Gourmet Travel Tips in Southern Styria: Winesome Wonders For You.

The so-called “Genussregal” gourmet shop is a culinary display at the entrance to the vinophile destination of Southern Styria. People come here to enjoy an overview of the regional products as well as to hear the stories about this particular landscape in Southeastern Styria. It comes as no surprise, then, that travelling from the Styrian Volcano gourmet district we first “have to stop here” before heading to our accommodation for the night. Katja, of the German travel blog Wellspa-Portal, is amazed at the creative container display that appears as a hallmark of the “Vinofaktur Genussregal” at the entrance to the Southern Styrian Wine Route. I nod at her knowingly, thinking back of my last visit here together with the international travel bloggers Terry & Sarah Lee (of Live ShareTravel) and Janett Schindler, of Teilzeitreisender.de. Nice. Very good food, and most enjoyable – last but not least thanks to the warm welcome of Dagmar Brauchart and her team (thank you for your positive engagement also during this visit, dear Dagmar!). Listen to her when she asks you: “Do you want to kick off your visit with a typical Styrian starter, scrambled eggs served with pumpkin seed oil?”

My tip for you: Just say YES (even with possible language difficulties in understanding the “Styrian barking” or the “Austrian English” accent in general – most people speak very good English here anyway). And of course, you are always in good hands among the warm-hearted, happy Styrian people anyway. 😀

Steirische Kürbiskernöleierspeis. Also Rührei mit schwarzem Steirergold. Wirklich lecker, und absolut empfehlenswert hier!

Styrian pumpkin seed oil, with its typical nutty flavours, goes very well with fresh scrambled eggs. It certainly is a must-try here in Styria!


Das Genussregal bietet eine Menge Verkostungsmöglichkeiten regionaler Produkte in absolut gemütlicher Atmosphäre.

The “Genussregal” gourmet shop offers a lot of tasting possibilities for wine, pestos, chutneys, nuts, oils, jams, honey, chocolate and much more in a comfy and cosy environment.


Gleich zu Beginn des Rundganges locken die Kürbiskerne in ihrer reinsten (Knabber)Form zum Probieren.

Off we go, then, trying the typical and rather world-famous Styrian pumpkin seeds, the base for the “Black Gold” of Styria – pumpkin seed oil that is healthy and rich in nutrients.


Himmlischer Genuss: Die Vinofaktur Genussregal ist voll mit Geschichten über Erzeuger aus der Region und regt zum Nachdenken über regionale Wirtschaftskreisläufe, Nachhaltigkeit und Konsumverhalten an.

Heavenly pleasures: The “Vinofaktur Genussregal” wine & gourmet shop is full of intricate tasting delights and informs you about all things food economy, regional life cycles and (our own) consumer behaviour. Alternatively, you can simply choose to walk up to the Zotter chocolate fountain and dig right in with your tasting spoon (on the far right of the photo)! 😀


Verkostungsgenuss pur im Genussregal in der Südsteiermark.

Tasting beautiful chutneys at the “Genussregal”: Here, we really get to know what Southern Styria tastes like!


Dass Container ganz schön gemütlich sein können, beweist uns dieser Besuch in luftigen Höhen über dem eigentlichen Genussregal samt Verkostungsführung: Prost beim Weinverkosten, ihr Lieben!

Containers, too, can be put to quite some innovative use and actually display an atmosphere of famous Austrian cosiness: Here, we enjoy a wine tasting high up in the air with a look over the area.


Travelling to our Hotel Gut Pössnitzberg, we pass the largest “Klapotetz” in the whole world. Upon arrival, our host & managing director Thomas Prenneis is there for us, meaning we go straight to the wine tasting cellar.

Of course, you may say: After all, we are in the winesome wonderland of Southern Styria! But: What on Earth is a “Klapotetz“?

Ein Bild sagt mehr als tausend Worte: Riesen-Vogelscheuche inmitten südsteirischer Weingärten mit, nun ja, einem entzückenden Storchenpaar on top!

