I crossed the street from the foundation and headed into an alley that led to Cafe Central, and yes! I stood in the queue waiting to get in.
Café Central is a historic coffeehouse located in Vienna, Austria. It was opened in 1876 and quickly became a popular meeting place for artists, intellectuals, and politicians.
Vienna in 1876 was a bustling imperial city and the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was a time of rapid growth and development, as the city's population steadily increased throughout the 19th century. In 1876, Vienna had around 800,000 people, making it one of the largest cities in Europe.
Vienna was also a cultural and artistic centre with a vibrant music and arts scene. The city was home to many famous composers, including Franz Schubert, Johann Strauss II, and Gustav Mahler, and was known for its grand music halls and theatres.
At the same time, Vienna was also a city of stark social contrasts. The wealth and luxury of the imperial court stood in sharp contrast to the poverty and squalor of the city's working-class neighbourhoods. The city also grappled with rapid industrialization and urbanization, leading to overcrowding, pollution, and other social and environmental problems.
Overall, Vienna in 1876 was a city of great contrasts and contradictions, with a rich cultural heritage and a rapidly changing social and economic landscape.
The café has a rich history, serving as a meeting place for famous figures such as Sigmund Freud, Leon Trotsky, and Adolf Hitler. It was frequented by artists and writers associated with the Vienna Secession movement, such as Gustaf Klimt, the Austrian symbolist painter; Peter Altenber, the writer and poet; and Stefan Sweing, the novelist and playwright. It was also a centre of intellectual and cultural life in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century.
The interior of Cafe Central Vienna is both grand and inviting. It is located in a beautiful and historic building originally constructed in the 1870s, and the interior has been carefully restored to its original splendour.
The first thing visitors notice upon entering the cafe is the stunning vaulted ceiling, which is adorned with ornate chandeliers and decorative mouldings. The walls are decorated with richly patterned wallpaper and paintings by famous Austrian artists, and the floors are made of polished marble.
One of the most striking features of the interior is the large, circular counter that serves as the centrepiece of the cafe. This counter is made of dark wood and features an impressive array of pastries, cakes, and other treats on display.
I sat before this centrepiece and ordered a Sachertore and an Apfelstrudel.
The Sachertorte, or Sacher cake, is a famous Viennese chocolate cake that Franz Sacher invented in 1832. Sacher was a 16-year-old apprentice chef at the court of Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and he was tasked with creating a special dessert for a distinguished guest.
According to legend, Sacher had to improvise the recipe at the last minute when the head chef fell ill, and he came up with a rich chocolate cake filled with apricot jam and covered with a layer of chocolate ganache. The dessert was a hit and quickly became the prince's and his guests' favourite.
The recipe for the Sachertorte was eventually passed down to Sacher's son Eduard, who opened the Hotel Sacher in Vienna in 1876. The hotel became famous for its luxurious accommodations and fine dining, and the Sachertorte became its signature dessert.
On the other hand, the Apfelstrudel had an even older pedigree. Apfelstrudel, or apple strudel, is a traditional Viennese pastry with a sweet, flaky dough filled with spiced apples, raisins, and breadcrumbs. The pie is typically rolled into a long, thin shape and baked until golden brown and crispy on the outside, with a soft and tender filling on the inside.
The origins of apple strudel can be traced back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 18th century when it was a popular dessert among the nobility and upper classes. The recipe was later passed down to the middle class, eventually becoming a staple of Viennese cuisine.
Today, apple strudel is enjoyed worldwide, and it is a popular dessert in many Austrian, German, and Central European restaurants and bakeries.
I was disappointed with the Sachertorte. I don't know why I thought it was moister. However, the Apple strudel did not disappoint; it hit the spot with the not-too-sweet apples, cinnamon, and crumbling crust.
After this afternoon spot, I can say that my mission in Vienna has been accomplished!