– [Leslie] The Danube is the
second longest river in Europe. From its source in the Black Forest it journeys through 10 countries as it empties out into the Black Sea. Many navigate the blue
waterways to famous places like Vienna and Budapest but there’s a stretch
from Linz to Bratislava that holds hidden and
undiscovered treasures. Finding lip-smacking
libations, savory bites, centuries-old sweets and
stories of kings and castles is what makes travel so exciting. 100 Days, Drinks, Dishes and Destinations is brought to you by – [Narrator] With Ama
Waterways, guests can climb, pedal and journey beyond the beaten path while cruising on storied
rivers across Europe. You can find out more at amawaterways.com. – [Joseph] When I picture my
dad Josh, I remember his hands. Strong, they were worn, stained. That was years of hard
work as a lumberjack. His commitment, work ethic, values. That’s what really inspired
me to create Josh Cellars. – [Narrator] Other
worldly and down to earth. Visit Napa Valley. – [Leslie] Come with me to stamp
your passport to delicious. I’m drinks and culinary
expert Leslie Sbrocco. And I’m traveling, tasting,
sipping and savoring the world to share my bucket list of
palate-pleasing experiences. On 100 Days, Drinks,
Dishes and Destinations. (gentle piano music) The river Danube rises in
the Black Forest mountains of Bavaria in Western Germany, and flows 1770 miles through Austria, Slovakia,
Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and
Ukraine into the Black Sea. The river has always
played an important part in Europe’s history and the
many castles and fortresses dotted along its banks, some
dating to the middle ages, speak to its role as a
boundary worthy of protecting. Ships navigating the waters illustrate its importance for commerce and tourism. There are four capitals cities
situated along its length in addition to hydro
power plants and locks. Lots of locks. Which make the river navigable. I begin my journey in Passau, where the river Inn joins the Danube. A peaceful merging of the
waters before heading to Linz. (bright music) I’m in Linz, the third
largest city in Austria. And it might not be on your
travel itinerary, but it should. Brimming with rich
history, it’s the home of the world-famous Linzer torte and many other gastronomic treasures. Linz has been an important
trading center for centuries and more recently a mecca for industry. You can see the past reflected in the city’s historic
buildings everywhere you look. And today, it’s flourishing
as a cultural center. I start my visit in the outdoor market. Most towns in Austria have one where residents buy their
food, supplies, flowers and, oh yes, unforgettable cheeses. Creamy and stinky. It’s fabulous. And cured meats, bacon and
sausages of every shape and size. I can’t help but buy some. So I spied some honey, local
honey that I want to buy. But they also make
sheep’s milk cheese here. And they have the sheep skin right here. – Cream honey.
– Cream honey. – Danke schoen.
– Danke schoen. Honey and olive oil are the things that I love to collect and bring home. This is a bread that’s made with – malt and wheat.
– Malt and wheat. – It’s a mix of them. – So chewy. So dense. It’s fantastic. – This one is dark. – How do I pronounce that? – Sauerteig brot.
– Sauerteig brot. (laughter) I’ll let you do that. It is darker and heavier. Very flavorful. Very earthy. Now this has walnuts,
Austrian walnuts in it. The nuttiness of this comes just screaming out of the bread. With bread this good,
there’s only one way to go. Big. Very big. Oh my. Now I did buy the whole loaf of bread. And it weighs about 20 pounds. Thank you. So I’m waiting for a
(speaks foreign language). It’s a very traditional sandwich. So this is kind of like
the filling of a sausage. A big sausage, but you
know, in a flat form. There we go. I got a double-decker. Salty and savory. It tastes like very, very,
very high quality SPAM. Savory, salty, spicy, crunchy fresh bread. Now I’m on the hunt for something to wash down that salty sandwich. Aha! I spot the thirsty hut with an impressive selection of schnapps. Even in mid-morning,
this is the place to be. I saw from the window.
