Eat, Pray, Love: Vienna, Austria (Part One)
If there’s ever a sequel to Eat, Pray, Love, it could be set entirely in Vienna. The churches, the food, and the city itself (with Muz, of course) are worthy of a book and movie. Since blogs are the lazy man’s novel, here’s my version.
The praying part I already covered, so I’ll skip that (that was my least favorite part of the book anyway). Let’s go right to eating, shall we?
We went to Vienna as part of a Christmas market tour in Europe. The markets are beautifully lit and feature kiosks selling goods, mulled wine and food. We bought a mug of gluhwein and started food shopping. Spiced bread and sweet dumplings satisfied our sweet tooth, but we also loved the savory and salty kartoffelpuffer. It’s basically a McDonald’s hash brown to the 10th degree.
Vienna was freezing, so we decided to move our food tour indoors. We first visited Greichenbeisl, a 500-year old restaurant. The name of the place has changed through the centuries, but the great service and delicious house wine made it eternally excellent. We would have stayed for dinner (the food looked great) but decided to save our calories for Vienna’s famed desserts.
Two shops are often cited as must-visits for dessert: Sacher and Demel. Both are known for their sweets. They’re also known for suing each other to determine who could sell the “original” sachertorte, a chocolate cake with apricot jam.
Dessert settled by lawsuit? This warmed our cold little Juris Doctorate hearts. Sacher won the lawsuit, so we decided to go there first.
The verdict? It was nice but not exceptional. We preferred Sacher’s history to its cake. Eduard Sacher opened the hotel in 1876. When he died, his 21-year old “Real Housewife” Anna turned it legendary. She opened discreet dining rooms for men and their “dates” and entertained aristocrats with a cigar in her mouth and pugs by her side. If you want to enjoy Sacher, skip the pastry, drink in the Blue Room, and imagine the illicit meetings and raunchy parties of its past. Save the pastry for Demel-because you’ll need the room.
Demel was our last stop before leaving town. The pastry case looked so amazing, we couldn’t decide which two desserts we wanted. So we got three.
The verdict? Heavenly. These were the best desserts I’ve had in a long time. Belgrade has great sweets so consider this high praise. We stuffed ourselves silly and left Vienna before we ate ourselves to death.
Vienna-a city where you’ll eat things you love-and pray that your pants fit the next morning.