Following the previous entry's exploration of the difference of chocolate production outside the United States, I feel it more than appropriate to introduce our first Field Report in which Jill Becker will whisk your tastebuds to Austria.
"Liebe ist, wenn es Landliebe ist."*
I’m a romantic at heart. I confess that when I packed my bags in January 2003 to spend a semester studying abroad in Vienna, Austria, I just knew deep down that I would fall in love: with the architecture, the people, the music, the culture…pretty much any aspect of Viennese culture was up for my affection. And not long after arriving, I had indeed fallen head over heels in love. With yoghurt.
I can honestly say I did not expect to find love in yoghurt. My prior experience with the substance had been tainted by too many soupy, room temperature low-fat Yoplaits in Junior High, and by the time I reached fifteen I’d sworn it off, full stop. But yoghurt in Austria is a horse of a different color—a treat so rich in flavor and creamy in texture it is easily at home on a blog dedicated to ice cream. It helps, of course, that it’s made from vollmilch—that is, whole milk (3%) with extra cream added back in. My Austrian yoghurt of choice: Landliebe. It is made, they tell you, from the love of the land and I believe them. The purest ingredients are bottled up in 500g glass jars, ready and waiting to be eaten with your morning muslei, zopf, fruit, or straight from the jar. It comes in 11 flavors and I’ve tried them all.
It all started out very innocently. It was, after all, my duty as a visitor and student to partake in authentic Austrian cuisine. However, my roommate and I became so enamored of Landliebe that we began to consume it in abnormal quantities. Strawberry, blackberry, hazelnut, currant… flavor didn’t matter. Jars of Landliebe became entire meals. Can’t decide what to make for dinner? Have a jar of Landliebe. Running too late for class to pack a lunch? Grab a jar of Landliebe. As our recycling began to pile higher and higher (as our pants became tighter and tighter) we began to wonder if we had crossed the line. So we did the one thing one should never do in this situation: We got out the calculator. In just four months, we had consumed over one hundred and seventy jars of Landliebe. Or, as my roommate and I realized to our horror, we’d eaten the equivalent of her boyfriend’s weight. In yoghurt.
An immediate gross-out phase followed, complete with declarations that we’d never touch the stuff again. But a few days later we were back at the store, Landliebe addicts needing a fix. Our housemates thought us odd, to say the least. But to this day neither of us regret a bite. People do crazy things when they are in love.
*Landliebe’s marketing tagline: “Love is…when it’s Landliebe.” But don't listen to me; listen to the jingle!
Note from 2012: In 2010, I had a roommate who was dating a flight attendant. Thanks to him, I can say that i too have tried Landliebe and, holy cow, is it good!