No matter how much one loves Brettljause and claims to be ready to eat it in any season of the year and at any time of the day, one has to admit that Brettljause is, fundamentally, summer food. It is hard to disagree, of course, that a great and creative after-work Jause in a dark city bar is better than a disgusting supermarket Brettl in a mountain hut. Other things being equal, however, there is nothing more pleasant than a filling and tasty Brettljause after a long hike, eaten while sitting on a bench with a panoramic view on a warm summer afternoon and while watching the very animals whose relatives’ pieces you have on the tip of your fork.
Unsurprisingly then, that on the first truly warm day this year, after months of the weather that made even the most staunch supporters of the global warming theory start questioning it, I went out for a somewhat half-hearted search for a place to sit and eat outside. I found one in the forest close to Maria Gugging – a village near Vienna known for its museum and a holy spring – but neither did it have a Brettljause, nor did the waiter pay any attention to me for the entire half an hour I spent sitting and waiting. It was during my walk back to the railway station that I passed by an unremarkable building with a pine bundle hanging outside and a menu at the entrance containing something called a “Hauerplatte.”
The building turned out to be a small and refreshingly non-touristic Heuriger with surprisingly good white house wine and a Brettljause that looked and tasted well above my expectations. Both the Speck and the ham were of excellent quality, as was the hard salty sausage. The salami was great, too, but a bit too Italian. I know it is a strange complaint (especially since Italian salamis are probably the best in the world), but Bauer’s salami really stood out from the other ingredients, creating a weird imbalance.
My second criticism concerns the Blutwurst. It is enough that Blutwurst occupies a very low place in my list of favorite sausages, but having to remove its white rubbery skin is an additional unnecessary nuisance. It is not the first time I see Blutwurst served with the skin, and I can still not figure out the purpose.
My last grumble is that the single slice of bread that was served with the Hauerplatte was insufficient, not matter how hard I tried to ration it. These minor issues aside, however, Bauer was a lucky discovery and a good way to welcome the spring, even though I still could not eat outside.