10 December 2009 at 1.12pm | 2 Comments
So begins The Third Man. One easy reminder of what it might have been like is to go and experience the Royal Opera House’s production of Richard (rather than Johann) Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier . It resounds with waltzes and suffuses the enticing smell of coffee and hot chocolate at the Marschallin’s levée.
Vienna is the perfect destination for the addictive personality. It proffers some of the finest beer in Europe and its vineyards produce delicious flinty dry whites. For the caffeine fanatic or chocoholic, there is panacea enough in the city’s cafés and confectioners. It is nigh impossible to pass by the Kaiserlich und königlich Hofzuckerbäcker Ch. Demels Söhne (the Imperial and Royal Court Sugar Baker Christoph Demel’s Sons) on Graben, just up from the entrance to the Hofburg Palace , without drooling over its crystalised sugary displays. During Franz Josef’s reign (the Emperor in Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling), these pioneering confectioners from Württemberg became a saccharine fixture of the Vienna highlife.
Beyond the grand trappings of Demel, the visitor can find the everyday Viennese quietly at their own levée. On almost every corner of the baroque inner city or the 19th century suburbs, the local pours over papers and magazines as they are presented with coffee, tea or the naughty heiße Schokolade mit Schlag (hot chocolate with cream). The Marschallin and Octavian may be grandly served breakfast propped on their plump pillows, but all the Viennese, regardless of class, have a long-standing tradition of taking time over a hot drink and a piece of fattening confectionery.
Gavin Plumley, http://entartetemusik.blogspot.com/