The eternal Viennese question. With or without cream? Not a dribble of pouring cream or half and half, but a great dollop of whipped goodness on top of anything and everything you care to choose.
Oh, and the default is definitely “with”.
Of course, the Austrians are well known for the sweetest of things. Shop windows are full of chocolate (Mozart Kugeln, truffles and krapfen) and the coffee shops vie with one another over the claim of the original Sachertorte. (We bought ours in Demel, shown in the picture above, though of course, the Hotel Sacher has a louder call). We enjoyed our Apfelstrudel on a couple of occasions and searched in vain for another favourite: Kaiserschmarrn, settling for the Salzburger nockerl instead. Lesser known perhaps are the Manner wafers, which have a knicker-pink shop of their own in the city centre too.
But man cannot live on only sweetness, and on our first evening, feeling tired and looking for the simplest answer to the question of our hunger, we sought advice from the concierge for somewhere to eat; somewhere gemütlich and with traditional fare to offer. He proposed the Weissen Rauchfangkehrer, about which I wrote in an earlier post. Whilst the food here was certainly based on traditional dishes and tasted remarkably good, it was rather too refined, too delicate and a little grander than we would prefer. So, rather than a hearty bowl of gulaschsuppe, a somewhat elegant arrangement appeared, to the slight disappointment of those who were hoping to tuck in.
We tried an old favourite, Witwe Bolte’s, on the opposite side of the Ringstrasse. Here, we’d enjoyed the hearty fare we were hoping for on our last visit, and the website promised good things. Sure enough, once again the food was good but somehow just that bit too cheffy.
Perhaps the old days of plain and simple, traditional cooking were over? Maybe the Viennese no longer tuck into platefuls of dumplings and noodles?
One member of the family (I’ll leave you to guess who) was determined to find somewhere to enjoy his favourite tafelspitz and identified Plachutta. Not only was it on a street not too far from our hotel, they could squeeze us in if we were prepared to come early.
Guess which restaurant saw us again the following night? Not only was the menu full of the best, traditional Austrian dishes, the service was super and those copper pans contained exactly what they promised. For those of us who choose slightly lighter fare (ahem) the Wiener Schnitzel is first class too!
This morning, as I pottered about, catching up on this and that, an email arrived with this link. I think someone’s going to be trying it out for himself before too long!