“The best coffee in Europe is Vienna coffee, compared to which all other coffee is fluid poverty”

Vienna is famous for its coffee houses; they are all over the city. In the States, if you order anything other than a black coffee, there’s a certain class of folks who will judge you for that choice. In Vienna, it’s the opposite – ordering just a black coffee is frowned upon. Mostly because Vienna has such a wide variety of delicious coffee choices that just ordering a basic black coffee seems like nearly an insult. And the black coffee won’t be drip-coffee but an espresso. I usually just order a melange – coffee with milk foam.

Sacher Hotel
Sacher Hotel
Sacher Torte – the for-sharing variety

The best part of the coffee house is the pastry. Trust me when I tell you the Viennese take their pastry very seriously. Little known fact: the croissant was invented in Vienna. The apple strudel is perhaps the most famous Viennese pastry, but the Sacher torte is giving it a run for its money. Named for the famous Sacher hotel, the chocolate ganache-covered cake is filled with apricot jam.

Pastry studio at the Demel
The pastry workshop at the Demel Cafe
Those racks are full of delicious chocolatey things
Rolling out the chocolate…
Demel’s selection of colors for pastry decorating
Rolling out the puff pastry.

When KW visited, we had lunch at the Demel Cafe. Much to our delight, the dining room is next to the glass kitchen where the pastry chefs are hard at work making their masterpieces. We watched them roll, cut and paint chocolate and puff pastry and all kinds of other wonders. I fancy myself a good cook, but for the most part pastry eludes me — too much attention to proper temperature and exact measurements for my more-art-than-science approach. But watching the pastry chefs at work was a fascinating experience.

This was my meal at the Demel Cafe – Beef Wellington. The crumbles under the Beef Wellington weren’t like anything I’ve ever had before: best I can describe them is as champagne Jell-o.
Pastries on display at the Demel Cafe
Pastries on display at the Demel Cafe
Pastries on display at the Demel Cafe – the apple strudel is on the right front.
Pastries on display at the Demel Cafe
Pastries on display at the Demel Cafe

Some coffee houses have a very simple menu. Others have extensive dessert, drink and meal choices, often displayed with pictures. MD and I discovered a great little place in the Mariahilferstrasse where she got the sundae that shames all other sundaes, and I got some kind of hot toddy.

Sunday afternoon treat – MD’s sundae is at the top of the image.

Title quote: Mark Twain

2 thoughts on ““The best coffee in Europe is Vienna coffee, compared to which all other coffee is fluid poverty”

  1. I am regretting that I didn’t try to come and visit you while you were in Vienna. Oh well. Maybe someday you can take me there. Love, Mom


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