Can I drink some schnapps? – Yeah you can. – Okay. – What kind of schnapps you like? – What kind? I don’t know. What kind of schnapps should I like? – (speaks foreign language) – (speaks foreign language) Okay. Schnapps is a traditional fruit brandy that comes in many styles. All pack a punch though. What’s your name? – Christian. – Christian. Leslie. – Leslie. Nice to meet you. – Nice to meet you too. Thank you for drinking schnapps with me. Okay, I’ll sit. Sure. – Cheers. – Woo! Thank you Christian. – You’re welcome. Bye bye! – I hurry across town as
I have a date to keep. With a love I found as a child and have kept close to
my heart ever since. Linzer torte. So here at the K.U.K. basically
delivering to the Emperor Hofbackerei is a bakery. And Fritz Rath who I’m
gonna go visit right now has been the master
baker here for decades. Fritz! – Hi Leslie. I’m lucky to see you, yes.
– Thank you for having me. Great to see you. Are we going to make
some Linzer torte today? – Yes we do. You need an apron. – I’m gonna get my hands dirty. Do you know this was one of
my favorite desserts as a kid. And we don’t get very good Linzer torte in the United States. So I cannot wait to learn
how to make it properly. – Maybe the Americans do not bring in enough heart when baking the Linzer torte. – Oh, see.
– It’s very important. – I’m full of heart. All right. – The bottom is prepared.
Butter, flour, sugar, eggs and grounded, roasted hazelnuts. – Hazelnuts. – And the spices are very important. Cinnamon, lemon, and
a little bit of clove. In the middle of the 19th century, the recipe changed from
almonds to hazelnuts. Why? We don’t know. Well, in this area and climate, hazelnuts grow much better. – And just the history of the
torte itself, it goes back– – We know there was an
almond torte offered 1619. – So four hundred years old.
– Yes – We’re talking about a recipe. – 1696 it was first named in a cooking book as Linzer torte. Why it was called Linzer
torte we don’t know. Maybe the people like this
tart Linzer torte, and asked “Well where did you get the tart from? “Well I got it from Linz.” And maybe also this torte
it’s name come from Linz. – And everybody just said, “Oh we got ours in Linz.” – Yeah. – Hence the name.
– Yeah. – But we’re not sure. – That’s all stories. – Who knows. All right let’s get cooking. – So first of all– – So you don’t bake this first. – No. – Tell me about the red currant jam. – This jam is made in (Austrian
town) close to Switzerland. – And it’s just a thin layer of jam. – I don’t know what
this called in English. – It’s called lattice. To do lattice work. – Lattice. Thank you. – Now I’m thinking that
I had my first bite of Linzer torte as a child in Austria. Whenever I see Linzer torte
on menus I’ll order it. – Really? – But nothing is going
to compare with this. I can tell. There we go. – [Leslie] It is a memory for me. Of how good it tasted
and how it wasn’t sweet. But it was very I just remember as a kid biting into it
thinking it was delicious. – A special kind of taste in your mouth. Yeah, I believe you. – Okay so these are mine. So a little bit of red currant jam. And the flavor is tart and sweet but you know, not as tart
maybe as raspberries. Okay, how’s my layer of jam? – It’s marvelous. – I’m just like Mary Poppins. I’m practically perfect in every way. All right. Now the real test. – [Fritz] Better you start in the middle. – How’s that? Oh okay. – It’s easier. – Then you can make it even, right? – Okay how do I? Do I turn it then? That’s how I do it. All right. Well I’m gonna go– Since I did it wrong to begin with, I’m gonna do it that way again. Now I go around? – Yes quite right. – [Leslie] Okay. Now
this is more challenging. How’s that? I’m so excited. – [Fritz] And we’re
topping it at last Leslie. – Topping of the almonds. This is the– – Quite right. – [Leslie] Why are we just doing the edge? So you can see the
beautiful jam in the middle? – [Fritz] Yes yes. – So you use hazelnuts in the crust but then almonds on the top. – Yes. – Very thinly sliced and
slivered almonds here. – [Fritz] And these almonds
are coming from California. (laughter) – Hazelnuts from here – I put ’em in my suitcase
and brought ’em over. – And put it in. – And here we go. – It’s yours. – This way? – Done.
