Ah Vienna. A modern city that still manages to continue time-honored traditions in culture, from opera, ballet, and cuisine. So much so, that even Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake) continues in the same places with the same recipes for hundreds of years. Though many think of Sachertorte and Apfelstrudel when they think of Vienna, I strongly suggest my new favorite cake: the Demeltorte (Demel cake), a walnut chocolate cake strewn with candied violets (see above), which carries the name of one of the most famous pastry shops in town.
The interior is gorgeous, see for yourself:
It’s easy to get lost in an Amélie-style reverie at the main café and shop in the 1. Bezirk of the innere Stadt. I was so blinded by the gorgeousness, I almost walked away without buying the requisite souvenirs for friends and family (*gasp*). One of them was a small Sachertorte in a box — it is still debated which bakery, Demel or the Hotel de Rome, is the “true” cake. I’ve had both – I still think both are great!
Anyway, about eating flowers:
Candied violets are a delicacy that are historically made by Demel, mostly due to the fact that they were suppliers of baked goods and sweets to the Hofburg Palace, hence their status as “k.u.k. Hofzuckerbäcker” or kaiserlicher und königlicher Hoflieferant.
Empress Elisabeth (affectionally called Sissi) was notoriously obsessed with her appearance, spending hours on her hair and going on walks for almost 10 hours to maintain her slim figure — with a waist circumference of 50cm/19in to boot. With this in mind, Sissi still insisted on deliveries from Demel. Not for cake, but for candied violets.
At Demel, you can purchase a case of just the candied violets (kandierte Veilchen) and indulge à la Sissi. Or you can forget about your waistline and purchase chocolate bars with violets or have a Demeltorte topped with them. Either way, you can try Sissi’s favorite — as they are made the same as before.
If you are too sad to leave without a last memorable bite, you can also get a mini Demeltorte (or a whole slice) at the Vienna Airport — if you happen to be a passenger leaving from either the C or G gates!
Demel (Innere Stadt)
Daily von 9-7 pm