A picture says more than a thousand words: A so-called “Klapotetz” is nothing else than a local term for “scarecrow”, meaning a kind of wind-mill sculpture that makes some noise in order to chase the birds away during the grape harvest in the vineyards. This one, though, the largest one in the whole world, is rather inviting to birds and has two storks linger upon its top bar.!


Just past the “Vinofaktur Genussregal” is the beginning of the South Styrian Wine Road. On the way to our winesome accommodation for the night, we pass the most important little towns of this wine district: Ehrenhausen. Glanz. Gamlitz. Schlossberg. And finally: The Pössnitzberg hill. High up on the steep slopes of this beautiful country, our eyes are happy to wander off into the distance, our ears notice nothing but peace and quiet whereas all our senses immediately warm to the delicate green of spring. Here, the Hotel Gut Pössnitzberg is located along with its sparkling wine cellar, the “Kreuzwirt” restaurant and the estate of the family and business empire Polz, “la Grande Dame” among all the renowned South Styrian wine-growing families. Of the family, we later meet Erich, Walter, Margaret and Lukas Polz; for now, we simply enjoy the pleasure of our charming host Thomas Prenneis’ company. He is very happy to have us and show us around, soon passing to the most famous part of the visit: The Polz sparkling wine cellar. “Now, let us start with a small tasting, so I may relax from my last six-hour meeting, too,” he says in a cheerful voice. More than two hours later, we are brimming with (information about) WINE and the South Styrian wine district, as well as lots of adventure stories concerning Thomas Prenneis’ globetrotting career. He really takes time for us and is a host through & through. Finally, the old saying applies: Talking, (wine) and sharing stories brings people together. At the end of the evening, we are all friends. And swear to come back soon. In vino veritas ? …

Ankommen, aufatmen: Thomas Prenneis weist uns ein in die Schönheiten "seines" Fleckchens Erde, dem südsteirischen Pössnitzberg an der Grenze zu Slowenien.

Arriving in Southern Styria: Thomas Prenneis meets & greets us to “his” place on Earth, a rather picturesque and beautiful patch of land …


Worauf Thomas deutet, ist diese wunderschöne und malerische Landschaft hier ...

… that looks like this, also known as the “Styrian Tuscany” …


... und hier ...

… and like this …


... und hier: Das Gut Pössnitzberg verwöhnt mit liebevollen Details wie diesen leuchtenden Blumen auf dem alten Pressbaum vor dem Hotel.

… and like this: The Hotel Gut Pössnitzberg charms us with sweet little details, such as this beautiful flower pot located on a tree trunk that was used as the old wine press in the past.


Gleich bei der Einfahrt grüßt moderne Architektur gepaart mit vielen traditionellen Elementen: Hier das Restaurant Kreuzwirt als kulinarisches Aushängeschild einer gesamten Region.

Modern architecture is combined with lots of traditional and regional furniture details: Here, we are at the entrance to the country hotel and restaurant “Kreuzwirt”.


Innendrin sieht es im Haus denn eher so aus: Schön. Gemütlich.!

Inside, the house displays a lot of warmth and immediately makes us feel welcome.


"Gutfinden" in der Südsteiermark: Die pfiffige Kärtchenlösung macht Lust auf zahlreiche Entdeckungsreisen durch die Region.

Creative just upon sight: These little cards can be taken off the rack and serve to locate interesting places and tips for excursions, such as wine estates or gourmet shops, in southern Styria.


Abtauchen mit Thomas Prenneis: Hier bekommen wir eine exklusive Führung durch die Sektkellerei des Betriebes kurz vor der Verkostung selbiger.

Exploring the sparkling wine cellar of the hotel with our host Thomas Prenneis, we are once more led into the “inner sanctum” of the Hotel Gut Pössnitzberg. Sparkling wine here is made according to the “Méthode Traditionelle”, just as Champagne in the Champagne destination in France.


