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Vienna's Sweetest Vice
Many think that the chief contribution of the people who created the Viennese waltz and the operetta comes with the dessert course in the form of rich and luscious pastries, and in the beloved and universal Schlagobers (whipped cream).
Demel. The display cases are filled to the brim at Demel, a 200-year-old confectioner famous for sweetmeats that make every heart beat faster (and eventually slower). All you have to do is point at what you want and then take a seat. Don't forget to watch the pastry chef at work in the glassed-in courtyard. Beyond the shop proper are stairs that lead to dining salons where the decor is almost as sweet as the goods on sale. Chocolate lovers will want to try the Viennese Sachertorte (two layers of dense chocolate cake, with apricot jam sandwiched between, and chocolate icing on top) and compare it with its competition at Café Sacher. Kohlmarkt 14, 1st District, Vienna, A-1010. 01/535-1717. www.demel.at.
Gerstner. In the heart of the bustling Kärntnerstrasse, Gerstner is one of the best places for dark, moist, mouthwatering poppy-seed cake, carrot cake, and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Rumor has it that Gerstner sells the tastiest strudel in town. Its decor is modern, but the place has been here since the mid-18th century. Kärntnerstrasse 13-15, Vienna, A-1010. 01/512-4963. www.gerstner.at.
Oberlaa. You'll find irresistible confections such as the Oberlaa Kurbad cake, truffle cake, and chocolate-mousse cake here. Popular with the locals and a great value, there are many Oberlaa branches to choose from, including Landstrasser Hauptstrasse 1 and Babenbergerstrasse 7. The good lunch menu includes vegetarian dishes. Neuer Markt 16, Vienna, A-1010. 01/513-2936. Babenbergerstrasse 7, opposite Kunsthistoriches Museum. 01/586-7282. Landstrasser Hauptstrasse 1. 01/715-2740.
Sperl. Founded in 1880, Sperl has an Old Viennese ambience. It's in the 6th District not far from the MuseumsQuartier. Gumpendorferstrasse 11, 6th District/Mariahilf, Vienna, A-1060. 01/586-4158. www.cafesperl.at.
Aida. It doesn't really matter which of the many branches of Aida you visit—they're all quite similar. Aida is most famous for the cheapest cup of (excellent) coffee in town, but the incredibly inexpensive pastries are just fantastic. Besides what might be considered the main location on Singerstrasse, there are branches in the center of the city at Rotenturmstrasse 24, Wollzeile 28, Bognergasse 3, and Opernring 7. Singerstrasse 1, 1st District, Vienna, A-1010. 01/890-4616. Opernring 7. 01/533-1933. Bognergasse 3. 01/533-9442. Stock-im-Eisen-Platz 2. 01/512-2977. Wollzeile 28. 01/512-3724. Praterstrasse 78. 01/216-2137. Rotenturmstrasse 24. 01/582-585.
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