– Now you can wave your hands. We did it. It’s now ready. – It’s torte time. – And we put it out. – Oh the smell in here. The
smell is like Christmas. It’s like Christmas Day when
everybody’s baking and oh. Okay, I’m gonna try it now. – Eat your own Linzer torte and taste it. – I think I had an excellent teacher. – Oh thank you. I’m very proud. – The thing I love about this one is that there is an explosion
of cinnamon and clove and those brown spices. And then the kick of the red currant jam comes right afterwards. – Therefore we use red currant jam. – And you’ve been the master
baker here for how long? – I’m here since 35 years,
so I’m just a successor. 1369 the former Baker’s
Guild bought this house. And the first baker bought this house from the former Baker’s Guild 1517. So it’s really a house full of history. – Well I feel like I’m tasting history I’ll tell you, just by
biting into this crumbly– – Do it and enjoy it. – Yes. I’m tasting history right here. So I’m taking the tram
from the center of Linz which is quite a wealthy city. It’s based upon industry,
things like steel, as well as having UNESCO World
Heritage sites within it. It underwent a renaissance in 2009 and has been getting put back
on people’s maps since then. So I’m headed up to a local favorite and to Postlingberg,
and berg means mountain. So this is what the locals do from Linz on a Sunday afternoon,
to go up and have lunch, to visit the church, but really
to go to the beer garden. Let’s be honest. It’s only about a 20 minute
tram ride from the main square up the hill to the church. You can see there’s so much greenery. 50% of Linz is parks or woods, so you really get a sense
that you’re not in a city, that you’re out in the countryside. It’s getting quite steep now. I’m glad I’m inside and
not hiking this right now. Once at the top, I’m greeted by the magnificent Wallfahrtsbasilika, a mid-18th century Roman Catholic church dedicated to the Virgin
Mary’s Seven Sorrows. Which I find a bit ironic as
the jaw-dropping views here bring me nothing but elation. So you can see the city which takes over both sides of the river, and the name Linz actually
comes from an old Celtic word for the bend in the river right here. And it’s not a wine-growing region. It’s an area that’s devoted to growing vegetables and fruits
from potatoes to asparagus to apple orchards to make the local cider. Following the cobbled road, another of Linz’s storied
institutions beckons. The Postlingberg Schlossl. It’s Sunday lunch, and
the eatery is overflowing with groups of families and friends. The comfortable elegance
and glorious views make it an ideal gathering
spot for special occasions as well as long-kept traditions. Luckily for me, there’s a
unique table for two set aside. Or rather, set way up atop the tower. The only catch, the stairs. And the stairs. And then, the stairs. Wow! I feel like Rapunzel. I’m in a fairy tale castle. Let your hair down. – [Sylvia] It used to be a hotel. That was the original idea
of this little castle. And I believe about 20 years
ago it was totally renovated and turned into a nice restaurant. And it also has this little room here, which is the smallest restaurant of Linz. Only for two people. – And there’s a little
bedroom that people can stay, if you get married maybe here, right? – Yes. – And so we’re here to drink some cider and eat some traditional food. – Yeah. And maybe I should
teach you how we drink cider. – [Leslie] I would like to be taught. – Because we don’t say
just cheers or prost. We use that for wine or beer. With cider we say, and you
have to look into my eyes, we say gesundheit. – Gesundheit.
– Yes. – Really?
– Ya. – That’s what we say when you sneeze. – I know. It means health to you. So this is a healthy drink. – Gesundheit.
– Gesundheit. – Oh I feel so healthy already. – Yeah. And it has less alcohol than wine, so normally between six and seven percent. And it’s the traditional
drink from upper Austria from the region here, made
out of apples and pears. – Just light, delicate, crisp,
with a little bit of fizz. Fantastic with a rich dish like this. – [Sylvia] Mahlzeit. We say
Mahlzeit like bon appetit. – [Leslie] Mahlzeit.
