Originally written on September 9, 2021. Updated 2023
Wiener Schnitzel is a delicious treat that is much beloved in Austria and other countries in that region. It is one of the premier examples of Viennese cuisine and was a classic of many a native’s childhood diet.
Wiener Schnitzel Day celebrates this treat, its culture and its history.
Basically a breaded cutlet that is deep-fried in oil, Wiener Schnitzel is traditionally made from veal, but also can be made from pork.
In Australia, it might even be found made out of chicken or beef.
This dish is actually named after the city where it was invented, “Wien”, Vienna in German.
Wiener Schnitzel was first mentioned in 1831 in a cookbook where it was called eingebröselte Kalbsschnitzchen, and would find its way to Vienna in 1857.
The dish continued to appear throughout the region, and one comment from 1887 said that literally it was “a gastronomic dream”, though the dish it described was a complex affair, including slices of lemon peel, sardines, gherkins, capers, and an unknown array of other spices.
Today’s version of Wiener Schnitzel is also known by other names around the world.
For example, in the Midwest of the United States, it’s known as a “pork tenderloin” and is typically served on a bun as a sandwich. In Latin American, the dish is known as “Milanesa”, in Italy “Cotoletta” and in Czech Republic, it is called “Řízek”.
In Finland, Wiener Schnitzel is called “Wieninleike” and is always made of pork. It became particularly popular toward the end of World War II. Here, it is typically served with mashed potatoes or french fries.
Either way, garnishes for this food vary significantly based on the place where it is served. It may range from a simple lemon wedge to butter, from parsley to potato, from anchovy slices to capers and horseradish.
Wiener Schnitzel is traditionally served with lettuce salad, cucumber salad, or potato salad. Some people serve it with parsley potatoes. A slice of lemon may also be served with the schnitzel. Rice, roasted or mashed potatoes and French fries have also become popular side dishes.
A trip to Vienna is just the thing for experiencing the most authentic and tastiest Wiener Schnitzel found all over the globe.
You can visit the palace where the Habsburg royal family would spend their summers, or view museums that house works of art by famous artists such as Gustav Klimt, Albrecht Dürer, or Hieronymus Bosch.
For enjoying the best of Vienna’s culinary delights, almost any traditional restaurant will serve a delicious schnitzel that’s probably bigger than your head!
And before or after, don’t forget to visit Vienna’s best attractions, including the Schönbrunn Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Hofburg Palace and Museum.
But celebrating Wiener Schnitzel Day can be perfect by creating your own Wiener Schnitzel in your own home.
Images from web – Google Research