Thursday, 14 June 2012

Vienna and the Schnaps Museum

Hallo Everyone,

The home of Mozart and Strauss and one of the most powerful families in Europe The Habsburgs. It is known for its schnitzels, kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake). Vienna has amazing architecture, coffee shops, cutting edge galleries and is thought to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Me sipping on schnaps in Vienna
Day 16:
It had been just over two full weeks of travelling around Europe when we were got to Vienna. I was so tired and over being on a time schedule so on this morning I decided to sleep in rather than getting up super early and walking around Vienna. Rachael had been regularly sleeping over in an unnamed guys room who she had come to actually really like and vice verse. She was tired and so was I so we both ended up sleeping in and spending that morning uploading photos, getting ready and organised in peace. It was just what we both needed! Rachael was getting a hard time about some of the decisions she'd made back in London before arriving on Contiki as a friend of hers has very different values and ideas on life. We talked and I tried to give Rach advice on how she should handle the whole thing and also tried to make her feel better that day. We were already really close by this stage of the trip and it was nice to be able to spend time one on one just talking and hanging out with each other.

I went down to the vending machine that morning and Porfirio tapped me on the back and actually scared the shit out of me because I thought everyone had already left that morning. He asked if I was ok and I just explained I needed some time out. He offered to drive Rach and I in the Contiki coach into town that afternoon if we wanted and we just had to meet him in the lobby. We decided to take him up on this offer later that day and watched him climb a fence and down a steep hill into a short cut to get the bus  from the depot. Whilst driving into town I pretended I was Mia sitting right up the front in the tour managers seat while Porfirio was pumping his European gangsta songs, so funny. He parked the coach and took us to a take away pizza place where we ate some yummy food. While we stood their I noticed there were so many trams zooming around the streets of Vienna and it reminded me a little of Melbourne-Australia. We met back up with the rest of the group at a pick up time to headed to a famous Schnaps Museum.

The Alts Weiner Schnaps (Friedrich Fischer) Museum:
This old Viennese Factory was established in 1875 and is considered as the specialist in the making of brandies and liqueurs, the quality of which is determined by ancient recipes. The factory has been running under the leadership of five generations of the Fischer family, and with this tour we one got an insight into the tradition of the distillery processes.

We were lead around the good humoured and extensive schnapps tasting tour by Gerald Fischer-the great-grandson of the company's founder. Gerald Fischer and his father Gerhard annually conduct about 25,000 visitors from all over the world through this historic schnaps museum. The museum has even been featured on Getaway and regularly gets famous visitors (photos of famous people were hung up around the room). I found it special and unique that his whole family has worked and built up this factory/museum and he wants his own children to be involved in the business when they grow up also.
The original furnishing from 1902 (roll-tp desks, cash registers, copper pot stills..) are still in use. After we were greeted we were lead to the 'composition room' where there were wooden and ceramic vessels containing products manufactured in a natural way. Carafes with different fruits, herbs, nuts, roots, and even pieces of wood filled the shelves. After we listened to many of the processes and procedures of creating these liqueurs we were then lead into the distillation room. In the distillation room we got to see distillation equipment weighing around 2 tonnes while Gerald spoke about the differences between brandy and spirits.

We learnt that in Europe alcohol which is won from fermented fruits by the process of distillation is called schnaps. Genuine schnaps never has sugar added to it – which in England is called 'schnapps' (peach schnapps, butterscotch schnapps…) would be called by Austrians-liqueurs. Genuine schnaps, without artificial aroma substances, is called DISTILLATE, therefore 100% distillate has the best quality with 38-45% alcohol content. The name 'schnaps' comes from meaning to (take it, pick it, snap it). The man was saying that lots of people that walk out of this factory are usually quite drunk if they are not used to drinking such strong alcohol and suggested to take it easy in little sips.

After his talk we then got to go into the tasting and sales room where we tried so many different types of schnaps. I ended up trying 8 different types of schnaps that afternoon and Jess had something close to 15 I think, she was going crazy lol I tried chocolate banana, chili, strawberry, rum and I even got to try one that was orange and had gold flakes in it. My chest was burning after I had shots of Absinthe (the green fairy) and the chili flavoured ones. I ended up buying a bottle that came with two shot glasses in a nice wooden box of the chocolate banana schnaps and plan to drink it on my birthday over here in Europe on the 17th of September as something special! I wanted to send it home for the family but the postage would have been through the roof :( I found the whole tour  ,including Gerald, so interesting and loved learning about the whole production of brandies. I even got a photo with Gerald Fischer which was pretty cool!

Me and Gerald Fischer :))

Shotting schnaps with Jess and Rachael

Distillation equipment weighing around 2 tonnes

Picture of what the office to the museum still looks like with Gerald's family in the pic too!

We Love Schnaps
Girls of Contiki having Schnaps

So many bottles of schnaps to buy :)

Gerald giving his talk about the production of schnaps

Me outside the exit to the Famous Schnaps Museum

Love The Schnaps Drinking Drunken Backpacker

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