From the Root

Life Abroad: My Connection to Food Before and After the Move

My life in Austria has definitely strengthened my connection to the food I eat and make. I grew up in Monterrey, Mexico, a city that’s home to millions of people. I now live in a tiny town in Europe with less than 2,000 neighbors. No matter the changes and challenges, my life abroad continues to be an incredible adventure.

My Life in Mexico

Mexico, Country, HAND + SEED

The view from my home in Monterrey, Mexico with an Aperol Spritz (an Italian drink).


I love Mexico with all of my heart. But ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always dreamt that I would live somewhere else – in another country far away from my hometown of Monterrey.

When I met my husband Johannes, I was 24 years old and in Vienna studying German for a few months. After that, we briefly went back to Mexico because my father passed away and I needed to be with my family.

At the time, my life was very fast-paced. I was working in the university and managing a snack place nearby. I spent my free time cooking for my best friends, and cooked for myself whenever I wanted – and I could always find the ingredients I needed. I would make spontaneous plans and find eateries to grab a bite late at night.

I didn’t really go out to nightclubs every weekend, but I loved drinking good wine in my favorite restaurants like La Nacional, Gallo 71 and Pangea. At La Nacional, I could order a Gin and Tonic Nacional, grilled artichokes, tacos de fideo, a good steak with guacamole and fried cauliflower. I’d order a good red wine and a pie de platano (a banana pie) with a carajillo (a coffee cocktail) for dessert. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

Aracely Martinez de Mantler

Johannes and I are fortunate to be able to experience one another’s culture. Here we are in Cancun, Mexico.


After Johannes and I got married, we came to live to Austria. We already had an apartment waiting for us in Absdorf, and I wanted to keep learning German so that I could communicate with his family – and the sound of a fresh and exciting start sounded wonderful.

My Life in Austria

Austria, Country, Hand and Seed

This was in a “heuriger.” It’s a type of Austrian tavern where local wine makers serve their most recent year’s wines.


At the beginning, I did experience some culture shock moving thousands of kilometers away from my hometown. I couldn’t find ingredients to make tacos and other spicy foods I was used to eating every day, and I had to swap out tortillas for hearty bread. Johannes also had to translate everything for me until I learned enough German.

But I was very lucky that his family and friends were so welcoming, and immediately made me feel like part of the clan. Of course I still miss my family and friends, but we keep in contact and see each other at least once every year.

When I first moved, I had to drive to a bigger supermarket in another town that had avocados, coriander and chili on its shelves. In Absdorf, the market closes early on the weekends. Every week, I have to plan my market lists early to make sure I don’t forget anything.

One thing I’ve noticed and love is that Austrians take advantage of seasonal ingredients. Instead of buying prepackaged products, we all try to make our food ourselves.

We just finished strawberry season, and I would see strawberries everywhere I went. I can’t complain about getting to taste the fresh marmalade my mother-in-law and Johannes’s grandmother makes! I’m really looking forward to my first apricot season here and getting to make delicious things with fresh fruit.


I picked strawberries in Erdbeerfeld, Austria this summer to make jam to serve at my restaurant, ARIS Cantina, which we officially opened this month.


I love Austrian wine and cheese, and the variety of restaurants that I can find in the countryside. Johannes’s family has a wine cellar, and I’ve been able to learn more about the wine I drink. Even outside the big cities, I can find great fine dining places.

I’m so lucky to experience living in a different part of the world, and I fulfilled my childhood dream. I’ve made a deal with myself to enjoy every day as if it were the last one, and I have been very happy living in Absdorf. I’m so excited to finally open the restaurant we set out to start, and I’ll get to share more about it with you soon.

Austria, Living Abroad, Living Abroad

Johannes and I visiting Castle Grafenegg in Austria.


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