A Balkan Jause

Location:Gasthof Brückenwirt
Address:An der Wirtschaftsbrücke 2, 9800 Spittal/Drau
Status:Open (last checked on 28 June 2024)
Eaten:Brettljause, three beers (Villacher)

I fully recognize that judging about an entire population of a region by the Brettljausen served there is culturally insensitive, but that’s what I do, and after 600+ consumed Brettljausen, I feel I am sort of entitled to do that. More than anyone else, anyway. Well, according to my experience, Carinthia is the most Eastern European of all Austrian states, thanks to its cheerful “I don’t give a shit” attitude.

This has nothing to do with the geographical location, by the way. The famous Styrian wine road may be meters away from Slovenian border, but its Brettljausen are generally skillfully designed, with as much attention given to the look as to the taste and definitely more than to the size. When eating a Brettljause in Carinthia, which is also bordering Slovenia, I always think of the Balkan restaurant I visited in Vienna that had a dish called “1 kilogram of meat” on its menu. Hell, in any other part of Austria the Brettljause they serve you will contain a small pickled cucumber cut into many thin slices about 80% along its length (though no one knows why). In Carinthia, they simply give you a huge cucumber, uncut. In Brückenwirt, they gave me two.

The same disregard of refinement was evident in everything else. Salami? Cheese? Ham? No matter what it is, just cut enough slices to make an impressive pile. Too lazy to unwrap the soft cheese you bought at a supermarket? No problem, the customer can unwrap it himself, so leave it in the foil, with the producer’s label still on it. Butter? Leave it in the foil, too, but in order not to feel bad, provide two pieces.

I would of course call it a sloppy Jause, but it was sloppy in a nice way, and the service was disarmingly friendly. I am sure there are better places to eat Brettljausen around Spittal, and there are certainly better places for dishes other than Brettljausen in Spittal, but there is no strong reason to be upset with Brückenwirt.

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