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Austria Food & DrinksTravel Advices

Sig – a.k.a. Forest Chocolate

Ever wonder what happens when you boil whey all the way down? It caramelises and forms a mass that in Vorarlberg is called “Sig” or “Gsig”. Whatever the local name, it is an absolute rarity. Being made from caramelised whey, Sig has a dark colour. It’s a slightly salty caramel that tastes somewhat like chocolate and walnuts.

This ancient culinary rarity, which many people in the Rhine lowlands have forgotten about, survives in the smaller mountain valleys between Lake Constance, Allgäu and Arlberg. The production of sig is outrageously difficult: The whey must be boiled down slowly over hours until the lactose starts to caramelise – under constant stirring in the pot. In the large Alpine dairies of the Bregenzerwald, this is fully automated of course. The result is an incredibly intense taste that takes some getting used to. The sweet yet slightly tangy brown mass is also called “Wäldarschoggi” (forest chocolate).

Sig is eaten pure like chocolate, as a praline filling or bread spread, or in sauces and desserts. Gourmet chefs are currently rediscovering this culinary jack of all trades, which is alleged to be good for the digestion (because of the concentrated lactose). While sig was a popular chocolate substitute during grandmother’s time, today it has found its way into the upscale restaurant scene.

 

Sig Cream

100ml milk

100g sig

1 gelatine leaf

Chocolate liqueur

120ml whipping cream (sweet cream)

Boil the milk and dissolve the sig in it. Soak the gelatine leaf in cold water, squeeze out any excess water and dissolve in the hot sig-milk mixture. Add chocolate liqueur to taste and stir until cool (this will be good for your arm muscles!) Whip the cream and fold into the mixture. Chill for about 3 hours and serve by scooping out small dumpling-sized portions.

 

Sig Parfait

60ml water

15g sugar

3 egg yolks

80g sig

150ml whipping cream

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Bring water and sugar to a boil. Whip up the egg yolks and add the sugar water under constant stirring. Slowly heat the cream until it begins to thicken. Dissolve the sig in the cream and stir over a water bath until cold. Whip the cream and fold it in. Pour the cream into the pan and freeze for about 3 hours.

Come to Vienna House Martinspark and discover the cheese specialty in the surrounding.

Bon appétit!

I am your local host and happy to deliver you personally hidden secrets.

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