Vienna – Wieden – shopping and eating at the Naschmarkt

The Naschmarkt is a 400-year-old food market locatad over the River Wien, to the west of the Innere Stadt.

Two long corridors lined with food stalls and small restaurants occupy a 1.5km strip.

Since 1793 the market sold any fruits and vegetables that were brought to the city on a cart, whereas anything arriving on the River Danube went to a different market.

Nowadays the market sells ingredients from all over the world.

There’s lots of gastronomic eye candy, particularly from the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

Veg stuffed with cream cheese seems to be popular.

There are various kinds of breads, local and international.

This is Wandererschnitte, an energy bar for hikers, containing various kinds of fruits and seeds.

The market is open weekdays from 6am to 6.30pm and on Saturdays from 6am to 5pm. There’s also a large fleamarket on Saturdays.

It’s fun thinking about all the food possibilties while wandering around the stalls and perusing the restaurant menus, but there is only one place you should eat; Urbanek at the north end of the market at 11 Naschmarkt. It’s a tiny family run charcuterie and cheese shop that also serves local wines.

Thinking the shop would be open in the evening, I showed up just after 6.30pm when actually they were technically closed. However the owner Gerhard Urbanek was still there having a drink with a friend. With true Viennese hospitality they both welcomed me in and pressed a glass of wine into my hand. As the shop was shut I couldn’t buy the cheese and ham I’d come for but Gerhard quickly whipped up a platter for me to sample and wouldn’t even accept payment for it.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, the shop had already appeared in ‘No Reservations’ and Gerhard proudly showed me pictures of himself with Anthony Bourdain and various other celebrities. Video here, from 13.00. It turns out that the shop, and Gerhard himself, are a local institution and you’ll often catch the mayor having a glass of wine here after work.

I came back a week later to purchase some goodies to take home and found the small shop jam-packed with around six revellers (it’s a tiny space) being served wine by Gerhard’s two sons. I squeezed in and showed them the picture above and procured 300g of the delicious cured ham to take home for myself, along with some cheese and another long strip of cured belly pork, much to the amazement of the onlookers who couldn’t understand how a tourist knew about the good stuff. Everything I got came from the Tyrol, the Alpine area in the south of the country where the best Austrian food comes from, according to Austrians. The ham was from the famous Hungarian pig breed called Mangalica which I’d also eaten in Brno (see later posts). I also got a loaf of black bread to eat it with from Der Mann der Verwöhnt, the bakery at Minerlgasse 12-14. Urbanek was definitely one of the best experiences I had on this trip, a must visit (A+), so you’ll find it marked in red on my map.

Next, architecture near the Naschmarkt…

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