A culinary weekend in Vienna

After visiting the Vienna Coffee Festival I’ve explored the town for the weekend to search for the prettiest coffee house, the tastiest Schnitzel and new Austrian specialities I haven’t tried before. So let’s go!

Of course I had to start both days with a proper breakfast. One day I’ve visited „Cafe Telegraph“ (Garnisongasse 7, 1090 Vienna), which is a bit designed like a post office. It had a nice interior and a really cool venue containing everything avocado-lovers wish for. Besides that there are eggs Benedict and different sorts of bowls – everything you need to start a sightseeing-tour by foot. The other day I’ve visited „Cafe Hildebrandt“ (Laudongasse 15-19, 1080 Vienna) which was crowded within minutes after opening in the morning. Lucky me I’ve been one of the first entering! All the fuzz was for a reason – a really good breakfast! I enjoyed a real good avo-bread with a beet latte and loved it!

Both days I did a bit of sightseeing on the one hand to move a bit (in order to get hungry again) and on the other hand to admire this beautiful town. Loads of impressive buildings and a flair only Vienna can have. You always feel like a princess whilst strolling through the beautiful streets of town. But as I said – I’ve already been in Vienna, thats why I was focusing on culinary aspects. To be fair, I didn’t know much about Austrian specialities, that’s why I took part in a tasting at „Gemisch.Warenhandlung“ (Liechtensteinstraße 31, 1090 Wien) , where I meet Reiner. He offers this experience via AirBnB and wants to bring Austrian cuisine closer to tourists and everyone else. So he filled the following two hours with interesting bites of cheese and meat as well as sips of white and red wines. Amongst them has been the „Grüner Veltliner“ – a white grape growing preferably in the north of Austria, where isn’t that much sun (in comparison to the south). Nevertheless it has been a very fruity and mild wine, which surprised me a lot. Same did the following wine called „Gelber Muskateller“, which smelled and tasted enormously fruity!! I honestly haven’t had such a fruity and interesting wine before and suddenly I felt guilty of knowing nothing about Austrian wine! Lucky me I took part in such a tasting.

Reiner paired those wines with a plate of really good cheese and meat. It contained local Camembert, Cheese with pumpkin seeds, blue cheese and different sorts of typical ham („Wiener Beinschinken“, „Wurzelspeck“, „Almspeck“, „Schinkenspeck“). In the end he served a red wine called „Blaufränkisch“, which was as delicious as the previous two ones. I had real fun spending two hours with Reiner (and later on his wife) and learned a lot now just about the Austrian cuisine but Austrian wording, which is quite similar to German but still different. Thanks for the lovely experience and introduction to a culinary Vienna!

Visiting Vienna from a culinary perspective also means to stroll through the famous „Naschmarkt“ (1060 Vienna), which is a street market framed by small houses hosting loads of specialities from all over the world. There are about 120 different stalls, which are there all year around. About 35 additional stalls have a changing offer. It’s origins are dated back to 1780 and offered just dairy products. Today it’s a vibrant market packed with people and loads of specialities. Many Viennese are spending their lunch at the market meeting friends and having a bite or a glass of wine. I loved just walking around and having a look at all the offers!

Not far from there is one of the most popular coffee houses of Vienna called „Cafe Sperl“ (Gumpendorferstraße 11, 1060 Vienna). The tradition of those „Kaffeehäusern“ (elegant coffee houses) is about 337 years old. A legend says that it started with the end of the second  Turkish occupation where they have left bags of raw coffee which were roasted, grinded and drank back then. The Viennese didn’t like the taste that much, so they added milk and sugar which was the beginning of the „Viennese melange“. After that one coffee house after another opened. Nowadays there are about 2.200 of them (consider that there are just 2 Million inhabitants in Vienna!). These days the traditional coffee houses would like to keep the values and forbid to use mobilephones. It’s about having a proper conversation, about reading the newspaper or about listening to the piano music (mostly live!). So that’s what I did – I put the phone aside and had a good read in The Times, listened to the piano player and enjoyed a typical cake called „Sacher Torte“.

But Vienna isn’t just about traditional coffee places but many modern coffee roasteries. I’ve visited two of them. I’ve been to „J. Hornig Kaffeebar“ (Siebensterngasse 29, 1070 Vienna), where I had already tried some really good coffee at the festival. It’s been a very modern place where the roastery was directly attached to it. The other day I’ve visited the „Coffee Pirates“ (Spitalgasse 17, 1090 Vienna), which had a very relaxed atmosphere with bikes and surfboards standing around and chairs hanging at the ceiling. There I had a hand brewed coffee from Costa Rica which was really awesome!

So besides visiting coffee places and tasting Austrian specialities as well as walking through the most famous market of Vienna, I had to eat a proper Schnitzel. So I followed the advice of several locals and visited the „Figlmüller“ (Wollzeile 5, 1010 Vienna), which was a very traditional but small place located in a narrow street. I followed the advice of the waiter and ordered a Schnitzel with lingonberry jam and a specific potato salad accompanied with a white wine. And it turned out to be really good even though it wasn’t exactly a Viennese Schnitzel (was made of pork). Loved the combination of everything and I almost got myself through the whole schnitzel (it measured about 30 cm diameter!). 

Besides that there are many other typical dishes like Kaiserschmarrn, Kasnudeln or Tafelspitz but I just couldn’t eat any more! Definitely a reason to come back again!

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