Opinion | Coffee Houses, Vienna

DSC01681Happy New Year Everyone! As most people who know me in real life can tell you, I’m one of those people who loves New Year’s Eve. And, if you follow Where Is My Teaspoon, then you’ll know I love cafes. Put these two wonderful things together and you get my trip to Vienna.

This trip was honestly one of the best times I have ever had – full of happiness, cake, walks and I even broke out a bit of the old Deutsche! If you know me in real life, you’ll be able to confirm how rare me speaking German is (looking at you Amy!)

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There were a couple of reason why we chose to go to Vienna to ring in 2018. One of them was most definitely their cafe culture and the history behind it. Two, our growing appreciation for classical music and, lastly, their annual NYE celebrations always look lovely. Plus, who can resist a slice of Sachertorte drenched in chocolate, apricot jam and tradition?

Cafe culture in Vienna has a very long and rich history – some of the original ones dated back to the 1600s! It was in the 1800s though that they really became associated with artists, poets, musicians and philosophers. People would spend more of their lives in coffee houses than at home. They say that cafe houses became as familiar as peoples’ own living rooms, with some customers even having their post delivered to their local one. They played host to live music and artistic readings as well as debates. Their popularity dwindled over the course of the World Wars but have slowly been revived since the 1980s.

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While they have undoubtedly changed throughout the centuries, many cafe houses still open today. This warms my Independent-Cafe-Loving-Heart. Even though Vienna has a fair few international coffee chains on its’ streets, there is still loyalty and commitment to these institutions.

Some might say, places which serve tea on silver trays are stuck in the past and vamped up for tourists. They may be right, but who cares?! I think for me, the special thing about Coffee Houses is that you are served everything to a high quality and left alone to enjoy. Sometimes for hours.

While sitting in a wifi free zone to enjoy a coffee and a cake may not be to everyone’s schedule these days, it is special. I want to feel as if I am somewhere different and eating something I couldn’t dream of making at home. I want to see traditional trays and cake forks and tea served in pots. I want to see a wide selection of cake slices using a variety of ingredients. Cakes with mirror shines or filled with chocolate mousse (Chocolate Mousse Cake is the flat one in these photographs). Really, I want to see a craft come to life and service shine.

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In reality, I do understand that we can’t all sit around reading our hand delivered post in Coffee Houses while debating the meaning of life. Anyway, most people have already used free wifi somewhere else googling the answer. For the most part, I love modern cafes and pop ups and often enjoy a coffee to go. However, I definitely believe Ireland will miss tradition if it goes for good and feel lucky to have had this escape to Vienna as a delicious reminder.

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These casual photos were taken in Oberlaa and were delicious! I hope I get the opportunity to go back to Vienna one day and eat it all again. We also tasted the famous Demel’s Sachertorte on NYE night – we shared one on the street before the chocolate even had a chance to set – apricot heaven I promise you!

One Comment Add yours

  1. byrnewithme says:

    I’m fascinated by the café culture back in the 1800s. I’d love to go back in time and experience it, but I’m not sure if women were a part of that culture? Vienna seems like a great place to visit anyway!

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