Bon appetit. Mahlzeit. – [Sylvia] This is local roast pork and that’s a traditional meal
that we would eat for lunch like on a Sunday. And we have it with bread
dumplings and cabbage, fried bacon on top of the cabbage. – [Leslie] And the dumpling – [Sylvia] Is made out of bread. – [Leslie] It’s light, it’s chewy, but it’s very, very moist. And the cabbage has such a
nice vinegary taste to it. – And then try the cider again. It goes very well with it. – [Leslie] Tastes fantastic still. I’ve been spying a magnificent book. The wine book. This is a wine list unlike any I’ve seen. It is worthy of a fairy tale castle. Look at that wine list. This wine list is just fantastic. Pages and pages of Austrian wine. But there’s Tuscan wine and
California wine and French wine. Well I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I love it. – Gesundheit. – Gesundheit. – Susse Leben. – Susse Leben. – You shall have a long life. – [Leslie] Assured with a long life ahead, my tasty stay in Linz is now behind me. As the Danube carries me further down river to our next destination. But hold on, when you’re
floating down a river, especially on the Danube,
never is the saying more true, “The journey is the destination.” For the crew however, it’s no casual journey along the waterway. Navigating the Danube is a
highly skilled and at times, very meticulous endeavor. The river drops from an elevation of more than 3500 feet
at it source in Germany, to its final Black Sea destination. To make the descent smooth and safe, a system of locks is employed. The captain carefully maneuvers
the ship into the full lock. The gate closes behind the ship. A valve is released and the
water flows out of the lock revealing the concrete walls. As the gate opens, you can see that the level has dropped to meet a new section of the river
and at this location, a spectacular view of Melk Abbey. Continuing our passage through the magnificent Wachau Valley, even on this overcast day, you can’t help but be
taken in by the beauty. Steep hillsides, castles atop cliffs, abbeys, and terraced vineyards. And then, as you round a bend, a powder blue and white
tower appears on the banks. This is Durnstein, Austria. This looks like it comes
from the pages of a book. It is absolutely nestled into
the cliffs above the Danube. And this is as picturesque
and bucolic as it gets. Overlooking it all from its hilltop perch, the ruins of Durnstein Castle stand in haunting testament to ages past. The hike up a very steep, precipitous path to the top is quite a trek. But well worth the effort. That’s where Richard the
Lionheart was imprisoned on his way home from the Crusades. Simply translated,
Durnstein means dry rock. And that rock lines
every inch of the town. In the walls, in the streets,
and in the buildings. Much of it just as it was, centuries ago. The whole of the Wachau Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site, meaning it’s protected. There are 15th century buildings that remain untouched,
just so well preserved. So you see the beautiful blue
church of Durnstein Abbey and this is iconic. It’s a real landmark. It dates to the 15th century, and then in the 18th century
made in a more baroque style. This is the Rathaus of Durnstein. Not a house where rats
live, but the City Hall. And it’s unique because you
can actually stay here as well. Here, strolling is not just recommended, it’s irresistible and rewarding. Wine shops, cafes, bakeries, gift stores, and a hat shop. I can feel the extreme
temperature changes here and I had to trade in my sunglasses and stop and do a little shopping. So I look like a real Austrian now. Keeps my head warm as the wind comes in. Sure, a hat will do me good, but Durnstein’s distilled specialty, made from apricots grown in the area, offers up warmth from the inside out. – [Bernd] This is apricot schnapps. Have nose please because the
flavor is from the apricot, natural flavor, nothing added,
and it’s a very smooth drink. – It is very smooth. It warms you down to your toes. – And afterwards, when you have the apricot brandy, the schnapps, there’s coming in smooth water, and the apricot mashed,
the puree from the fruit without stones and peel, only the meat and then you get liqueur. – Be perfect if you topped
it with some sparkling water or even better yet, some sect. That would make a lovely cocktail. – Durnstein is called the Pearl
of the Wachau for a reason. It is terraced with these
vineyards into the hillsides, these granite-laden hillsides, and this is Gruner Veltliner which shines in the Wachau Valley. Because of the climate of the river bringing some humidity and tempering some of the extreme temperatures, the grapes can bask in the
sunshine during the day and then when it gets really cold at night, they can kind of shut down and maintain their
