I love to tease and tempt my Australasian friends by sending postcards of all the amazing places you can literally ‘pop’ to for a weekend. Recently I did just that and literally ‘popped’ over to Vienna using a whole year of air-mile points, which I am very proud of. It was only for the weekend and it was just because I can.

I had no real expectations of what Vienna would be like but how wrong was I; admittedly we had timed it with a festival of the Danube where there were beach parties on the banks and the whole place was rocking. As a quarter of all Austrians live in Vienna it’s obviously where it all happens – it’s a surprisingly young place as everyone I saw was trendy, thin and good-looking. So watching the world go by from a cafe wasn’t not entirely unpleasant, especially when you can sit drinking great coffee and eating infamous Viennese pasties (how do they all stay so thin – the bread and pastries are all amazing!)

It did make me wonder how under utilised the river Thames is and how we don’t make a real feature of it. The Danube is a real tourist feature and lots of efforts are made to include it in the reason to visit. The river of course is famous for going through 4 capitals in Europe but it’s also a real central social point and where some of best eateries are. The Viennese socialise and take hospitality seriously, and all the waiting teams were friendly, efficient and attentive.

The cakes there were honestly the best I’ve ever tasted! I couldn’t stop eating the pastries, pretzels and bread and there were so many varieties to choose from, not forgetting the infamous chocolate torte and strudels, they were to die for. We had a great schnitzel – apparently a General bought the idea over from northern Italy and raved so much that the emperor insisted it be made for him too and now it stuck in culinary history.

Vienna is also the only capital in Europe that makes wine. Not bad wine either and it’s pretty much all they sell so they are most indignant to think you wouldn’t want to drink it. They have lots of strange cordials and mixes , one called Hugo, which is white wine, soda, elderflower cordial and mint leaves was particularly refreshing.

I would recommend Vienna as a great spot and from there you can get day trips to Bratislava, Prague and Budapest so it has a wealth of culinary opportunity to discover

My earliest food memories are of my mum’s baking; coconut pyramid cakes were my favourite.

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