Salzburg Gourmet Trip: Take This for an Extraordinary Entrée!

“Don’t come to me with emails! You can call me any time, even at night, but the computer … I’d rather deal with people face to face!” Walter displays a broad, cheeky grin. His eyes are sparkling with wit, and would you believe it? Walter Grüll is Austria’s one and only sturgeon caviar producer! We are so lucky to be here at the epicentre of good (fish) taste today, and Walter makes no secret of his success: Her loves to take us “behind the scenes” and into every corner of his shop and manufacture, as if we were well-known guests. But we are first-time visitors! At 09.30 a.m. even, we are his only guests, enjoying the privilege of … Walter. His entire family history, his open happiness, his love for his fish, the slow food movement, the careful management of natural resources: “I never planned for my whole family supporting me here in my business! And look how they are all here now. Because, you must know, the love for our fish runs deep. Sometimes, when I see one of my precious sturgeons – they can weigh up to 200 pounds! – I let them live for another five years or so, because I just cannot manage to kill them yet. All of our fish, live much longer than industry permits!”

 

And that is exactly why “Grüll’s Fischspezialitäten” taste so good. I daresay that I have never tried any such fish before.

Really? A world traveller like myself, who prides herself on checking out local food wherever she goes, joining cooking classes and the like – always in search for the freshest fish, whenever and wherever possible? Yes, I must say. The very best fish I’ve ever had is right here in the city of Salzburg. Of all places! Let’s move on to some photos, as all of my emotions can hardly be described in words alone.

Das köstliche Fischfleisch des Walter Grüll oder: Wenn Fisch einfach schnurstracks in den Himmel führt. Ehrlich, so gut ...

Delicious fish on display at Walter Grüll’s shop … Fish may be the ladder to heaven. Seriously good …

 

... habe ich selten Fisch verkostet. Und Walter spart nicht am falschen Fleck, sondern schneidet uns DICKE Scheiben jeder Kostprobe ab ... um 09.53 Uhr bin ich pappsatt. :D

… and Walter is not one to hold back with his precious delights, offering us to taste BIG CHUNKS of fish. I feel full at 09.53 a.m., having only arrived some twenty minutes ago. Here: Juicy, tasty tuna delights. 😀

 

"Hinter den Kulissen", eine Arbeitstür weiter knackt der junge Patrick Grüll auch gerne mal Austern für die angemeldeten Gäste. Serviert werden dazu frische Zitronen und Chablis, wie sich's für Edelgastronome (und ihre Gäste) gehört!

“Behind the scenes”, young Patrick Grüll takes pleasure in opening oysters for us. They are then served with fresh lemon and a glass of white wine – such is the way for gourmet travellers like us.

 

Dazu die "Insider" aus dem Fischtank: "Lustig wird's, wenn die Berta da rüberhüpft zu den Austern und dort alles aufmöbelt und durchmischt. Hihi!" sagt's und gluckst dabei wie ein Kind - Walter Grüll!

Then come the “insider” jokes about the fish tank: “It’s a funny show when Berta here hops around the tank and into the oyster containers, messing everything up in the process”, Walter tells us with his contagious smile. You have to meet his family and experience his unique sense of humour – a true gourmet tip for your next visit to Salzburg!

 

Mum, Dad, daughter & son are all working here – the employees too seem more like friends or family than actual contract workers. Walter makes sure we also get to see and experience every little nook and cranny of his enterprise, including storage, cooling rooms and kitchen. Nothing remains hidden as there is nothing to hide. Amazing! Up until now, I did not even know about Austria’s only caviar producers, let alone how much fun it would be to meet them. Walter’s daughter has already been to New Zealand and will soon be off to Peru – we find out we have a lot in common! I really like it here.

 

But now, brace yourselves for more serious stuff. It is time for learning how to harvest our very own caviar – a unique “creative travel” experience!

“So … would the male sturgeons have the same amount of sperm as the female has eggs here?!”, I ask, rather at a loss at Walter’s expert and quick opening of the large and beautiful sturgeon in front of us, harvesting the world-famous caviar in what is almost one go: How this is to be done, is what we are here to learn. “Creative travel” at its most unique and exciting perhaps – after all, it is not every day that you learn how to squeeze caviar out of a sturgeon fish’ ovaries !!! 😀

Well yes. Travel means adventure. My extraordinary travel entrée as part of the Salzburg gourmet festival is best served in more photos, then – as mentioned earlier, the emotions are very hard to express in words. Check this out!

