Discovering the Sweetness of Vienna
Some of Vienna’s luxury hotels set about revealing their sweetest side by creating signature cakes to tempt us. In so doing, they became part of one the city’s most firmly rooted traditions, namely that of Viennese cafés and their fine confectionery. Here, then, are some of the venues where you can enjoy these delicious, exclusive creations.
Hotel Sacher Vienna – The Sacher Torte
Who here has not yet tried the Sacher Torte? But, do you know the origin of this popular Viennese cake? Franz Sachercreated this marvel in 1832 while working as an apprentice chef in the household of Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich. This spongy chocolate cake with homemade apricot jam and chocolate topping was so successful that it became one of Vienna’s classics. Eduard, Franz Sacher’s son, opened the Hotel Sacher Vienna, where the original recipe has been jealously guarded until our times. The hotel currently sells over 360,000 “sacher-tortes” each year – a third of them are eaten on the premises; another third are delivered to sales outlets and the remaining third is sent to customers around the world.
Hotel Imperial – The Imperial Torte
Like the sacher-torte, the Imperial Torte has a long history under its belt. In 1873, a young apprentice cook created this recipe in honour of Emperor Franz Josef I to mark the inauguration of the Hotel Imperial. This cake, made up of several layers of almond paste filled with chocolate and marzipan and covered in a chocolate glaze, provides the ideal excuse for visiting this magnificent hotel and indulging in the tasty treat. And, for those who would like to relive the experience or are unable to travel to Vienna, there is always the option to order it online.
Grand Hotel Vienna - The Grand Guglhupf
The confectionery delight which lies behind the Grand Hotel Vienna is their Grand Guglhupf cake. While the recipe is a closely guarded secret, we know it contains butter, sugar, flour and eggs and that the flourish is provided by red wine and cinnamon. Should you be unable to drop in on the fabulous hotel café, located on the Kärntner Ring, you can order it online here.
Ritz-Carlton Vienna – The Ritz-Carlton Cake
In 2014, the luxury Ritz-Carlton created its own signature cake, of which the main ingredients are an exquisite blend of dark chocolate with bursts of orange. You can savour it at the Ritz-Carlton Vienna, situated on the Ringstrasse, or in any of the 85 other hotels in the chain scattered around the world.
Do & Co Hotel Vienna – The Domspitz Cake
The Do & Co Hotel Vienna, located on the Stephansplatz, created the exquisite Domspitz cake inspired no less than by one of the city’s landmarks, St Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom). This chocolate cake with poppy seeds, filled with damson jam coated in chocolate, is sold in a triangular box designed to resemble the roof tiles on the Cathedral.
Vienna Marriott Hotel – The Ringstrasse Cake
At the Vienna Marriott Hotel they also decided to pay tribute to one of the city’s most emblematic
places, the Ringstrasse. This popular avenue features a major architectural complex characterised by its historicist style which is regarded as one of Vienna’s major attractions. The Ringstrasse cake is a combination of sponge cake with raw marzipan, bits of candied orange and hazelnut nougat – a delight on the palate!
Boutique Hotel Altstadt Vienna – The Otto Torte
If only for its unique interior design, it is well worth heading for the city’s Seventh District to visit the Hotel Altstadt Vienna. If to this you add their delicious chocolate cake known as the Otto Torte, crafted by the famous television chef, Sarah Wiener, a successful visit is guaranteed.
Treat yourself to a delicious cake experience – secure your Vueling and travel to Vienna!
Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación
Gustav Klimts Vienna
It would be impossible to imagine 20th-century Vienna without the amazing art legacy of Gustav Klimt (1862-1918). While his primary subjects were the female nude and portraits of Vienna’s high society, the works of this symbolist painter continue to fascinate experts and amateurs alike. Today we tour Vienna in search of the oeuvre of one of the most compelling painters of all times.
“To Every Age its Art, to Every Art its Freedom”
The best way to come to grips with Klimt’s legacy in Vienna is by starting at the building of the Vienna Secession, designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich and sited at 12 Friedrichstrasse. A dome festooned with laurel leaves crowns a facade which bears the motto of the Secession, “To Every Age its Art, to Every Art its Freedom”. The motto is accompanied by a frieze created by Klimt in 1902 as a tribute to Ludwig van Beethoven. Visitors to the building were greeted by the Beethoven Frieze, one of his most celebrated works. Measuring 34 metres long by 2.15 metres high, it was not put on public display again until 1986.
