If you’re planning a trip to Vienna make sure you’ve got the following “must eats” on your list! Don’t leave without trying these tasty treats.
I didn’t blog a lot last month because I wasn’t actually at home very much. May was a busy month including a hen weekend, a music festival and a trip to Vienna with my friends.
Mia, Renie and I used to work together but when Mia moved to Germany and Renie got a job in house our daily lunches and chats became few and far between. Now, almost all of our conversations happen on Whatsapp and we rarely see or hear each other!
Now don’t get me wrong, I am SO happy that technology allows us to stay in daily contact but you can’t beat a good catch up with your friends over coffee and a cake. So, we decided to meet up in Vienna to do just that.
Vienna is perfect for the three C’s – culture, coffee and cake. While I was there I made it my mission to immerse myself in all of the tasty food and drink that Vienna had to offer while taking in local landmarks like the Opera House, the Museum Quarter and many of the churches.
Read on to find out my “must eats” following my own trip to Vienna.
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1. Samples at Naschmarket
Naschmarket is a street market that has hundreds of different stalls selling fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and breads. You could easily stuff yourself silly with samples as you walk up and down the rows of stalls. Failing that, the market also has lots of cafes too! Why not grab a seat and enjoy a lunch before wandering around the rest of the market. It’s great for people watching too!
2. Viennese coffee from a Kaffeehaus
Coffee houses are a BIG deal in Vienna and quite literally on every corner. Now here’s a fun fact for you… The glass of water traditionally served with coffee in Vienna is to cleanse the palate. (No coffee breath for me!) The coffee spoon on top of the glass facing down is a sign that the glass has been freshly filled up, which is a hangover of Habsburg etiquette. You might also find the following terms useful:
“Obers” means cream, “Schlagobers” or “Schlag” is fluffy whipped cream. When it is served in a dollop it is known as a “Gupf”.
3. Kaiserschmarrn at Café Central
Café Central is a must visit for lots of reasons: the menu includes a broad selection of classic Viennese dishes, traditional coffee and (of course) cake from the in-house patisserie. It also had some famous regulars back in the day including Trotsky, Freud, writers and poets Polgar, Zweig and Altenberg and architect Loos. I recommend visiting for dinner, just make sure you save room for the kaiserschmarnn (torn pancakes with stewed plums). The portion is big enough for 2 (or maybe even 3!)
Ok so it’s not food but…In almost ever coffee house and restaurant in Vienna you’ll find Almdudler. In fact it might as well be the (unofficial) national drink of Austria! It’s a “herbal” lemonade. Think a cross between ginger ale and elderflower. The bottle is decorated with a a dancing Trachten couple – so cute! I couldn’t get enough of the stuff during our visit.
5. Sachertorte (or any other cake for that matter…)
If you’re planning a trip to Vienna you’re probably already familiar with Sachertorte. For those of you who aren’t, it’s a delicious chocolate sponge cake with a thin layer of apricot jam in the middle and topped with decadent dark chocolate icing. There are debates about whether it originates from Hotel Sacher or the equally famous Demel bakery – two iconic Viennese establishments. Why not try a slice in each and see which one tastes better to you? You can also buy a sachertorte to take home from a stall between Hotel Sacher and the Opera House.
If you don’t want to stop at just the one slice of cake you should also try:
- Punschkrapfen, a fluffy square of cake with marmalade, a touch of rum, Cointreau and pink glaze.
- Esterházytorte, a cream cake made up of yellow buttercream between five layers of sponge cake and covered by white sugar glaze as well as brittle, candied fruits and chocolate. Named after the diplomat Paul III. Anton Esterhazy.
6. Wurstelstand / Kartoffelpufferwhich
These street food sellers serve up a variety of Austrian sausages dressed with mustard, and potato fritters – ideal if you are looking for something to fill you up on the go or if you are on a budget!
The Viennese go absolutely MAD for asparagus (or spargel as it is called in Austrian). The traditional way to eat asparagus in Vienna is either with hollandaise or in a soup and both green and white varieties will be used. The season runs for all of May through to mid-end of June and I’d definitely recommend visiting in these two months so you can enjoy some delicious seasonal produce.
Apfelstrudel is one of the most popular desserts in Vienna and is on menus everywhere. The apple filling encased in pastry is often served with whipped cream, ice cream, custard and even a vanilla sauce.
Why not visit Café Residenz in Schönbrunn Palace where every hour, a professional pastry chef hand-bakes apple strudel at the demonstration bakery! You’ll be a pro by the time you return home and will be able to bake it for all of your friends and family!
9. A pint of beer
Those of you who know beer will probably have heard of Viennese larger which is made with Munich, Pilsner, Vienna and dextrin malts. Much to my surprise Vienna doesn’t seem to make Viennese larger any more and I struggled finding Jon a bottle to bring home!
That being said, the Viennese do still love their beer and you MUST have a pint in the park while in Vienna. In Vienna you’ll see beer poured with a big, thick, soapy head that stands tall above the glass.
10. Wiener Schnitzel
You won’t have to look far to find schnitzel on a menu but make sure it’s Wiener Schnitzel that you’re ordering. The difference? Regular schnitzel is made using pork whereas traditional Viennese schnitzel is made using veal.
The veal slice is butterfly cut about 4 mm thin and lightly pounded flat. It’s then slightly salted, and rolled in flour, egg and bread crumbs. Finally, the bread crumbed veal is fried in lard or clarified butter. The result is a really tasty, tender bit of meat with a crisp breadcrumb coating. It’s often served with just a squeeze of lemon.
These are just 10 of my recommendations for a trip to Vienna and can all easily be eaten in a long weekend. If you’re spending even more time in this wonderful city then make sure you try the local wine, schnapps, fresh water fish, germknödel and gulasch to name just a few!
Vienna is not just a city for music and art lovers. It’s definitely a haven for foodies too.
If you have any recommendations for dishes to try or restaurants to visit, please do leave them in the comments below!