About the food of Liechtenstein

Steg, by Clemens v. Vogelsang

What’s 16 miles away from you right now? The grocery store? Your favorite museum? Perhaps the beach you like to splash around in during the summer? What about your mother’s house? Or the mountains? Now imagine this: Liechtenstein is exactly 16 miles long (and 4 miles wide). No more, no less. You could cross the entire country in the time it takes you to go to that special place.

She’s teeny weeny and, yet, there are still five other countries in the world smaller than her.

Awesome.

Crazy mountain road in Lietchenstein. Photo by Friedrich Böhringer

It almost goes without saying that she’s not easy to find. Tucked away in the Alps, between Switzerland and Austria, very few maps write out her name (there usually isn’t room). I had to zoom in 3 times to even see her on google. This, of course, led to a small panic attack when I thought that perhaps I’d dreamed Liechtenstein really existed.

Take it from me, she’s real. You just have to zoom in a little.

Epic elevation changes in Vaduz, Lietchenstein. Photo by Friedrich Böhringer

Once you take a closer look, you’ll also find her 30,000 people have amazing food. It’s hearty, stick-to-your-ribs mountain food, very similar to neighboring Switzerland and Austria. Cheesy Käsknöpfle, their answer to spaetzle is practically the national dish. Served with caramelized onion and a side of applesauce [Recipe], any skier would be content chomping on a bowl of these noodles [recipe].

For meat, you might enjoy Schnitzel, the pounded, breaded cutlet so popular in the region. We made some when we cooked Austria [recipe], although I have to admit my version wasn’t nearly as delicate as the original – I could have hammered the meat much, much thinner. It’s an art, it would seem. They might serve it with Ribel, a semolina porridge made with plenty of rich butter and creamy milk.

Then there’s all the pastries, streudels, and breads. The most interesting is the King’s Cake [Recipe], served about this time of year for epiphany, or little Christmas… despite the name, there’s nothing cakey about it. While simply a ring of rich rolls seasoned with raisins and citrus zest – the real fun comes in seeing who finds the hidden almond. The lucky winner gets to be King for the day, complete with the honorary crown.

Vaduz Castle, Photo by Michael Gredenberg. Maps and flag courtesy of CIA World Factbook.

So that’s it – this week we’re in the luscious mountains of Liechtenstein – a place where, paradoxically, there’s more registered businesses than people – eating their hearty food. I’m totally into it.

P.S. Are you a good speller? Liechtenstein will give you a run for a money. I misspelled it approximately 5,000 times before I (finally) got it right. Yikes.

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Comments

  1. Annaclarice says:

    I visited here when I was 12 (in 1972). It’ll be so fun to revisit. I think people thought I was making up this country when I mentioned it!

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Wow, how awesome! I’d love to go hiking there.. it seems like such a wonderland.

      • Jessica Bennett says:

        It’s a BEAUTIFUL place for a hike! I went for a day trip when I was in Switzerland for work. It was my first hike through the Alps as an adult, and I was singing songs from The Sound of Music out loud :) For lunch, I had a hearty sausage with potato salad (I don’t like American potato salad, but the potato salad in this region is different- no mayo) and then after my hike, I had some streudel for a snack- yum to all!

        More businesses than people? That’s really interesting. Do they have lax business laws and people set up businesses there but don’t necessarily work there? Or do enough people from surrounding countries come to work there?

        • Sasha Martin says:

          The potato salad sounds interesting – I think I would like it! As for your question, yes… people set up “mailbox” businesses for tax breaks. Although I don’t know why they wouldn’t move there, too… so beautiful!

  2. Stephanie says:

    There are so many takes on the “King Cake” – I’m partial to them because my birthday is on Epiphany (January 6)! My favorite is probably La Galette des Rois, made with layers of puff pastry and yummy almond filling. And of course, who can forget about the bean hidden in the cake — whoever gets it in his/her slice is King for the day.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Happy Birthday (lucky you!)… As for the cakes… oh goodness, do I have a weakness for La Galette des Rois…. we had that every year I lived in Paris… yum!

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