Is there somehow a connection?
Dining on delicious schnitzel in Austria or Germany, myMEGusta hardly thinks about Italian food or tunes.
For example, a “must” in Vienna is a meal of wiener schnitzel, the Viennese version of this treat, best found at Plachutta, an upscale chain, her favorite unit being Gasthaus zur Opera, which claims to be “home “ of the “original”. Ad hype aside, it’s simply delicious, a slice of pounded veal, encased in ethereally light breading and fried to a crisp, and feels like the taste of Vienna.
Check out their website to see how it’s done:
Moving along the Danube to Munich, myMEGusta recently enjoyed schnitzel again at Andy’s Krablergarten, a low key, cozy restaurant, where there is a whole schnitzel menu, with different meats (pork or turkey), different marinades and the choice or to-bread or not-to-bread.
That evening, her schnitzel choice was the Bayerischesschnitzel, the traditional style of Bavaria, wafer thin pork marinated in horseradish and sweet mustard, then encased in a crispy crust. The flavor combination was fantastic, savory and crunchy.
The word, schnitzel, evolved from the old German word for cut, “schniz”, with the diminutive “le” for “little”. “Wiener” simply means “Vienna”. (Why Wiener and Frankfurter refer to the same sausage, aka hot dog, is a subject for another day.)
The concept of schnitzel preparation originated in Italy, where it’s called “milanesa”. Think of all the variations like veal (chicken, eggplant) parmesan, the fried fillet finished in a casserole with tomato sauce and cheeses, and the classic Veal Milanese (the same thing as a Wiener Schnitzel).
And here comes the connection with a well known tune, the Radetzky March, traditionally played by the Vienna Philharmonic during their New Years Day concert at the Musikvarein. This is the march during which the audience claps along.
This song by Johann Strauss, The Waltz King, is named for the famous 19th century Austrian Field Marshall Joseph Radetzky who was famous for his exploits in Italy. It was this gentleman who brought the concept of “Milanese” veal to Vienna in 1857. The dish became a craze, and took on a life of its own as the little cutlet from Vienna.
Postscript for travelers to Vienna: Hotel Pension Susanne, across the street from Plachutta Gasthaus zur Oper, is myMEGusta’s “perfectly adequate hotel” choice for accommodations when she’s not staying at a ritzier place on points. http://www.pension-suzanne.at/index.en.php