Some of Vienna’s food and wine

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Firstly, I would like to say thank you all so much for your concern and I’m sorry to cause concern… we’re all good but reminded that life takes us around unexpected corners! I am looking ahead to our last 9 weeks in Italy and right now I must complete the Vienna experience as I have been informed Vienna is an up-and-coming holiday destination for a few bloggers out there.

As I said before, the cafe scene is big and bursting with avid food lovers, I have also never seen so many signs in cafe windows stating they are vegan friendly- this is something new to me. Of course, you are always going to have average food shops in the city centre where tourism is at its peak, however, if you just take a walk to a neighbouring suburb you won’t pay half as much and no doubt get something home made and delicious. Take for example our neighbourhood of Neubau: plenty of cafes to choose from at very reasonable prices. We settled on this one called Ulrich which was situated in the St. Ulrich Piatz just off Burggasse and just happens to be the new ‘hip’ place.

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Hip new cafe/bar

We loved the outdoor seating and the relaxed atmosphere of the place. What we did find was they tend to ask you if you have a booking. We never did. However, most of the tables outside were pre-booked but we were told if we were gone before the booked time then they were happy to accommodate us. We figured an afternoon beer won’t take all evening to finish so we sat down and enjoyed the atmosphere. Our server here was a lovely guy who use to study in Bologna last year…and how did we find this out? We kept answering in Italian! 

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Flat nuts – the perfect beer snack

We ordered beers (I had a Weissbier and Nic had the local Zwickel beer) and a bar snack, then sat back and enjoyed the afternoon along with everyone else. I have to say Nic and I both enjoyed Austrian beer much more than the wine. We are big red drinkers and favour a full bodied Shiraz which is very different to the Austrian reds we tried. They were very sweet, light and fruity. I think next time we will try more rieslings and definitely more beer. Our bar snack was delicious, the bread was crisp and house-made from whole wheat flour served with extra virgin olive oil and a dukka mix of crushed nuts, sesame seeds, salt, cumin seeds and a hint of chilli: absolutely delicious and very morish.

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Fruit and veg vendor

Another of my favourite places to walk around in Vienna was the Naschmarkt, this is a wonderfully massive food market. You will find anything from food stalls, produce stands, restaurants, cheese vendors, old guys selling pickles and sauerkraut right out of the big barrels…and pretty much anything else you can think of that is food related. The first shop we came across was an Asian grocer so we stocked up on supplies to bring back to Italy (and sadly left them on the train!!) and then we found white asparagus. Big, fat, beautiful white asparagus, I love the stuff and can’t get enough of it at home as the supply is very small and very expensive. Another reason I love to stay in apartments is the fact that I can cook with local products, so I purchased a big bunch of white asparagus and served it for dinner and breakfast the following day. I would of been in heaven if I had brought my truffle salt too… But I managed to buy some mini brats wrapped in bacon that tasted pretty yummy, so breakfast the morning after the markets was pretty delish and gave us plenty of energy for a day of sightseeing.

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Poached egg with sauteed asparagus and bacon wrapped mini brats

 

Another one of my favourites in Vienna was frittaten; pancakes seasoned with herbs, cut into thin strips and served in a rich beef stock. I can understand why this is popular with the locals, it is full of flavour and the texture of the pancake works beautifully with the  rich flavours in the broth.

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Frittaten

 

I’m not sure I want to post this next picture but Max absolutely LOVED his cordon bleu. The kid has not stopped eating since his 12th birthday and Vienna was his mecca for large plates of meat! I have to say I did try a piece of his lunch this day and it was very yummy, however, my tuna salad was made beautifully and the right choice for me. What I am trying to say is if you have hungry pre-teens then Vienna is your town.

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Giant cordon bleu

Right that’s it, I cannot possibly end this with that picture so here is one more delight you can have in Vienna- pastries 

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Mango and pineapple pastry, apple and sultana and jam filled pastries

By the way, the mango and pineapple pastry on the left was my favourite and if you need a few cake recommendations I hear the esterhazytorte and the dobostorte are delicious…and how could I forget the classic apfelstrudel!

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A holiday in Vienna

This is a hard post to write. My blog is for me to remember the highs and lows of our year in Italy and Vienna was a holiday (slotted in with Nic’s history conference) that holds both highs and the lowest of lows for me.

