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Food, Dining, & Drinks
Dining in Liechtenstein is fairly formal and, if
invited into a local's home, bringing a gift, like a local wine or one from
your home country is an appreciated thought. You should arrive on time and dress
conservatively; if in doubt, dress more formally.
Once seated, your host might give a short toast and the guest of honor is expected
to reciprocate, although no one else tends to give toasts. This, and the words "guten
appetit," symbolize the start of the meal and your invitation to begin
eating. Eating is done in the continental style, meaning you should keep your knife
in your right hand and your fork in the left. If possible, cut your foods with your
fork, which is a testament to the tenderness of the food.
As you finish your meal, eat all the food off your plate and place your knife and
fork together at the 5:00 position. If dining at a restaurant, the host is expected
to pay for everyone, but many times the host may excuse him or herself to pay at
the bar or cashier station. If you dined at a local's house, it is appreciated
to send a hand-written thank you note the following day.
Most restaurants and bars include a service charge in your bill, but if not, about
10-15% is standard. When tipping at a restaurant though, never leave the money on
the table, instead give the money to the server and tell them how much you want
to pay (bill and tip together).
History & Influences
Liechtensteiner cuisine is little more than that
of their neighbors. Being a very small country with primarily
German ethnicity, Liechtenstein's foods are essentially that of their
Austrian and Swiss
neighbors. From the Swiss, Liechtensteiners integrate a large number of cheeses
into their foods, but use local varieties. Similar to the Austrians, pork is the
most common meat used in Liechtenstein dishes.
A strange influence however is that of French cooking
styles. Being a small and fairly prosperous country, the capital of Vaduz is home
to a number of high end restaurants, which have brought French-style cooking techniques
to the people. Despite this influence, many people eat at home and integrate few
to none of these techniques in their daily cooking.
Asparagus: although not truly a staple, asparagus is grown in Liechtenstein and is commonly found in many local
Regional Variations & Specialties
Many of Liechtenstein's most popular dishes
have been borrowed from neighbors, then slightly altered, such as schnitzel or fondue.
A couple more authentically Liechtensteiner dishes, but also harder to find include:
Hafalaaban: a soup or broth with ham or bacon and cornmeal dumplings
Kasknopfl: small dumplings topped with cheese
Rebi: cornmeal or a mixture of cornmeal and semolina served as
a side dish
Although small, Liechtenstein has access to every
popular drink in the world, including soft drinks, juices, tea, coffee, and milk.
International alcoholic drinks are also widely available, but many people have a
preference for their locally produced wines. Although the country is little more
than a mountain valley, grapes are grown on the valley's slopes and from those
grapes, red wine is produced and is fairly popular.
Generally speaking, the tap water is safe to drink in Liechtenstein,
but check with locals for any particular regional differences. Also, many people
may have troubles adjusting to the local tap water, as it will most certainly be
different from what your system is used to.
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