Austria, with just over 8 million inhabitants, is a relatively small country. The economy is pretty solid and Austrians seem to be hard working and serious people. Know them a little better and you will find out about their quite special sense of humour, witty and sometimes dark, and a notorious tendency to gourmet behaviour. Just see the pastry shops, visit the coffee houses and other hang outs to get an idea ! And Austrians love Italy: pasta, pizza, sunshine, lifestyle, olive oil and good wine !
We took the challenge and, from the early summer, did three grass root events in Upper Austria, styled as ‘Italian markets’.
A few wineries and my daughter Josie involved, we loaded a van with Sangiovese reds, including a Brunello, a Vermentino white, a gorgeous little rosé from Tuscan grape varieties and a very special Pinot Noir from under the volcano. Further, a choice of pecorino cheese and cold cuts, several types of sott’olio (pickled vegetables), two types of native olive oil, a large bag of Tuscan bread, red wine jelly and chestnut honey to go with the cheese, plus all the necessary equipment to present it all to the public.
Later in September, a rather peculiar event: the Wein & Kunst wine festival (wine & art) in the old quarters of Linz, capital of Upper Austria, an age-old, yet refreshingly modern city on the Danube. Wein & Kunst comes yearly and showcases scores of artists and about seventy, mostly Austrian wineries. Wonderful the white, sparkling and sweet wines, threateningly good some of the reds.
A very interesting public and good acquaintances for future business.