Apart from the imperial architecture and majestic mountainous backdrops, one element of Vienna that sucked me in and stole my affection was an exquisite collection of sugary delicacies. A tradition of rich ornate quality flows straight from the baroque buildings into its Viennese patisseries, where the same beautiful desserts have been carefully crafted for hundreds of years. In my recent trip to the city, I managed to consume more sugar than Bruce Bogtrotter, discovering a list of must eat sweet treats in the process…
The famous Sacher-Torte at Café Sacher Wien
You can’t come to Vienna without trying two things and here is the first. Apart from the Sound of Music and Viennese Waltz, Austria’s most famous creation is the Sacher-Torte, a rich chocolatey cake with an apricot jam sliver that to this day has never had its secret recipe revealed.
The best place to sample a slice is at the Café Sacher Wien, a part of the 5 star hotel. Be prepared to queue at any time of day, particularly for larger groups, but within a short while, you’ll be ooo-ing over the smooth chocolate torte that has satisfied royalty since 1832. The café also sells various remixes of its creation in both edible and drinkable formats including chocolate liqueur coffees and ice cream cakes.
Apple Strudel at Schönbrunn Palace’s Café Residenz
Next up on the unmissable list is the most renowned traditional Viennese dessert, the apple strudel. Every restaurant, café and probably bar will serve you up a portion but if you want more of an interactive experience than the strudel demonstration at Schönbrunn Palace’s Café Residenz is a must.
For just 10 euros you’ll get a healthy slice to enjoy with a hot drink whilst two enthusiastic chefs cook up a strudel in the kitchen using their impressive twirling, whirling and rolling skills. The majority of it is in German but English speakers will still enjoy the theatrics, each getting a free recipe to try at home if you dare!
Luxurious cakes at Café Central
Normally cafes that have served a city for centuries can tend to go down a less than elegant touristy route, but not this one. The beloved Café Central is a classic affair, serving a full menu of delights in its impressive interiors. Breakfasts, lunch or simply a catch up over a cigar, this coffeehouse has been a favourite of many poets, philosophers and leaders including Vienna’s own Sigmund Freud.
The delicate cakes on offer are a match for the setting, beautifully crafted and flavoured. I settled on a Honey Bee, a light mousse filling on a nutty base, whilst Allyn picked out a raspberry and dark chocolate slice that was gloriously rich and fruity.
Handmade sweets at Gerstner K. u. K. Hofzuckerbäcker
There is an overwhelming amount of ice cream stands, chocolate shops and patisseries in Vienna, but the one that really caught our eye was Gerstner. After a raspberry cocktail in their alfresco bar, we popped inside to drool over homemade chocolates, macarons and cakes. I couldn’t resist picking out a few sweets to take home.
The magnificent handmade temptations were once made for the imperial court and now supply the next door Opera House and Hofburg Palace among many other top venues and hotels. Don’t miss out on their apple strudel truffles or chocolate liqueur, a perfect place to shop for a treat for loved ones… and you. Are there any places in Vienna that you recommend?