At the Buschenschank you can find a cozy place to enjoy down-to-earth, regional food. But what is a Buschenschank anyways? The name “Buschenschank” comes from the Austrian word for “bunch” that refers to the bunch of sticks placed outside to show it is open. So when you see a bunch of twigs on display, it means it is "Ausg'steckt" - it is time to eat! A Buschenschank is a working farm, orchard, or winery where farmers provide homemade, regional food to guests. It is also common for a Buschenschank to be called a “Heuriger” which is German for “this year’s”. At the Buschenschank, everyone is welcome to enjoy a delicious meal in the rustic ambiance of nature. However, be sure to enjoy the Buschenschank before the season is over - once the stock is sold, the bunch of sticks is taken down and the Buschenschank closes.
In 1784, Buschenschänke were created in a law made by Joseph II, the son of Empress Maria Theresia. This special law permits farmers to sell and distribute their own seasonal food, wine, and produce at a price they determine. This is what makes dining at a Buschenschank so special - everything is produced locally so you get the best seasonal food. Today, each federal state in Austria has its own Buschenschänke law, which regulates opening hours and offerings. Since all of the food at a Buschenschank must be produced regionally, traditional Buschenschänke are not allowed to serve warm food. A Buschenschank can register as a hospitality business to serve certain warm products such as grilled sausages as well as bottled beer, but the business can no longer call itself a Buschenschank.
At a Buschenschank, you can expect delicious cold dishes and beverages direct from the farm. The typical Buschenschank dish is the “Brettljause”. It consists of savory cold cuts such as ham, dried sausages, Speck, and other cured meats, rich cheese, delicious spreads such as butter and meaty Sasaka, served with horseradish and freshly baked bread on a wooden board. Pair this filling meal with a side of fresh pickles and a homebaked pastry for an unforgettable dining experience.
In addition to a hearty Brettljause, the Buschenschank also serves regional beverages. You won’t find a bottle of beer or cola here! Enjoy a tasty glass of freshly pressed juice from the orchard. Or how about some fruit wine or cider to accompany your meal? During autumn, try a refreshing glass of “Sturm”, a young wine that is basically fermented freshly pressed grape juice. Finish your meal with some home-made spirits and a round of schnapps for the table. Prost!
By now, you are probably eager to go to a Buschenschank for yourself! Enjoy the local flavors of the region at one of these beautiful farms.
Zauchner Mostschenke (Michaeler Strasse 159, 9500 Zauchen bei Villach) - At this cozy Buschenschank you can expect to be greeted by friendly faces and taste some of the best apple juice in Villach. The “Mostschenke” in the name refers to “Most” a refreshing beverage of fermented apple juice similar to cider. Come relax at Zauchner Mostschenke and enjoy a wonderful regional meal. Opens May 1st, contact by telephone before visiting to confirm opening times (+43 04252/2066).
Chelsea Navarro is an American expat from California, USA.
She has lived in Villach with her partner and dog since February, 2016. She enjoys exploring the Austrian wilderness, drinking Villacher beer and traveling around Europe.