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.

More from Wendy Bartlett