Später, beim Abendessen, ist dies bloß der "Gruß aus der Küche": Regionale Feinschmeckerplatten ...

Later on, we sit together over dinner that is served on typical plates offering a cross-selection of local gourmet food …


... die sich wenig später beim Frühstück fortsetzen: Lecker !!!

… with lots of wonderful ingredients that continue over breakfast: Heavenly to wake up to this display !!!


(Mein) Lieblingsbild am Morgen: Katja hat's entdeckt. Bevor wir dieses Herz anschnitten, wurde es gefühlt ein Dutzend Mal von allen Seiten fotografiert und natürlich sofort im Internet veröffentlicht. Real Time Marketing vom Hochgenuss des Gut Pössnitzberg, sozusagen.

And this here, too. Katja has discovered the “bread heart” in the morning and we are all simply delighted. Before anyone dares to cut a slice, it naturally has to be photographed from all angles AND posted online immediately. “Real time marketing”, crazy travel bloggers or simply love? You be the judge of that. 😉


Last but not least, we meet with THE wine-growing family of Southern Styria: Polz. They own the “Vinofaktur Genussregal”, the Hotel Gut Pössnitzberg, several wine cellars, estates and Heurigen restaurants. Still (or simply because), they are most charming and down-to-earth!

Margret Polz loves to garden at the “Genussregal” only to greet us a little later at her winery wearing a traditional Dirndl dress. Walter Polz pays us his respects during the previous sparkling wine tasting with Thomas Prenneis at Hotel Gut Pössnitzberg. Lukas Polz is due for taking his final exams at school and enjoys hosting us to a “cool”, guided wine cellar tour. And Erich Polz? “Greetings from Anna!” I tell him smiling, my dear friend Anna having worked nearly a decade at the family wine estate here in Southern Styria. “Oh, dear Anna!” Erich smiles, remembering her well. He immediately starts by telling us a story, and fortunately for our own interest has no intention of stopping any time soon. His stories are incredibly exciting, the excellent (sparkling) wine tasting in the morning adding to the general sense of comfort. “Do you realise why Styrian apple taste the way they taste?” Passion gleams in his eyes when he talks. “Here in Southern Styria, we benefit from a unique microclimate of cool nights and hot days with sufficient rainfall. Together with the soil, this benefits both our fruit and our wine to an outstanding degree: Our apples have already been awarded in Paris as part of a world exhibition some 100 years ago … The idea of starting the “Genussregal” Southern Styrian gourmet shop came thinking of Provence in France, which represents the art of living ‘par excellence’: Regional, local products and the highest quality. This is exactly what we want to showcase here in Southern Styria, too. We are really working with and across the region to present our wine and our products. Mutual respect for each other’s work has always been there. I could never say anything bad about the others, because literally every one produced really good wine. We can only move forward by working together, and you too are here to help us with that today!”

This is how you make travel bloggers, and wine growers, happy at the same time. Erich Polz, we can already see that, is a man well-travelled and with clever foresight. We gladly would have stayed a little longer, if it wasn’t for “duty” calling us:


Lunch at the “Buschenschank” wine tavern Polz, run by the legendary Kohlenberger family. Legendary is what you would call the unique presentation of food and drink items here!

The last act of my gourmet travel article here for you is an act of few words. Those of you who have already fallen for the culinary and winesome Southern Styria wine-growing district will certainly be won over once more by the following gourmet “foodporn” photography. Gourmet is short for the pleasure we have had in tasting the following delights. See it for yourself, and thank you dear Walter Kohlenberger for the wonderful welcome here at the Buschenschank wine tavern at the South Styrian Wine Road!

Los geht's: Nachdem wir uns im Hotel Gut Pössnitzberg von allen kulinarisch-kreativen Abenteuern erholt haben, besuchen wir das Weingut und die Kellerei der Familie Polz am Morgen.