brightness and vibrancy. But the beautiful Danube will
moderate those temperatures to keep the grapes happy. You can also hear the birds are happy too. Happy apricots, happy grapes, happy birds. But, alas, I depart Durnstein
with a bit of melancholy, knowing my next stop along
the Danube will be my last. This trip at least. Though Bratislava is one of Europe’s youngest capital cities, this capital of what is now Slovakia is within arms reach
of Austria and Hungary. For thousands of years it’s
been settled by many cultures. All due to its ideal location. Just steps away from the
banks of the Danube river, you can walk into downtown Bratislava and enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine and take in the town square. They used to do markets in the morning and executions in the afternoon here. Three hundred feet above,
this city’s namesake castle dominates and alludes to the
pivotal and powerful ground this has been for more than a millennia. Full of smiling tourists and locals now, many under the watchful eye of the “Man At Work” statue
back in the old town, Bratistlava’s recent 20th century history has been tumultuous, to say the least. Following the First World War, the city and its large German
and Hungarian population were part of a newly-formed
Czechoslovakia. Surviving Nazi rule
and bombing by the U.S. in the Second World War,
the city was rebuilt. The non-violent Velvet Revolution finally did away with communism, and in 1993, Slovakia emerged
as an independent nation with Bratislava as its crown jewel. Getting back to present day, this old city has certainly
embraced modern times. Shops, art galleries, restaurants, eateries, and ice cream stalls galore. It’s all here. But I’m heading to a spot where things have been a brewing for centuries. Klastorny Pivovar, or Monastic Brewery. It’s a pub making its own beer. So I’m here in the monastic brewery, which is a site of a former monastery. Fairly typical for this part of the world. Of course the breweries
were in monasteries. Trying two different types of beer. This one is a pilsner,
lager style beer, lighter. And this one has a little
bit more body to it, but it’s deceiving, it
just has these caramely and caramelized malt
so it’s a little richer and more chocolatey in character. And I’m gonna go deliver these
to some new friends of mine and take a drink. Well I sat at the right table, because Christina and
Preston just got engaged. Show off your ring. Isn’t that awesome? So I’ve worked up an
appetite and a thirst. And I’m here eating some traditional food and drinking some beer, of course. And so you’ve got a sheep’s milk cheese, basically, it’s a spread
with red paprika in it. It’s got a little bit of a tang to it. Almost like cottage cheese. Sort of grainy but with red pepper. That’s quite good. A little bit sweet. And then we’ve got their famous Slovakian it’s like a string
cheese, a braided cheese, Korbaciky, and it’s a cow’s milk cheese. Except I really, really
do wanna unbraid it. All right ready? Now that we know how? Na zdravie! What better way to end
than with a toast of love. To the old, to the traditions, to the legacies of this region, and to the new. To this rather new country, to new uses for old buildings, and to its new energy moving forward. And of course, to my new friends. Only on the Danube. From Austria to Slovakia,
I’ve followed the regal Danube and found fascinating
spots along its banks. I’ve climbed stairs and
stairs and more stairs and wandered cobblestone
street after street, and it all paid off. Because I got to work off the sausages, and the
schnitzel, and the schnapps. So, until next time, na zdravie! 100 Days, Drinks, Dishes and Destinations is brought to you by – [Narrator] With Ama
Waterways, guests can climb, pedal and journey beyond the beaten path while cruising on storied
rivers across Europe. You can find out more at amawaterways.com. – [Joseph] When I picture my
dad Josh, I remember his hands. Strong, they were worn, stained. That was years of hard
work as a lumberjack. His commitment, work ethic, values. That’s what really inspired
me to create Josh Cellars. – [Narrator] Other
worldly and down to earth. Visit Napa Valley. – [Leslie] For more
information on all episodes along with our expanded digital series, including behind the
scenes footage and stories, and links to follow me on
Facebook and Instagram, go to 100DaysDrinksDishesDestinations.com. If you ate a whole loaf of this, you wouldn’t get out of the chair. – (laughter) – I need an apron. – Come here. – All right. Let me undress. – Yes, please. – There we go. – [Fritz] To get the feeling for. – Cause that was not pretty. I’ve already gained five pounds
just since I took one bite. The whole of the Wachau
Valley is a World– I really do need a glass of wine.