Life has so many turns and bumps, when you have been clear sailing for a long time and thinking life just can’t get any better the bumps land hard and everything you know to be so turns into a series of free-falling, not knowing what to do or how to stop. I am going to talk about Vienna as the beautiful city it is, however, please excuse my lack of excitement and lack of cake photos…the wheels fell off my holiday before I could eat cake.

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We arrived in Vienna on Wednesday morning, bright and early as we had decided to take the overnight train from Florence to give the boys yet another travelling experience. The train is very easy and if you are short then probably a very comfortable ride, however, Nic and I were wishing we were a foot shorter when we laid on the sleeper beds.

We stayed in yet another Airbnb apartment and I have to say it was excellent. I wasn’t sure if I had made the right decision when booking it as it was a bit out of the centre, however, when we arrived and met our host we all thought it was perfect. The place was big, bright and beautifully decorated in a vintage theme. Asta our host was very helpful and left us to our own devices. Perfect.

In the museumsquartier

In front of the monument to Maria Theresa near the Museumsquartier

To fill in the day we decided to take a leisurely walk around the city centre also ignoring the tiredness that was creeping in. Vienna is beautiful, let me state this clearly. The city is very easy to walk around, however, if you would rather use public transport then you have trams, subway or bikes to choose from. I have to say the subway is the cleanest I have ever seen ( I’ve seen a few) and extremely easy to operate, people are very happy to help if you need it.

I’m not sure if it was because we have been living in Florence where you can feel the grime and dirt of past centuries peeling off the buildings, but Vienna seems incredibly clean, bright and new. It was like they had just painted all the buildings ready for the tourist season.

We were hungry after our city tour and it was getting late so we decided to look up a traditional eating spot in our travel guide. Of course the two we thought sounded good were on the other side of the city. The first one was gone, replaced by a craft store (must have been really good!), however, the second restaurant (Figlmüller) which was just around the corner was an excellent first choice for experiencing Vienna, afterall it is all about the schnitzel!!

Max AFTER he'd eaten

Max AFTER he’d eaten

This place was fantastic and the schnitzel excellent. All their schnitzels are bashed out to 34cm of pure deliciousness. The crumbing light, crunchy and morish. Our server recommended a salad to share and this was actually one of the highlights of the trip. The four of us couldn’t get enough of it, the dressing was a perfect combination of sweet and sour. The potatoes were Nic and my favourite, while Alex couldn’t get enough of the carrots…as for Max, he was loving the 34cm schnitzel!

Wiener Schnitzel

Wiener Schnitzel

We rolled out of the restaurant feeling very happy, satisfied and up for a little more walking. Vienna has a wonderful cafe and food scene that I wasn’t expecting, I will have to do a photo journal post just so you can see what I am talking about. Now though I will take you on a photo journey of Vienna so you can see what I mean when I say it really is beautiful. As for museums I can highly recommend the Kunsthistorisches Museum which contains an amazing collection including one of the world’s largest collections of Old Masters.

A side view of Hundertwasserhaus

A side view of Hundertwasserhaus

If you are up for a hike just outside the city centre, then go and check out Hundertwasserhaus, a beautiful apartment building designed by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. This was a favourite of mine.

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While Nic was at his conference the boys and I checked out the Belvedere which is another dramatically large palace that was commissioned by Prince Eugen of Savoy.

Alex loved petting the fish

Alex loved petting the fish

A view of Vienna from the top of the  water animal zoo

A view of Vienna from the top of the Haus des Meeres

And if you are travelling with kids then I highly recommend a morning spent at the indoor water animal house, the Haus des Meeres. Lots of animals to look at and fish to pat and monkeys walking by…not to mention the view of Vienna from the top of this somewhat very ugly building.

A rear view of the palace from the gardens

A rear view of the palace at Schloss Schönbrunn from the gardens

On our last day we headed out to the Scholss Schönbrunn, which is the former summer residence of the imperial Hasburg family. This place is incredible, from the ballrooms to the gardens. The day was easily spent wandering around the grounds and palace rooms.

I will leave you here and write about the food scene next, something that deserves its own attention.