Dine at a palace: Henrici at the Esterhazy Court in Austria [classic article]

How often can you say that you’ve dined at a real European palace? It kinda boggles the mind and you know the experience will be so quietly elegant. Henrici, located in what was Prince Esterhazy’s stables in front of the living quarters, is the heart of Eisenstadt, Austria’s Burgenland territory. I was very glad to be hosted to experience it!

There’s plenty of grand seating outside amongst the thick, tall columns, to see and be seen. The menu itself is classically Continental; don’t feel like you have to wear a ball gown or use 18 forks for your meal, either.

The bread service came with olive oil and different compound butters, along with a selection of bread ranging from light to flavored to dark.

For lunch, I had a pumpkin cream soup (pumpkins are very popular in the Burgenland section of Austria), from the Hokkaido and butternut squash. It was a generous portion and rich: with a glass of wine, it could be a light lunch in itself!

The next course I tried was Beef Entrecote “Esterhazy” with root vegetables and buttery dumplings. This dish shows that Prince Esterhazy had his down-to-earth, country side to him. The meat is a good portion, served medium-well — as is very popular in Eastern Europe — with the hearty accompaniments. Just the thing after horseback riding, no doubt.

The dessert I sampled was quite delicate and delicious: roasted plums in Uhuder wine sauce –the Burgenland is known the world over for its exquisite wines — as well as fluffy hazelnut cake, with Blaufraenkisch ice cream. Blaufraenkisch is also a Burgenland wine variety first coveted during Roman times. It supposedly got its name during Napoleonic times, when the Austrian currency was valueless and the French francs were the only currency wine merchants would accept. At any rate, the wine flavors make for an unusual and deeply fruity dessert.

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