When I began to research Vienna I felt dismayed. I could not find cooking classes in English or Spanish and well German…. Let’s just say it’s not my strong point. I am a member of the couch surfing movement and decided to contact Viennese locals that mentioned cooking in their profiles to see if anyone could point me in the right direction. Many had great restaurant suggestions or mentioned markets I should make a point to visit. Much to my delight one of them offered to teach me things he grew up eating. He sent me a list of options I could not even pronounce, but he described each one and by the time I finished reading I felt hungry.
We stayed in touch and when I got to Vienna we met up for the first time. He had arranged for 2 separate cooking lessons with his family. He told me that all the recipes I wanted to learn were not his specialty but that his mother, father and aunt had agreed to pitch in. On both occasions we drank the most incredible wine I have ever had the privilege to taste… I believe we drank at least 5 bottles, none of which were younger than 15 years of age. My new friend served as a translator between his family and me. Somehow we managed to erase all language barriers and just have a meal among friends. There was laughter, good food and great company.
By the end of the two classes we had exchanged travel stories (I learned he had been to Costa Rica) and spoken of food a great deal. His family seemed quite entertained at how much I enjoyed each dish they taught me and how much I ate. I took lots of pictures and he promised to email me the recipes in English. The experience was unexpected but very nice. Though I can hardly pronounce the names of the dishes and still have not mastered saying “Prost!” (“cheers” in German), food needs no language or translation and it was all fabulous!