Vienna, the capital of Austria, is a charming city and impresses its visitors in many ways. The baroque style can be experienced in many different ways, from its architecture and lifestyle. Vienna is a crucial center for Europe where east – west and north – south meets.
Vienna is mostly known for its intellectual lifestyle however its cuisine is also worth attention. This city offers diverse tastes most come from its imperial history. Some of the popular traditional tastes from Viennese cuisine are Schnitzel, Tafelspitz, Wiener Erdäpfelsalat, Wiener Goulash, Apfelstrudel, Kaiserschmarrn, and Powidltascherl.
I visited Vienna just before Christmas that there was a very beautiful Christmas spirit came to light. Every street, every corner was colorful and decorated charmingly. It was reasonably cold (around 2°) yet enjoyable. There were many attractions and special decorations around and of course Christmas markets.
Christmas Markets in Vienna
Christmas markets are spread everywhere on Vienna during these times of the year where more than 20 markets serving around the city. They look more like small downtowns and each stall a cute little house.
Viennese Christmas Markets are an old tradition that they exist since the 14th century. Back then, the markets were opened entire December and it was called “Krippenmarkt”. They are set up so that citizens can do their Christmas shopping.
Today, Christmas Markets are enjoyable places to spend time with family and friends, experience Christmas spirit by trying out many different traditional tastes. Both children and adults can find something for themselves, and parents can watch their kids enjoy skating while they are drinking Gluhwein in some corner.
I visited a couple of Christmas markets while wandering around the city, enjoyed pretzel, raclette with gluhwein. My favorite one was the one in Maria Theresian Square. For me, Christmas markets are places to spoil myself with “cute little handmade things”. There are also some perfect places to buy gifts for the loved ones. No matter which age you are, you can find something for yourself in Christmas Markets.
Schnitzel is a traditional Viennese dish famous all around the world. It is made of the ingredients meat, breadcrumbs, egg, and oil. The most original version of Schnitzel is made from veal (rump of the calf) and served with potato salad (Wiener Erdäpfelsalat). History of Schnitzel roots back to the middle ages, and even before. Schnitzel was a typical dinner served in Viennese palaces.
Figlmüller is a popular place to taste Viennese Schnitzel, they follow a 100-year-old family recipe to prepare it in the most proper way. In Figlmüller, Schnitzel is fried in four different pans to become crispy. It tried this traditional taste, and it was very delicious, and I was surprised that it was incredibly light compared to other fried foods.
For the dessert, I went for Kaiserschmarrn which is a schredded pancake with fruit sauce. Kaiserschmarrn is an Austrian traditional dessert and the most original one is served with Zwetschkenroster sauce, which is made out of plums. This is also the source that is served in Figlmuller.
If you want to experience a traditional Viennese cuisine experience, a dinner in Figlmuller Figlmuller is a must in to do list before leaving the city. The restaurant exists since 1905 which is a nice opportunity to experience nostalgia. The restaurant attracts many tourists, and it is recommended to reserve in advance to skip the cue. Figlmuller is rated 4 out 5 on Tripadvisor. Click here for the official website.
Viennese Apple Strudel
Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel) is a traditional dessert which existed since Austrian- Hungarian empire. The word “strudel” comes from “whirlpool” and here are also different versions of Strudel such as one with Nut, or savory ones such as Krautstrudel. In general, Strudel is made of a thin pastry called “Milfoy” dough probably came from Turkish cuisine during Vienna siege in the 16th century. The most traditional Strudel is made with Apple.
A good place to enjoy the most traditional Apple Strudel is Cafe Central where is also a famous meeting place of Viennese people since 1876. In Vienna, it is common to spend afternoons in cafes now and then, once upon a time Cafe Centraal was a meeting place for intellectual people such as Sigmund Freud and Graham Greene.
I visited Cafe Central on a Saturday evening, and it was crowded and cheerful. There was live music which is a nice atmosphere for visitors, and a good opportunity to whiteness lifestyle of the locals. I went for Chai Latte and Apple Strudel with vanilla cream, and it was praiseworthy. What I liked most about Apple Strudel is that it is not too sweet, you can also enjoy it for breakfast.
Cafe Central is also a convenient place to get a glimpse of the Viennese baroque lifestyle with its stylish interior decoration. Especially the ceilings are very impressive, and the portraits on one of the corners complete the scene. Cafe Central has a broad range of menu including the main dishes and many varieties of patisserie. Cafe Central is rated as 4,5 out of 5 on Tripadvisor. Click here for the official website.
Another traditional Austrian taste is Mozartkugel, the round chocolates covered with the picture of the famous composer Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus. The homeland of this unique taste is Salzburg, which is also the birthplace of Mozart and has a history more than 100 years.
Mozartkugel was created in 1890 by the confectioner Paul Fürst. The most original version is the one which the marzipan balls are dipped in bittersweet chocolates after coated with praline cream. In 1920, Mozartkugels started being manufactured by Rajsigl-Süßwarenfabrik which is named as Mirabell afterward. Click here to get more information about Mozartkugels.
Today, there are more than nine different versions of Mozoartkugel which are being produced by both Austrian and German companies, yet the most original one is from Mirabell, and they are called “Echte Salzburger Mozartkugeln” or “Genuine Salzburg Mozartkugels”.
Mozartkugels are also very popular in Vienna, especially as a souvenir. There are many souvenir shops in Vienna decorated their windows with Mozartkugel logos. These stores also sell liquors of Mozart, not a traditional taste but more a tourist oriented marketing. Mozartkugels could be considered as a gift for the loved ones, Mozart himself is a good representation of Vienna where is a popular center for intellectuals.