My talent of choosing the most inappropriate days for hiking did not fail me again, so when I left the train at the tiny station of Übersbach in southeastern Styria, the rain was pouring so heavily that my first desire was to get on a train in the opposite direction and escape as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the next train back was departing in more than three hours, so I had no other choice but to pull a thin and rather useless protective cover over my backpack, open my feeble umbrella and start walking, trying to avoid particularly wet places.
Finding Buschenschank Heschl two hours later was actually a blessing, for as long as my googling the day before had shown, not a single Heuriger was supposed to open before 3 o’clock. It didn’t save me from soaking through, however: when I took the proof of my recent negative COVID test out of the pocket of my supposedly waterproof jacket, I could hardly unwrap it, so wet it was.
The menu of Heschl contained several Brettljause-like items, but I decided not to risk and ordered the one simply called “Brettljause.” The rectangular plank I got a few minutes later looked big and colorful, completely covered with thin slices of different kinds of Geselchtes (smoked ham) and a bit of cheese. A ball of liver Pâté, looking very much like chocolate ice cream, was also present, as was a thick slice of lukewarm Braten.
The juicy Braten was the absolute highlight of the dish. Perhaps after an annoying walk in the rain, I was craving for some “normal food,” but I was enjoying the Braten so much that I was careful to ration it, savoring every piece. The three Geselchtes types, on the other hand, were quite same-y, so my initial enjoyment was quickly replaced with boredom. It would have been much better if Heschl had halved the portions and added something different instead, like Speck or some Salami.
In any case, this Buschenschank was a lucky find, and on a better day I would have happily sat on its veranda, enjoying the view over the green hills and listening to the sheep’s baaahs and meeehs. Inside, it was a bit dark and not very cozy, but at least I had a chance to get dry and wait out the rain.