Of all the things I have learned in Vienna, the art of enjoying food has been the most valuable. My family had taken me to nice restaurants back home in New York, but my first glimpse of real Genuss was here in V-town. Having arrived as a budding teenager, I was “coming of age.” Everything was new and exciting. There were places like the Prater where Langos slathered in garlic changed my young life forever, or the first bite into a Käsekrainer in the wee hours of the morning: bliss. Spending long afternoons at a Heuriger, nibbling on a plate of spreads with dark bread or Semmeln, filling mugs from two pitchers with young wine and soda, the day seemed endless.

Maybe it wasn’t gourmet, but you felt like royalty. The other thing was the attitude: Most people I met cared immensely about food. Eating it, cooking it, growing it, buying it. So, we’ve devoted our Cover Story to finding out just what makes Austrians so focused on the quality and health benefits of their regional fare. We’ve met with people from each stage of the “food chain,” from organic farming to Austrian exports, who tell their secrets in our Profiles. Austria’s not just good at exporting food and fancies. Austrian chefs have been making waves worldwide for decades, many of them in the top-tier kitchens and bakeries abroad, as you can read in our International feature.

But Austrians cannot live on bread alone; they must have wine to go with it. Austria’s climb to the top of the list of the wine growing terroir of Europe has been fast and furious, so to give our discerning readers the upper hand, wine expert Darrel Joseph outlines Austrian vintages by region and vintner. But besides the well-loved and celebrated Grüner Veltliner and Zweigelt, vineyards that produce natural wines haven’t been having such an easy time of it, as you can read in our Wine column. Then there’s the other juice that remains the delight of cider lovers worldwide: Most. In our travel story, we take you on a tour of the Mostviertel, where the locals will show you around.

In some cultures, people invite friends over or entertain at home. In Vienna, they do that too, but more often friends meet in restaurants, cafés, Heurigen and bars. In a nod to the undying importance and legend surrounding them, we devoted our City Life feature to Vienna’s Kaffeehaus culture in its newest incarnation. For our Grätzl this month, we take you to Meiselmarkt, for a taste of the culinary diversity encapsulated in one of the city’s many markets.

If you’re peckish, check out our last word, which will hold you over until your next serious meal. As always, we’ve compiled the greatest arts and entertainment events and Vienna has plenty in store for you this month. So now that Vienna has awoken, make the city yours, occupy a Schanigarten, order something you’ve never had before, or stick with the classics. Whatever you do, never eat alone, or as we say,

don’t be a stranger

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Margaret Childs is the CEO and Publisher of Metropole. Originally from New York, Vienna has been her home town since high school. She is a board member of AustrianStartups and actively supports entrepreneurs in their internationalization efforts. She is known for loving Vienna passionately, talking too fast and inhaling coffee like there's no tomorrow. She tweets @mtmchildsPhoto: Michèle Pauty