This famous painting recalling Wagner conducting Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was actually intended for a temporary exhibition, but was saved from destruction by a collector. It was divided up and acquired by the Austrian state again in 1973, and exhibited once more as of 1986.
After the Vienna Secession building, our next stop is the must-visit Museum of Art History (Kunsthistorisches Museum). After entering, as you go up the staircase, look up at the 40 paintings on the columns and arches executed by the three artists making up the so-called Society of Artists, whose members were Gustav Klimt, his brother Ernst and Franz Matsch.
After completing their work at the Museum, the Society of Artists was commissioned to execute a number of frescoes on the two staircases of the Burgtheater (Universitätsring, 2). The project was so successful that the painters were decorated by Emperor Franz Josef. On the main staircase, Klimt recreated the Theatre in Taormina, while on the other he provided a depiction of the Globe Theatre in London featuring the final scene from Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet." This work includes what is regarded as the only self-portrait he ever painted.
A stone’s throw from the Burgtheater lies the Karlsplatz, one of the city’s nerve centres, which boasts some of the most famous buildings of the Vienna Secession. Prominent landmarks include the Otto Wagner Pavilion (built in 1900 for the Vienna Metro lines), the Künstlerhaus and the Art History Museum, which houses some of Klimt’s works, notably Pallas Athene and a portrait of Emilie Flöge. He was very attached to Emilie, his sister-in-law, although there is no evidence that they romanced, as some claim. He also painted many other women, including Maria Zimmermann (Mizzi), Johanna Staude and Adele Bloch-Bauer, of whom he did two portraits.
The Belvedere Palace Museum houses some of Klimt’s most acclaimed paintings, chiefly two icons of his “Golden Phase” – The Kiss and Judith I. Gustav’s father and brother were gold engravers, which accounts for his foray into golden ornamentation and his use of gold leaf. The Belvedere houses more works by Klimt than any other gallery – twenty-four, in all. However, you should also make a point of visiting the Leopold Museum, in the heart of the Museumsquartier (MQ). Displayed alongside works by Schiele are Klimt’s Death and Life, in addition to a study for Judith II and a view of Lake Atter.
Gustav Klimt had several studios during his lifetime, but the only one which has survived to the present is where he spent the last few years of his life. The Klimt Villa, situated on the Feldmühlgasse 11, was re-opened to the public in 2012 after being rebuilt from period photos. While it does not house original works, it provides an interesting insight into the life of this universal artist.
Don’t pass up the chance to discover the work of Gustav Klimt – book your Vueling here.
Text by Aleix Palau for Los Viajes de ISABELYLUISmore info
Ai Weiwei Lands In Vienna
Ai Weiwei is a controversial figure wherever he goes. While his activist streak has earned him more than one headline in the media, particularly in connection with the problems he has with the regime in his native China, his artistic facet has also put him under the spotlight in all the exhibitions he unveils, given the political denunciation behind his work. Last year it was the Royal Academy of London that enshrined him as the great international artist he is. Now it is Vienna’s turn as it hosts an exhibition, running until 20 November, of his latest works. This is the largest display of Ai Weiwei’s work so far in Austria.
A Temple in the Museum
Under the title, Translocation – Transformation, referring to the metamorphosis which people and objects undergo after a deliberate relocation, migration or expulsion, the event features several installations by Ai Weiwei distributed over different spaces in the Belvedere Gardens. The main feature of the exhibition, curated by Alfred Weidinger, is located in the former Austrian pavilion for the 1958 World Expo, currently used as a platform for promoting contemporary art under the name 21er Haus. Displayed in the interior is the Wang Family Ancestral Hall, an installation which is unlikely to leave the viewer unmoved. This 14-metre-high exhibit made up of 1,300 separate pieces is an ancestral temple from the Ming Dynasty. The temple, which belonged to the Wang family, a clan of tea merchants who were expelled from China during the Cultural Revolution, was thus abandoned. Ai Weiwei acquired it from an investor some time ago and transformed it into what we see today, a decontextualised work which coexists and communicates with other architectural environments.
Another exhibition site, the Upper Belvedere pond, showcases the installation, F Lotus, where the artist elicits a reflection on subjects unfortunately in the limelight in recent years, notably the refugee crisis besetting Europe. The work comprises 1,005 discarded life vests picked up on the beaches of Lesbos after being used by Syrian refugees on their sea crossing to Europe. They are set in a total of 201 rings linked to resemble the lotus flower, the overall structure forming a hugefin the water.
