Eating in Vienna

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the cuisine which reflects Eastern and western influences such as Hungarian, Bohemian Jewish Italian and French cuisine. Together these have evolved into a rich and hearty menu with the addition of decadent desserts and pastrgoods.

You could say the menu is brought to you by the letter S: smallgoods, sausages, schnitzels, strudel - and Sacher torte!

On a short trip there recently, we found all of these and much more.

Lick your lips as we take a little jaunt around the food of Vienna, Austria's capital of culture - and cuisine!


Like everyone in the world, the Austrians like to get outside to eat and the laneways of Vienna are dotted with tables and umbrellas. Fruhstuck is breakfast, written in German, but do note the international language: Coffee to go!


The breakfast in our four-star hotel, Das Tyrol, right at the heart of Vienna's shopping scene and opposite the Museum Quarter, had a most generous breakfast, with a special feature. We could (and I did) order a glass of prosecco to go with the breads and cheeses and other goodies.


Scandinavians have the best breakfast in the world, I think. Love all those cold cuts, salad and cheeses. You could set yourself up for the day here.


That is if you didn't know how good everything else in this city is. Like the breads bristling with seeds and grains.


Or pretzels like these and coffee ('to go' or not). Vienna is said to have been the birthplace of coffee houses and it still does the decadent, quintessential coffee house routine better than almost anywhere else.


We visited in summer, and of course ice cream makes an appearance at every turn.


One of Vienna's most exquisite pastryshops and coffee-houses is the renowned Demel in Kohlmarkt. We watched the oh-so-careful packaging of this very special cake, obviously for some lucky couple's wedding.


Downstairs, the glass-fronted cabinets were straining under the weight of the wealth of choices. A torte? Petit fours? Pastries to savour with coffee or hot chocolate? Oh the sweet dilemma of it!


Adriano Zumbo, eat your heart out! Although this monster macaron was almost certainly styrofoam, it aptly advertised the real ones made on the premises.


And then there's schnitzel, thin as a page, crusted and fried. A tradition here and said to be best at Figlmuller, established in 1905, where we stood salivating in the arcade and peered in through the window at people tucking into plate-sized offerings. Worst of all, we'd just eaten and couldn't even contemplate going inside and ordering for ourselves.


Lower in carbs and fat were the street stalls like this with summer-fresh berries and cherries - and we were tempted enough to buy these and call them dessert!


Yes, these Aussies get everywhere and on our city walk we found this place proudly doing what Aussies know best - run a  pub with all the beers you'd expect plus serve up filling pub-grub.


Demel had one other inducement to stay, and that was the window through which patrons were encouraged to watch the meticulous work of the pastrycooks. Here we had a free tutorial in Apple strudel-making courtesy of a chef who has done this many, many times, you can be sure.


First the tissue-thin pastry stretch over a cloth-covered table. Notice the care he is taking to stretch it evenly without tearing it.


Then, just the right amount of toasted breadcrumbs and sliced apples before he and a fellow-worker oh-so-carefully rolled it up and deposited in the gargantuan oven.

What a metaphor for the magnificent city of Vienna. Tradition and taste in perfect proportions!


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