Foodie up, up in the air

I love flying. Short-haul flights, long-haul flights… you name it, I just love it.

Over the past year, I’ve been commuting between Zurich and Vienna every other week, sometimes even weekly. Although stressful at times, the air commute really never bothered me.

But a 9-and-a-half hour flight crossing the Atlantic from Vienna (VIE) to Toronto (YYZ) is very different from a one-hour flight between neighboring countries Switzerland and Austria.

Here’s a look into the veggie food served on board in business class on the flight operated by Austrian / Tyrolean airlines.

As a veggie, I had ordered a special meal in advance. Turns out, “vegetarian” means “vegan” for Austrian (just as it does for Swiss airlines, by the way). Thankfully, I could order some extra cheese, and the flight attendants were very kind to accommodate any other requests, too.

The food was very good. The firm catering to Austrian is DO&CO, which also has a restaurant just in front of Vienna’s main cathedral, Stephansdom.

Upon boarding, we were served a drink: water, orange juice, apple juice, or a fruity drink with sparkling wine. I went for the sparkling wine!

We took off at 11 a.m. and the flight attendants started serving lunch only a few minutes after that.

We had an appetizer to start with. My veggie option was a tomato soup with bread crumbs and red & green peppers.

As I love bread, I was happy to see that they were serving several kinds of bread, both white and whole grain. To drink, I ordered a diet coke, since I was already feeling somewhat dizzy from the apéritif I had earlier.

My veggie starter was a salad composed of tomatoes, avocado, eggplant, artichoke, asparagus, and olives. I asked them to kindly add cheese to it.

The non-veggie starter for the others flying in business class was “Antipasti from the trolley”. Styrian Vulcano ham; mountain cheese; goose liver; haricots verts; walnut oil; hummus; olives; smoked salmon; horse radish cream; eggplant goat cheese rolls; crispy greave sauerkraut samosas. I must say, the trolley looked impressive. Even from a veggie’s perspective!

Then followed a creamy zucchini soup. Non-veggies could add fish to it.

The veggie main course was potato puree and buttered vegetables.

I guess this was the part of the meal where veggie and non-veggie options differed the most. Non-vegetarians had a choice among: minced veal patties with potato puree and buttered vegetables; grilled swordfish with saltimbocca potatoes and tuscany-style vegetables; homemade garganelli pasta with artichoke sauce, served with smoked duck breast and fresh parmesan.

Then came coffee. What a treat that was! They gave us a menu with ten different coffee specialties to choose from. Those of you who are familiar with my blog will not be surprised to learn that I ordered an… Eiskaffee! Yes, exactly: they had Viennese iced-coffee on board. It looked amazing and tasted really good.

And with coffee came dessert. The flight attendants came around with a roman-empire-style, lavishly-decorated trolley full of Viennese pastries, exotic fruits, and assorted cheeses.

Since I ordered an Eiskaffee, which is – let’s admit it – a dessert more than a coffee, I just had some grapes from the trolley.

In the four to five hours after lunch, we were served soda drinks and fruit juices from time to time.

Then, one and a half before landing time, came the second service. Though I believed I had eaten enough earlier and wasn’t really feeling hungry, I could not say “no”. I was served another salad dish (my veggie option), together with a fruit salad. I drank a latte with it – I had actually ordered it before the second meal was announced. Bread was also served.

The two non-veggie options were: traditional deep fried chicken with roasted potatoes, creamy cucumber salad, and pumpkin seed oil; mozzarella & tomato panini. Non-veggie dessert was a banana-chocolate mousse.

I must say that, with so much good food to eat and thanks to great service on board, the flight to Toronto was a treat and not at all a hassle. At least for foodies like myself!

9 responses to “Foodie up, up in the air

  1. Holy wow, your in-flight food is much much better than the stuff I’ve seen… we get little plastic containers full of mushy veggies and some sloppy meat.

    • Hi, thank you for your comment!
      An airline shouldn’t serve its guests tasteless food in little plastic containers – and this regardless on the class (biz / couch) one is flying in!
      There’s room for improvement for many airlines…

  2. A tip from an airline employee: There are various special meal codes for vegetarian options and for some reason Vegetarian meal (meal code VGML) means vegan . However all airlines also have Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian meal option (meal code OVML), as well as various special vegetarian options mostly for religious reasons (Asian vegetarian, Hindu, Jain meal, you name it). Just ask the airline if you call them or choose ovo-lacto vegetarian during booking, and you most probably will get something with cheese 🙂

    • Hi, thank you for your comment!

      Yes, you’re right about the codes. But I don’t see them for every flight.

      And I do occasionally call, especially when traveling business, but unfortunately my requests were ignored twice (flying with Swiss). Sometimes I just don’t call simply because I forget 😉

      • Well, I work for Austrian, and in business class all the time and in economy on longhaul flights you always can choose special meals on our flights, if for some reason it’s not possible to choose online, calling and asking for an OVML specifically should get you very far with most airlines as long as a special meal option is available on the particular flight 🙂

    • I know many people who hating flying and avoid traveling all together because of this (or travel much less than they would like to).

      I can’t explain why, but I always loved airports and airplanes. I guess I should consider myself lucky!

      And thank you for your very kinds words! 🙂

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