It’s been a couple weeks since Sana and I got back from Austria, and I am suffering serious dessert withdrawal. Yes, New York might have given us the cronut, but when it comes to rich cakes and fluffy pastries that have won over princes and emperors and all manner of “give me ALL your baked goods” fans since time immemorial? There’s no competition.
This week’s Travelgram looks back at some of our favorite Austrian desserts, and let me tell you—this is not something you should be looking at when you’re hungry. Can’t stand the dessert cravings anymore? Do what we did, and book your plane ticket with Austrian Airlines so you can start indulging in these classic Austrian goodies, stat.
You’ve probably seen Bundt cake at a holiday dinner (or, at the least, in a holiday movie). But a fun fact I bet you didn’t know: the shape is actually inspired by this traditional cake popular throughout Austria. We came across plenty of variations on our trip, but a couple to start with are ones flavored with mulled wine or marbled with a chocolate swirl.
Ever since we had Kaiserschmarren at Gasthaus Auwirt, an adorable inn in the western region of Tirol, I’ve been dreaming of it non-stop. Think of it as a pull-apart pancake with caramelized sugar and rum raisins. It’s traditionally served with plum or apple compote, but adding a scoop of ice cream—as at Auwirt—is divine.
Apple pie may be firmly entrenched in Americana, but apple strudel is a distinctly Austrian invention that you’ll find all over the country. The buttery, cinnamon-y apple-raisin filling, folded between layers of whisper-thin pastry dough, might just become your new favorite comfort food. If you're not a fan of apples (or just curious to try other flavors), you can also get strudel with curd cheese or milk-cream, as well as sour cherries, nuts, poppy seed, and other fillings.
Remember the Linzer cookies from your childhood, the ones with powdered sugar and jam-filled centers that you were told to eat sparingly but couldn’t help but shove in your mouth by the fistful? (No? Is that just me?) Now that we’re adults, it’s time to upgrade to the full Linzer torte, which features a distinctive criss-cross lattice of dough on top. It hails from the city of Linz in Upper Austria and is the world’s oldest cake. Red currants are the traditional filling, but you might find plum, raspberry, or apricots.
This is really a dessert for chocoholics: layers of dense chocolate cake filled with apricot jam and coated with chocolate icing. You can get it at countless cafes across Austria, but you really have to try the Original Sacher-Torte, which was invented in Vienna by Franz Sacher in 1832. Cafe Sacher is one of the capital’s most famous institutions, and the cake itself, decorated with a piece of fondant that looks like a wax seal, is a must-add to your Instagram.
Chocolate lovers can never have just one dessert, right? You can’t leave Salzburg without having tried some Mozart chocolates at Konditorei Fürst. Confectioner Fürst invented the almost golf-ball-sized chocolate pralines in 1890 and named them after Salzburg’s most famous resident. The nougat and marzipan filling melts in your mouth.
Like a lot of Austria’s signature dishes, this one’s a bit hard to pronounce. Luckily, you’ll be doing a lot more eating than talking once you’ve got this donut-meets-croissant revelation in front of you. Eat the best kiachl in Innsbruck, where the dessert originated, and be sure to top it off with jam or sauerkraut. (I know, I know, but trust me: no one thought bacon and donuts would be a thing, and aren’t you so glad we gave that a try?)
I saved this for last. As the name implies, this ridiculously puffy dessert is a specialty of Salzburg, and it’s shaped like the mountains that surround the city. I am pretty much guaranteed to love any soufflé, but when it’s kissed with vanilla sugar and singed lightly golden-brown at the tips and made fluffy enough that you will look at your pillow tonight and wonder why you couldn’t be sleeping on a Salzburger Nockerl instead—well, consider me sold.
Is your interest piqued? This is just the start.
Learn more about Austria and how Journy can help you plan your trip in Vienna, Salzburg, or Innsbruck at austria.gojourny.com!