Off we go: Right after our break at the Hotel Gut Pössnitzberg, we continue our wine tasting trail at the family wine estate Polz right at the South Styrian Wine Route.


Lukas Polz geht mit uns durch die Kellerei und erklärt uns Wissenswertes rund um den Ablauf bei der Traubenernte, der Verarbeitung im Keller sowie der Lagerung der Weine.

Lukas Polz walks us through the wine cellars of the family estate, explaining all there is to know about handling the grapes, pressing and maturing wine in barrels such as these ones.


Blick auf die Weingärten direkt aus der Kellerei des Weingut Erich & Walter Polz.

A view upon the steep wine hills from the Wine Estate Erich & Walter Polz.


Kurze Zeit später sind wir "schon wieder" mit dem Verkosten, sowie ein klein wenig, Fotografieren beschäftigt. ;)

A little later, we are back to tasting and taking photographs, to some extent. 😉


Die vielfach ausgezeichneten und prämierten Sekt- und Weinsorten des Familienweingutes sind aber auch nicht zu verachten.

All the sparkling wines and wines we get to try here have been awarded many times nationally and internationally, and are simply very very good.


Gleich neben dem Weingut befindet sich die Buschenschank Polz, betrieben von der charmanten Familie Kohlenberger mit wahrlich exzellenter Küche.

Right next to the wine estate, visitors are invited to linger at the typical Buschenschank wine tavern of the Polz family, run by the Kohlenbergers who have us welcome here.


Wir starten also den (Mit)tag mit einem cremig-würzigen Schafskäse-Mousse auf frischen Paradeisern ...

Their food presentation is simply excellent, as is their taste: We start with sheep cheese mousse served on fresh tomatoes with herbs and oil …


... gefolgt von Forellenschaum im Blätterteig mit Apfelkren ...

… followed by trout mousse wrapped in little pastries and served with apple and horse raddish relish …


... dazu gibt's Kürbis-Käse-Croutons ...

… next to it, we find a plate of pumpkin seed and cheese croutons, finely sliced and served on a bed like this …


... gefolgt von geselchter Wurst mit Kren-Ei und Steier (Kernöl) Senf ...

… as well as local sausage meat, again with horse radish and “Styrian” mustard, i.e. mustard with pumpkin seed oil.


Doch es ist noch lange nicht vorüber ...

But the story does not end here …


... hier tauche ich beispielsweise besonders gerne ein: Zart schmelzender Kürbisaufstrich mit knackigen Speck-Chips ...

… but rather continues with this excellent pumpkin seed spread, served on pumpkin seed oil and with bacon crisps and onions …


... auch diese warm aufgeschnittene Hühnerbrust mit verschiedenen Chutneys und Kren als Beilage, einfach nur ein Gedicht ...

… this beautiful, warm sliced chicken breast served with several chutneys being another heavenly delight …


... und schließlich, zu guter Letzt diese sündhaft guten Naschereien: Pikante Sulz-Törtchen, welche auch optisch einfach zum Anbeißen aussehen. Wir sind restlos begeistert von Qualität & Präsentation der Speisen. Nehmt Euch Zeit für diesen Besuch hier in der Südsteiermark - es ist der reinste Genuss auf Erden!

… only to finish with these rather radiant little aspic tarts, filled with local meat and vegetables and served in the most intricate and colourful way! I love it, both its taste and presentation, and almost dare not eat it. We recommend you to stop and take your time here at Polz Buschenschank, as it is simply very delightful and HEAVENLY to be here! 😀


Fancy even more “virtual & visual” impressions of the Styrian Volcano district, the wine district of Southern Styria or the Schilcherland wine district in Western Styria? My Flickr Photo Gallery takes you with me on a journey … :

Disclaimer: We have been invited by Hotel Gut Pössnitzberg and their partners to travel to the Southern Styrian wine district. All opinions are my own.

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