Another work displayed in the Upper Belvedere pond is the Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, a veritable classic of Ai Weiwei’s oeuvre. Composed of twelve bronze heads standing for the signs of the zodiac in the Chinese horoscope, they are inspired by the fountain-clock at the summer palace of Yuanming Yuan which was ransacked by French and British troops during the Second Opium War in 1860. The treasures – including the heads – were looted and have never been returned since.
Eager to see the work of Ai Weiwei first-hand? Be sure to make a getaway to Vienna – book your Vueling here.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUISmore info
Vienna In Grand Style
Parks, gardens, palaces and museums; the Danube fitted out with an urban beach; street food in stalls and riverside bars; gastrobars, bistronomics and signature restaurants which have superseded and even deleted from their menu the well-worn schnitzel (or Viennese escalope). Vienna’s cuisine is enough to make you do cartwheels like their giant Ferris Wheel. It’s not a case of being greedy but because the offerings are so extensive and inviting – even in haute cuisine – that you need a few days to taste and enjoy the rich variety in style.
Where To Eat:
It is not the most Michelin-starred restaurant in Vienna but it does rank among the top ten in the world, and deservedly so. Its formidable siting, in one of the city’s loveliest parks, matches its flashy gourmet cuisine in which the feast takes precedence over minimalist restriction. Tables are decked out in their finery, while a trolley with goodies does the rounds for aperitifs or cocktails, with others for bread, cheeses and even aromatic herbs, picking their way among the impeccable dishes crafted by Heinz Reitbauer, who digs into tradition and experiments with various tasting menus.
After choosing between the short or long menus, gourmet dishes with some discreet flourishes are trotted out in succession. Creative bites with marked contrasts emerge from a minute kitchen married well to the dining room, each of them managed by one of the two Mraz brothers. Be sure to go on the cellar tour if you’re interested in learning the true story behind this family business.
You don’t need to be a vegetarian to venture into Paul Ivic’s cuisine – although, if you are, you’ll enjoy it even more. Few chefs of his calibre have done so much to raise the status of eminently wholesome cuisine. Based on an exhaustive selection of the best local produce, judicious combinations, exciting plating ups and wonderful desserts, Tian is a venue to remember, as is the more informal version of their bistro, which serves the most unusual apfelstrudel (apple strudel) in town.
This is chef Konstantin Filippou’s bistronomic – he also has his own door-to-door culinary facility. In this bistro, wine plays a crucial role in pairing dishes, which pose few risks and are served up in generous helpings. You will have a hearty meal and even better drinks.
Where To Have…
A Pizza. For those who need to switch between full-course meals and fast, affordable snacks, your best bet is Pizza Mari’, where you can either have a pizza on the premises or take one home. A decent array of Italian specialities in a huge eatery. Best to book in advance.
An Ice-cream. Whether the idea is to overturn or to reinforce Vienna’s reputation as being a “cold” city, the fact is it boasts countless ice-cream parlours. Be sure to head for Schelato, where they resort to sheer Italian art in order to serve up amazing flavours which are constantly being renewed. The cosy premises also invite one to tarry.
A Sacher. Treat yourself to the best sacher, either single or in portions, at Demel, where the bakery is on view and should definitely be visited before sitting down at one of the tables. The display cabinet in the entrance is highly tempting so, if you can afford it, be sure to taste their mille feuille and other classic cakes.
A Drink. One of the most interesting bars in town is located on the top floor of the 25 Hours Hotel, in the heart of the museum district. You will certainly take to the Bar Lounge Dachboden for its ambience, cocktails, terrace with views and decorative features from bygone times.
Where To Sleep
In the heart of the city’s 1st District, a stone’s throw from St Stephen’s Cathedral, stands this hotel with its loft suites, Art Nouveau decor, a small roof terrace and excellent service. Make a point of visiting it, even if just to have a drink, as it is really charming. Snugly set in a cul-de-sac, it is a stylish, culturally priceless oasis.
Located in a main thoroughfare where most of the tram lines run and with a host of pavement cafés, The Ring is a casual version of a Grand Hotel. Be sure to drop in on their sauna with views of the city’s skyline. Enjoy their a la carte breakfast and bear in mind you can also have a drink in the wee hours in their bar.
Text and photos by Belén Parra of Gastronomistas.com