Uncharted Culinary Realms: Taubenkobel's Family-Rooted Journey into Pannonian Cuisine
Unearth your next exquisite find at Taubenkobel: an ageless family estate, a true gem that combines tradition with allure. Here, the essence of Pannonian cuisine is celebrated and served in an ambiance imbued with unexpected charm.
In the verdant expanses of the 80s, the Taubenkobel (or ‘pigeon house’) emerged, casting its vibrant silhouette against the backdrop of an artists’ haven for local aesthetes and epicureans. This once humble ‘eselmühle’ farmstead, purchased by Walter Eselböck’s grandfather in 1961, became a sanctuary of creativity under the careful stewardship of Walter and his wife, Eveline. A self-taught culinarian, Walter Eselböck began his journey serving humble, hearty fare. Over time, he meticulously honed his craft, ultimately ascending to the echelons of culinary prestige as one of Austria’s most eminent chefs, his genius recognised with two coveted Michelin stars prior to the guide’s cessation of operations beyond Vienna and Salzburg.
Nestled within the idyllic Burgenland, a region renowned for its pristine viticultural landscapes, Taubenkobel stands in the heart of the ancient Pannonian region. An area steeped in history serves as the crossroads of Hungary, Slovakia, and Vienna, with each cultural hub less than an hour’s drive away. Walter and Eveline Eselböck, the dynamic duo at the heart of this venture, have not only carved out a unique nexus of gastronomic delight dictated by the surrounding bounty of nature but also an ambient setting brimming with art and inspiration, fostered by the artists who frequently grace the establishment.
Photo credit: Philip Horak.
Their daughters, Barbara and Stephanie Eselböck, have taken the reins of this remarkable establishment, with their childhood experiences - years spent watching their parents conjure remarkable dining experiences and form deep connections with local winemakers and artists - acting as their compass. Fast-forward several decades, and Stephanie, taking after her mother’s deep-seated passion for wine, has teamed up with her husband, acclaimed winemaker Eduard Tscheppe, to birth ‘Gut Oggau,’ a globally-renowned biodynamic wine. Meanwhile, Barbara followed in her parent’s footsteps and now helms the operations at Taubenkobel alongside her husband, the Alsace-born chef Alain Weissgerber.
Barbara takes care of the property beyond the kitchen; regarding the guest experience, she says: «Our goal is to keep it timeless; it’s not a fancy place to visit once or only for a vacation»
Barbara Eselböck. Photo credit: Philip Horak.
Taubenkobel, under Barbara and Alain’s management, offers an intimate, familial experience. The legacy of the place is nurtured and palpable, with Barbara taking great pride in curating delightful surprises for their guests: exceptional, personalised service, an exclusive range of biodynamic wines, and even unique design furniture pieces that adorn some suites, such as the slightly provocative ‘Table’ by Allen Jones, or a prop from the film ‘Pulp Fiction,’ alongside modern art by local artists.
According to Barbara, «It’s a benefit to be managing the business together for so many years», she notes; the communication within the team is simplified and direct, and the decisions are taken fast.»
Situated in the heart of Burgenland, one of Austria’s most distinguished wine-making regions, Taubenkobel provides a tantalising peek into the region’s authentic cuisine. The menu showcases the abundant biodiversity of the Pannonian landscape, echoing the essence of western Hungary and parts of Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia. Alain is unwavering in his commitment to capturing the region’s authenticity in his dishes - the ingredients are local, and even the ceramic tableware is hand-crafted in the nearby village.
Alain Weissgerber’s culinary creations are a tribute to the lush cornucopia of the Pannonian pantry. There are herbs and fruits from their garden or the surrounding fields, meat from local Seewinkel farmers, fish from the neighbouring Lake Neusiedl, sour cherries from the hills of Leithaberg, mushrooms from the Leithagebirge of the Vienna woods, and tomatoes from the fields of Erich Stekovics, a wizard of tomatoes reputed for cultivating nearly 3000 varieties.