern Styria, most of them selling only locally. The best way to get real good oil would be to travel around southern Styria and sample at the oil mills !!
When in Vienna, you can buy pumpkin seed oil in any supermarket, but you will not be able to sample their merchandise (and all supermarkets have pumpkin seed oil from different oil mills on their shelves). The best hint might be to go to one of the few delicatessen, such as Böhle on Wollzeile and ask for a tasting sample...
Meinl am Graben will also have a great selection, but no tastings...
Here is a recent review of a systematic test of different "brands":
The most interesting results is the high number of oils produced from Chinese imports, which had a quite high contamination with pesticides...
Do not expect too much from Naschmarkt. It is now less of a market and more of a tourist trap. But there are still a few honorable merchants left, such as Pöhl, Urbanek or Ruzicka.
Ruzicka might be the best address for pumpkin seed oil on Naschmarkt, but he has a single brand only:
the two viennese delicatessen mentioned elsewhere in this post do indeed sell pumpkinseed oils. However they operate as pharmacies and charge ridiculous profit margins. Plus, you might not be told if the bottle you buy is from the latest harvest. You can do better than that.
Some of the most reputable producers have mail order delivery and overseas shipment services. You can order and have the goods send to your hotel or elsewhere. I know for a fact that this works, having used either method for my own usage and for overseas business contacts. Some producers even use special metal containers for shipments.
Please be aware that when buying a bottle labeled as "produced in Austria" you might be buying oil made from inferior chinese seeds. These were shipped to Austria and pressed there, but the type of pumpkin being used is of a lower pedigree and the time lapse between havest and pressing is deadly.
To reward you for efforts in this cause, I give you my recipe for pumpkin seed oil omelet.
Preheat your oven to 80 C. Take three very fresh eggs, separate the white from one egg and wisk it into a firm foam, adding a good pinch of salt. Beat the remaining two eggs, plus one yolk. Heat a non stick pan to quite hot. Now mix two table spoons of your best pumpkin seed oil into the egg white, beating with the whisk - great colour effect! Now add some butter to the pan. Carefully fold the egg whites, now turned green, into the yolks and immediately pour the mixture in the hot omelet pan. After 30 seconds on the stove, put the pan into the over and leave it there for five to minutes.
Serve with toasts, after having sprinkled seeds and more oil on top, plus pepper to taste.
Thanks again all. Just picked up a few bottles of Kiendler oil at Meinl Am Graben. Only 10euro for.the 250mL bottle.
So far I have to say, however, I've been a bit underwhelmed by the classic Wiener Kuche I've had so far at Ubl, Frauenhuber and Glacis Beisl. Was I expecting too much perhaps? We arrived here from Regensburg Germany and I was expecting just bratwurst and sauerkraut and was pleasantly surprised by some of the interesting and inventive meals we had there. Especially at Meier-ein lokal. We elbowed our way into Demel today and Sturmi is right. It's so worth it! Thinking of trying one more beisl before we go, but I'm now starting to miss my Thai or Indian food. Too bad about the Pho places on the markt closing. I could SO go for that about now. Also really tragic about the decline of the Naschmarkt. I'd be beside myself if my beloved St. Lawrence Market were to do the same.
There is a wonderful small Indian on Naschmarkt: Indian Pavillon.
And there is an authentic Thai close to naschmarkt: Isaan Thai on Gumpendorferstrasse 91.
But of course you are right: Ubl, Frauenhuber and Glacisbeisl (and Gmoakeller, etc.,) are maybe just "cheap" variations of true Viennese cuisine. Great for filling up, not great if you are looking for something special.
For the real thing I once more recommend Freyenstein. Or Eckel. Or Wolf. Or Rudi´s Beisl...
And sometimes just one dish is always perfect: e.g. the "Naturschnitzel mit Reis" at Gasthaus Pöschl !!
I did enjoy the Indian food, thanks. A welcome change from the usual. I've got to say, the most outstanding thing I ate in Vienna beside the Anna and Nusstortes from Demel, were the brotchen from Zum Schwarzen Kameel. Wish in hindsight that I had visited them earlier in the trip because I would have liked to return once or twice. Looks like I might be passing through on the way to Graz next fall. Graz also seems like more my kind of place: less busy, more nighlife, more young people, more funky stores. Vienna turned out to not be for me. It felt like it was more suited to old ladies with money, I prefer a place with a more youthful vibe. Even the Spittelburg was kind of a let down.
Much thanks for all of your recommendations!
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