- Vorspeisen (Hors d’ouevres)
- Personal Menu
- Suppenkurs (Soup course)
- Hauptkurs (Main course)
- Nachtisch (Dessert)
- Parting Gift
Previously, I shared my seasonal decor for Fasching. Since the place was so festive, we also had a Fasching Party!
Why a Fasching Party?
On my earlier blog post, I shared that I lived in Vienna for several years and that is how I came to understand Fasching. While there, I also traced my maternal family history back to a small town in Austria named Wallern. I found documents showing the family’s first recorded residence there was in 1723. Originally part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Wallern now lies in Burgenland, Austria near the Hungarian border. Now wine country, Wallern is about a 45 minute drive from Vienna. I visited the town (current population 1700 residents) with my mother and grandmother in 1990 and again with my children in 2005.
I wanted this Fasching party to express my Austrian history and experiences to my guests, and so, it was important to serve an Austrian dinner. I arranged catering with Reedville Catering, a local company I have used often. I was so excited that Chef Ryan was willing to work off menu with me for an all Austrian menu. I also hired local musicians, a pianist and violinist, to provide live Viennese music for the evening (and remembered to schedule a piano tuning for just prior to the event).
TIP: If it is not in your party budget to hire professional caterers or servers, consider hiring local high school or church youth to help you plate and serve the meal you cook for your guests. It is a great way to “scale up” your event, and at the same time, help local youth gain experience and make money! Years ago, I cooked a similar Austrian menu and hired high schoolers to help me serve and clear throughout the evening. The same goes in regard to live music. Check with local high school music departments for talented students looking for paying performance opportunities. There are many young piano players or guitarists who could provide lovely background music.
I next prepared the invitations. I wanted to do something with a little drama, to communicate to the guests that this will be a special evening. Using black and gold Mardi Gras themed border paper, I printed the invitations. I included information on Fasching, as well as party details and attire recommendations. This was to be an opportunity for everyone to dress up like going to a Ball! After rolling up the invitations, I used black satin ribbon to tie them like a scroll. I filled black gift bags with black and gold crinkle cut paper. Next, I inserted Venetian masks for the guests – a man’s Bauta mask and a woman’s feather mask. I found a nice assortment at I Love Masks and took advantage of their sales. (Here is another source for Mardi Gras supplies.) We then delivered the gift bag invitations to the guests. It was fun to see their excitement as they opened them and the anticipation was ignited for the event!
The evening began with guests arriving to live music – featuring Viennese waltzes and music of classical composers known for their time in Vienna. I made sure to get a photo of each couple donning their masks, with the ostrich feather arrangements as the backdrop. Guests were served their choice of Glühwein (hot spiced wine), Gewürzter Apfelwein (hot spiced cider) after their photos were taken, and then OTT, Grüner Veltliner Tausen Rosen 2012 as the Vorspeisen (Appetizers) were passed to the guests: Gesmortes Schweinebauch mit Pfeffermarmelade (Braised Pork Belly with pepper jam), Mini Gemüsestrudelbecher(Mini Vegetable Strudel cup), and Wiener Garnelle Löffel (Viennese Shrimp spoon). All of the appetizers were excellent – the vegetable cups were tasty and a wonderful crispness, the shrimp was perfectly cooked, and the pairing of the Grüner Veltliner made the pork belly sing!
After about an hour, guests were seated at the table, where they found personal layered menus at their place settings. I made these as well. Each page of the menu included historical or culinary information in addition to the course description and wine pairing. Detailed wine notes were attached following the Dessert page.
The Suppenkurs (Soup course) was then served. White lion head soup bowls were filled with Spargelcremesuppe mit Hummer und Kaviar (Asparagus Cream soup with lobster and caviar) and paired with 2018 Weingut Robert Weil Tradition Riesling, Rheingau. The generous portion of lobster gave a richness to the smooth and creamy soup, and the caviar a pop of texture!
Next, the Hauptkurs (main course). Zwiebelrostbraten mit Kartoffeln (Roast Beef with onions and potatoes) was served on a 10″ matte black square dinner plate, and a side of Gurkensalat (Cucumber Salad) in a small matte black square bowl. The wine for this course was 2016 Weingut Prieler Goldberg, Goldberg Blaufränkisch, Burgenland. The crispy fried potatoes and onions gave a nice texture to the dish and mixed with the sauce so beautifully. Guests commented on how they enjoyed the freshness and acidity the cucumber salad added to the richness of the steak entree.
The final course for the evening was Nachtisch (Dessert). There was no better way to end an Austrian meal than with the original Sacher Torte, direct from the Sacher Hotel in Vienna. Planning early, I placed the order. However, due to a clerical error it did not ship in time. Responding to my culinary 911, and with only 48 hours notice, Chef Ryan and his team stepped up and made a Sacher Torte for the dinner party! Amazing service!
Dessert was plated on a small matte black square plate. To accompany the rich chocolate dessert, guests were offered 2017 Weinlaubenhof Kracher Beerenauslese Cuvée, Burgenland, 1968 Taylor Fladgate Very Old Single Harvest Port, Tee (tea) and Jacob’s Kaffee (coffee). Everyone opted to have a little bit of all of the drinks offered and the servers did an amazing job keeping the glasses full!
It was a fabulous evening to celebrate Fasching with seasonal decor, beautiful music, wonderful friends, fantastic Austrian food, and excellent Austrian wines. The guests raved about the quality of the live music, the food and wine, and the impeccable service. As guests left, they were given a gift box containing a gold and black travel candle (scent peony salt) and two Mozart Kugeln – a little something to remember the evening by in the days ahead.
You may not have lived in Austria or New Orleans, but you can decorate for Fasching or Mardi Gras. Seasonal decor is a lot of fun, and it sets the stage for celebrations and events with family and friends. I hope you are now inspired to start planning your next year’s Fasching decor and party!
And remember, if you are local, talk to me about decor rentals!