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Queensland, Australia
I'm an Australian author of Contemporary Romance, Romantic Action/Adventure, and Historical fiction. I live in Queensland, Australia. www.noelleclark.net

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Guest author: Antonia van Zandt ... Vienna – Where The World Stops For Coffee

Today I am honoured to have author Antonia van Zandt as my guest. Recently, I mentioned to Antonia - who resides in Vienna, Austria - that I had fond memories of my last visit there, albeit a long time ago. I particularly remember walking through the cultured and beautiful city, through tree-lined streets, and noting its quiet sophistication. I remember the surreal evening when we stood outside a beautiful old building, yellow light from the windows warming us as we shivered in the chilly air, listening to an orchestra play Mozart and Strauss. I also mentioned that Vienna was the place where I tasted simply the best pastries and cakes in the world.

Please, grab a coffee, sit back and relax, as Antonia takes us on a unique journey in the city she loves - Vienna.

Vienna – Where The World Stops For Coffee

Vienna is truly the coffee house capital of the world, so I remember how outraged I felt when Starbucks dared to take over the former Air France premises in fashionable Kärntnerstrasse.

“How dare they!” I exclaimed – both inwardly and outwardly - and so began a personal boycott which exists to this day. I cannot bring myself to step over that threshold, even though I‘m quite happy to sip a latte with the best of them anywhere else in the world.

So why the extreme reaction? Well, simply put, when it comes to coffee there is a tradition in Vienna, dating back centuries to 1683, when the Turks besieged the city. It’s the Coffee House Culture and it’s unique to this lovely old city. It’s a culture that has survived invasion, war and occupation and is still going strong. Since 2011, it has even been classified as a UNESCO ‘intangible cultural heritage’.
So what is it about Vienna’s coffee houses that makes them so different?

Cafe Central
These days there around a dozen or so famous ones and each has its own character and ambience, but wander into the Central, the Landtmann, the Demel or any of the others and you will find certain common denominators. In every one of them, you leave the world at the doorstep. Inside the hallowed halls, time ceases to have meaning, life slows to a pace determined by how long it takes you to read a newspaper, sip a cup of coffee, nibble a tasty pastry and/or debate issues of serious or trivial importance. I swear the clocks tick slower there and you can feel that cogwheel of tension unscrew itself from your back.

Cafe Sperl
Your nose wrinkles with delight at the heady aroma of roasted coffeebeans and a smiling (well, usually anyway) waiter or waitress guides you to your comfortable seat which will be yours for as long as you stay. Even if all you buy is one cup of coffee, no one will present you with a bill until you ask for it. And with that cup of coffee, expect a tall glass of water and maybe a macaroon or similar. No one will hover over you expectantly, however busy the place gets or however empty your cup.

Cafe Landtmann

Cafe Hawelka

Then there are the coffees themselves. Many of the coffee houses roast their own beans and you can buy packets of these to take away with you. Sadly, transporting the atmosphere is another matter! Needless to say, the variety of coffee available is wide – from the extra strong Turkish, to the milder Melange, and not forgetting the deliciously wicked Fiaker (double espresso, cherry brandy, sugar and lashings of cream). Whatever you do, never ask for just ‘coffee’. This will mark you out as a rank amateur. Here’s a link to a site that gives you more detail on coffee varieties http://www.vienna.cc/e/ekaffeeh.htm

Pastries in Cafe Central
Sachertorte in the Demel
Expect the hours to just sail by unnoticed. I hope you now know that, in Vienna, you don’t pop into a coffee house for a quick coffee. If you want that, then by all means go to Starbucks. I’ll pass though. You’ll find me in the Café Central!
Want more of a taste? Have a look at this short film:

Antonia van Zandt writes Paranormal Erotic Romance and her latest novella – Vienna Valentine – is available from:
All Romance eBooks
Barnes and Noble

You can connect with Antonia here:



  1. Ooh such lovely cafes, you might get me to change my beverage Antonia.

    1. Ah but the problem is, you have to come to Vienna for the full experience!

  2. You are seriously going to give up whiskey? Oh my! :-)

    1. Thank you for hosting me today, Noelle and, no, Shehanne mustn't do anything so drastic. She can have a whisky with her coffee!

    2. tea dear...tea....

  3. I love Vienna, coffee and cakes. But whilst the cakes there are the best, I still think Italian coffee wins (not in terms of variety though, I'll give you that). I could live in Vienna actually.

  4. Hi Steve. Thanks for stopping by. Here's to the Viennese cakes and pastries, and the jury's still out on the coffee. :-)

  5. Oh that does look lovely. To have coffee and Sachertorte after seeing a performance at the Riding School in Vienna is on my Bucket List.

  6. Definitely an achievable and desirable aim, Elin!

  7. Beautiful places. OMG. I love the architecture! I'd love the wile away the day there sipping at fabulous coffee. Thanks for the journey Antonia!