Austrian Thanksgiving

6 hours before everyone in Canada was enjoying their big Thanksgiving turkey dinners, our team was shoveling chicken into our bellies at the Winter Garten in Schladming. I don’t think chicken has ever been so delicious before!

While training in Austria our team decided it would be much less of a hassle to go to dinner at the Winter Garten, a pension restaurant through Haus Katharina, than make our own meals in the small kitchen of our apartment. The restaurant is only a 50m walk from our door, so it’s a great setup. Over the past 2 weeks we’ve become regulars at the Winter Garten and have gotten to know one waitress in particular, named Rommy, very well. She’s quite humourous and loves to joke around with us every evening. She even refers to me as “milk man” because I like to drink milk with my dinner.

So, on Sunday evening when we walked in, the first thing we said to Rommy was, “You know it’s Thanksgiving in Canada today. It’s a special occasion.” She looked at us kind of funny and then her eyes sparkled, “Well, we’ll have to do something special for you tonight then,” and off she went. Perfect. We viewed this as an opportunity to get more food out of our pension meal and so far it looked good.

The first thing Rommy brought out was our salad, except instead of serving it all on individual plates, she brought us empty plates and a big bowl of salad and said, “Like one big family. Do you want me to be your Mommy and serve you your salad?” Priceless. The next portion of the meal was even better. I don’t know if they Googled Thanksgiving or what, but apparently they decided that if they couldn’t serve us turkey, they would find the next best thing for us…heaping amounts of chicken. In total, there were five chickens on the platter they brought out with two different sauces, one being cranberry sauce. It was an impressive display to say the least and considering our team consists of only six people, we each got a pretty large helping. We decided we had to finish this meal off right with a huge dessert, so we ordered a large platter of Kaiserschmarr (the most amazing Austrian dessert ever!). It’s basically a fluffy version of Finnish pancakes cut up into small pieces with icing sugar and a jam dippy sauce. Imagine the picture below multiplied by five, that’s how big our platter was.

Overall, the Winter Garten’s take on a Canadian Thanksgiving was, in my opinion, a success, a bit strange and unusual, but a success. Let’s put it this way, my belly is more than full, which is how a Canadian Thanksgiving should be.

Happy Thanksgiving Canada,

The Austrian Delicacy Kaiserschmarr

Our team sitting in our regular spot at the Winter Garten with our waitress Rommy.