/ Lunch from alpine huts
I'm going hut to hut trekking in Austria in about a week and was just wondering what the packed lunch offerings normally consist of. I'm a vegetarian and also don't eat cheese and was just trying to make sure I wouldn't have to bring too much extra food.
Thanks in advance,
Best advice I can come up with is forget being a vegetarian for the duration of your trip ! If you previously ate meat/fish etc, it's no big deal !
I think you'll find that most huts have a small stock of chocolate and cereal bars, plus apples and oranges, so you would just need to carry something to supplement these. Dried fruits, like prunes and apricots are pretty indestructible, as are fruit/quince jellies. I avoid huts like the plague, you never get a good nights sleep !
I've got two 'strict' vegan clients who'll eat most things when in huts with no ill effects. I can't really remember what's normally on offer in Austrian huts but if it's anything like the Swiss-German huts, it'll be largely (fried) meat based. I'd start practising now, if I were you.
In terms of packed lunches, one of my friends just got away with taking sandwich bags and making use of the copious amounts of bread and cheese on offer at breakfast (who can eat 4 slices of bread at 4:30am anyway?!). The rest of us took a handful of clif bars, and then had something when we got back to the hut in the afternoon.
Top vegetarian dishes included Spinatknodel (a bread based dumpling served in butter and sprinkled with parmesan) and Spasekatzle (a pasta based cheese dish which is really tasty). And of course, there's always the amazing Apfelstrudel. Also, if you don't know of it, try the drink called Radler... It's a kind of lemony shandy, and goes down really well after a day out.
For dinner you're likely to get a variation on the non-vegetarian meal, like potatoes, vegetables and fried eggs, or a vegetarian fritter type thing.
It's not really unusual to get a packed lunch from a hut, especially a hut that serves walkers (i.e. not a high altitude one with limited access). I've had huts prepare a packed lunch many times. Quality varies, some have been feasts (cheese, ham, boiled eggs, tomatoes, fruit, chocolate, fruit juice) some have been rather more plain (just bread, cheese). The price is also very variable.
However, a cheese and meat free meal in Austria is going to be tricky at any time of day. The food in huts is pretty much based on pork or dairy products. I think the best plan would be to ask ahead and bring some back up energy bars, nuts etc.
I haven't got any experience in Austria, but French huts I've stayed in are usually pretty accommodating (though some huts ask you pay a "vegetarian supplement", don't get me started on that...). I've traveled with a friend who's intolerant to salt and the one hut we stayed in were very accommodating.
If you phone ahead, I suspect you'll be fine. Just don't expect the most inspirational meal ever, I suspect jam and bread is what you'll get for packed lunch...
I'd back up what others say about it being difficult to avoid meat and cheese. I'm not a vegetarian but try to avoid sat fats. Often there was fruit on offer to go with the ubiquitous bread. Recently on a trip to Lewis I found that a bag of mixed dried fruit helped bread/pitta/oatcakes to go down nicely.
Have you joined the Austrian Alpine Club? - it's worth getting a year's membership just for a single trip, as you'll probably get the money back in savings on the huts and rescue insurance. Also, for some reason, 'teewasser' (to use with your own teabag) is only available to club members in many huts - otherwise you have to buy the overpriced drinks.
We have joined the AAC, it really does seem like a very good deal for all the reasons you list. Is it normal to phone ahead? The guidebook we have suggests it's not necessary, but a couple of people above say that we should?
> Is it normal to phone ahead?
do you mean phone the hut to let them know you are comming/book a place?
yes, do that. highly reccomended.
also phone let them know if you change plan/date/no. of persons etc.
I think the AAC should have a hut etiquette guide, (the Swiss AC do) worth a look.
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