I've been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of some of the most beautiful cities in Europe on this tour, and Vienna certainly ranks as one of the most exquisite. You can feel the art all around you, but particularly music, naturally. Besides the gorgeous architecture, there is some very famous food to be had in this city as well. On my first night, before heading to the opera, I didn't have time to get to the most famous schnitzel house in town, so went to one closer to the hotel, on the recommendation of the concierge.
First up, the two sizeable slabs of schnitzel from Salm Bräu were simple and delicious. The veal was melt-in-your-mouth tender, with a light and very crispy exterior. With a squeeze of lemon and the tangy sweet of the cranberry sauce, it was a great match for the Grüner I ordered, meeting and evening out its bite with the richness of the veal.
The accompanying potatoes, very simply dressed in oil and parsley, were quite light and fluffy with a subtly nutty flavour. I'd be interested to know what variety of potatoes are used, as they held together quite well, without being overly starchy.
Next day it was on to Figlmüller. This legendary spot has been around, and specialising in schnitzel, since 1905. It's regarded the world over as THE place to have authentic wiener schnitzel. Their version is a mammoth, and is served even more simply than the one I had the night before, with only a quarter of a lemon.
In a head-to-head battle, Salm Bräu is the winner for me here. It may be less traditional, with its cranberry sauce, but the flavours and texture were just more to my taste. The Figlmüller schnitzel is fine, but has a more muted flavour profile, and the breading much denser and less crunchy. I only managed to get through about 1/4 of it before starting to feel stuffed. To be fair, this could also be because I ate the second one earlier in the day, but it was definitely heavier than Salm Braü's version.
On a non-schnitzel note, I did manage to visit another legendary Viennese establishment - The Hotel Sacher - birthplace and home of the original Sacher torte. If you haven't tasted this cake before and, like me, are a fan of the combination of orange and dark chocolate, you owe it to yourself to find any version of it, immediately.
When the plate arrives, you are faced with what seems an impossibly large and rich slab of chocolate cake, slathered in a dark chocolate ganache. But once you put a forkful in your mouth, you're surprised to find it deceptively airy and light. The original recipe for this confectionary delight is a fiercely guarded secret of the hotel, but it seems the distinctive, what tastes to many like orange, flavour comes from very thinly spread layers of an apricot jam. Absolutely delicious. It will now be my mission, when I go home, to source the finest Sacher torte Toronto has to offer. Any leads would be greatly appreciated.