Nichts für schwache Nerven (oder Mägen am Vormittag ... ;) ) - Walter Grüll beim expertenhaften Öffnen unseres Störkaviar.

So, Walter Grüll teaches us to how to strap the fish of its ovaries and detect the “beautiful lines of caviar” inside this sturgeon lady. Wow.

 

Hier in bereits entnommener Form: Kaviar in seiner wohl reinsten Form.

Here, we see the caviar in what must be its purest form – fresh off the fish!

 

Doch erst wartet vor dem Probieren noch Arbeit auf uns: Wir müssen den Kaviar reinigen, wiegen und portionieren.

However, before we get to do any tasting, we have to do some work: The caviar needs to be washed, weighed and prepared for filling.

 

Wie das geht, verrät uns Walter Grüll in meisterlichem Humor und Fachkenntnissen - natürlich darf ein gutes Gläschen Sekt nicht fehlen. ;)

How this remains to be done, is all expertly explained and guided by Walter Grüll. Who also offers us a glass of sparkling wine, naturally .. after all, we are dealing with one of the top luxury products in the world! 😉

 

Geschenkt bekommt man hier so einiges: Den kleinen Perlmutt-Löffel zum richtigen Kaviar-Verkosten zum Beispiel. Die Dose mit dem Kaviar. Und natürlich das Firmenlogo in edlem Metall - Grüll !!!

It turns out we are really gifted – with this small mother of pearl spoon for example. The small amount of caviar we each get to take home with us. Or the can opener in the form of the company logo – Grüll !!!

 

Walter, ich sag' Danke !! Kaviar wird übrigens zur Verkostung auf dem Handrücken gereicht! Seht mir mal genau auf die Finger ...!

Walter, thank you so much for this amazing day! By the way, did you know that fresh caviar is (best) served on the back of your hand for tasting? Have a close look at my hand and fingers …

 

But it does not stop there. Walter’s “family” (both real and extended!) furthermore spoil us to a big fish lunch right after our creative caviar workshop. If only we were not so full after our early morning (caviar) tasting. Well, what should I say … travel writers lead a very hard life indeed!

On a more serious note, though. I LOVE MY JOB !!! 😀

Weiter geht's mit Gourmet-Genüssen: Fisch-Vorspeise im Hause Grüll.

We continue our gourmet travel experiences: Tasty fish starters at Grüll in Salzburg.

 

Die Vorspeise zur Vorspeise sieht dann so aus ...

This is the starter after the, uh, starter, by the way …

 

... und vor der eigentlichen Hauptspeise müssen wir dann wirklich alle kapitulieren - es bleibt beim Probieren der vielen, leckeren Fischspezialitäten. Wow. Hier muss ich wirklich mit meinen ganz liebsten Leuten wiederkommen!

… making it almost impossible to still go for the “main course” – more delicious fish specialities! I really must make a note of coming back soon. So so good !!!

 

Last but not least, I have a sweet message to share with you. It might have been Walter who wrote it, but we actually found it written on the wall of a cute little wine bar called “Köchelverzeichnis” in the old town of Salzburg. Make sure you check it out, too – a charming lady running the place and perhaps living life just as it is written here.

Long live all love for good taste, dear readers!

:D

Dare live your life, and your love, without too much thinking 😀

 

Disclaimer: We have been invited by Tourismus Salzburg in order to experience the city’s culinary highlights as part of the “eat & meet” festival. All opinions are my own.

2 comments

Sarah Lee 20 March 2014 - 14:08

What an interesting article Elena! And such an unusual creative travel activity. Not so sure I could strap the sturgeon of it’s eggs, but it is good to get closer to where your food comes from. Will certainly have to try Salzburg’s gourmet festival sometime.

Reply
Elena 20 March 2014 - 17:08

You’d be so welcome, Sarah – I am sure Birgit would love to have you here, especially when it comes to organising gourmet trips with you 😉

Yes, it has definitely been one of the most unusual creative travel activities I have encountered so far. Let’s see what the future holds!

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