Vienna For A Bon Vivant

It’s easy to see why Vienna, a city of music, cafes, waltzes, parks, pastries, and wine is a popular port-of-call on a Danube River cruise. But only a true foodie will know that Viennese Cuisine is the only fare in the world to be named after a city. Viennese chefs draw on influences from various countries to create awesome dishes that never fail to grab hold of the imagination.

During your free time in Vienna, explore the legendary markets. Since the Middle Ages, Viennese merchants have prospered by hauling produce, dairy products, and meats from the rich farms of Lower Austria and Burgenland into the city center. The tradition of buying the day’s provisions directly from street stalls is so strong, even today, that it discourages the creation of modern supermarkets in the city center.

The largest of the city’s outdoor food markets is the Naschmarkt, Wienzeile, in the 6th District (U-Bahn: Karlsplatz), just south of the Ring. It’s located on what was originally the riverbed of a branch of the Danube, which was diverted and paved over during the enormous public works projects of the 19th century. It’s the most time-honored and vibrant of the markets, as well as the most all-encompassing.

Volumes have been written about the subcultures and linguistic dialects that thrive among the Naschmarkt’s denizens. Observe the following implicit rules if you want to avoid the fury of the infamously irascible women selling their wares: Never touch merchandise unless you intend to buy something. Don’t try to buy less than a half-kilo (about a pound) of potatoes. And — even if you speak German well — don’t even try to understand the bawdy Viennese patois.

Arrive early in the morning and mosey through the warren of outdoor food stalls, and at the end of your excursion, head for the nearby Coffeehouse Drechsler for breakfast or a cup of coffee.

Picnickers will find that Vienna is among the best-stocked cities in Europe for food supplies. The best — and least expensive — place is the Naschmarkt, an open-air market that’s only a 5-minute stroll from Karlsplatz (the nearest U-Bahn stop). Here you’ll find hundreds of stalls selling fresh produce, breads, meats, cheeses, flowers, tea, and more. Fast-food counters and other stands peddle ready-made foods such as grilled chicken, Austrian and German sausages, sandwiches, and even beer. The market is open Monday to Friday from 6am to 6:30pm, Saturday from 6am to 1pm. You can also buy your picnic at one of Vienna’s many delis, such as Konditorei Oberlaa, Neuer Markt 16 (tel. 01/513-2936), or Gerstner, Kärntnerstrasse 15 (tel. 01/5124-9630).

With your picnic basket in hand, head for Stadtpark or the Volksgarten, both on the famous Ring. Even better, if the weather is right, plan an excursion into the Vienna Woods.

Need more Viennese cuisine? The windows of the venerated Café Demel, Kohlmarkt 14 (tel. 01/5351717; U-Bahn: Herrengasse; Bus: 1A or 2A), are filled with fanciful spun-sugar creations of characters from folk legends. Inside you’ll find a splendidly baroque landmark where dozens of pastries are available daily, including the Pralinen, Senegal, truffle, Sand, and Maximilian tortes, as well as Gugelhupfs (cream-filled horns). Demel also serves a mammoth variety of tea sandwiches made with smoked salmon, egg salad, caviar, or shrimp. If you want to be traditional, ask for a Demel-Coffee, which is filtered coffee served with milk, cream, or whipped cream. It’s open daily from 10am to 7pm.

For more information about Vienna’s delicacies visit
www.vienna.info
Sacher-Torte

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Hungry To Travel?

Imagine a holiday focusing on what you really like best, from world-wide cruises featuring celebrity guest chefs to tours that spotlight wine tastings at acclaimed vineyards. If you’re like me, you’re a foodie who likes to travel. Someone who wants to have your cake and eat it… Culinary and enrichment travel packages are our trademark. Savoring local cuisine while you explore the destination’s marvelous sights and attractions is the icing on the cake. A European river cruise will tempt the taste buds of epicures and wine lovers with port visits in medieval towns and inspiring historic cities. Savor a coffee and Sachertorte in one of Vienna’s coffee houses. Or enjoy a Saint Veran, Loch and Pouilly-Fuisse tasting in the Mâconnais region on a French wine country cruise.

Sound appetizing? Mix in the fact that on a river cruise, you only unpack once, you never stand in long lines, and sightseeing tours are included all along the way and you have a winning travel recipe!

Insider planning caveat about cruising Europe’s rivers:
While the cruise season is usually April to October and beyond to the Christmas market, you should know that insignificant rain and spring flooding can make the rivers balloon and the locks become impassable.
Also, if there’s a drought, low water can be a problem. If the vessel can’t move, you’ll typically be taken to the sights by motorcoach.

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River Cruise Dining

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