This was my second walk through the Wachau Valley in its Winterschlaf, and it looked as dead as a year ago. It was a good idea to consult the Net the day before and find Heuriger Donabaum, as along my 20 kilometer long route from Krems to Spitz I saw only one restaurant that seemed to be open, but as it had absolutely no customers I decided to avoid it. I really have no clue what the residents of Wachau do during the winter season. There are plenty of cars parked next to the houses, but there is hardly any light in the windows and there is nobody on the streets. Creepy.
The Heuriger had at least a few people inside, but was very far from being full. For a place that is only open for two or three weeks every year, it was actually quite nice, but then the Donabaum family seem to own half of the town, including a couple of other wine taverns. The wine from their own production that I tried was not particularly impressive, but at the end of the day it was their Hauerjause that I was really after.
The Jause was very typical to the region, in a positive way: cheap, very varied, poor on cheese, heavy on dry meats and spreads. The meats included a lonely slice of blood sausage with a tiny drop of mustard in the middle (a perfect way of serving it, in my opinion), a bit of Schmalz (I would have preferred to have more of it and colder), Schweinsbraten, Geselchtes, Speck, ham and something that was probably a dried and thinly cut Stelze. One of the spreads was a Liptauer – and a far better Liptauer that one can get at any Heuriger in Grinzing, with something mixed into it that made very satisfying noises on my teeth. The other spread was white, creamy and almost tasteless, but as it was quite cold, it went very well with the fresh and warm bread rolls that the Jause was served with.
Was this Hauerjause worth walking more than 20 kilometers? No, but taking a bus to Spitz and then having a 30-minute stroll to the Heuriger would be perfectly justifiable. Especially if, like today, there is no alternative.