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Sweet Vienna: Capital of Dessert with Michael Krondl
Sweet Vienna: Capital of Dessert with Michael Krondl

Sweet Vienna: Capital of Dessert with Michael Krondl


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Vienna is described at the "capital of dessert" - and for good reason. No one is as obsessed with dessert as the Viennese. Sweet foods feature at breakfast, lunch may consist of little more than a Marillenknödel (an apricot dumpling), and supper of Kaiserschmarrn (a twice-cooked pancake). But no meal is as much a pean to the confectioner's art as the afternoon Jause (coffee break) when the capital's denizens retire to the dozens of Café Konditerei (pastry cafés) that dot the city to indulge in tortes, pastries, and other sweet snacks.

Organized as a series of virtual visits to the city's iconic cafes, the lecture examines the city's unparalleled culture of sweetness by delving into Vienna’s history and its place at the crossroads of Europe. Dynastic ties between the Spanish and Austrian Hapsburgs introduced chocolate early on. Battling the Turks brought cafe culture. Contacts with Italy popularized opera and ice cream. And, as the capital became a locus of intellectual ferment at the fin-de-siècle, when Freud, Mahler, and Klimt revolutionized their respective fields, pastry cooks did the same to confectionary, inventing hundreds of new cakes, cookies, and other sweet morsels. Pastry became so important that even as the Nazi tanks rolled into Austria, the country's supreme court was arguing over the merits of a decade's long lawsuit (the so-called Tortenkrieg–cake war) about who could call their cake the "original" Sacher Torte.

Led by an expert on the history of sugar and dessert, Michael Krondl, this lecture will explore the cultural impact of sweet foods on the Viennese. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of Vienna’s history, its charming cafes, and its acclaimed chefs.

  • Michael Krondl, Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert
  • Darra Goldstein, The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Dessert
  • Carl E. Schorske, Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture

Author Michael Krondl writes about food and history. He has penned several books, including The Taste of Conquest: The Rise and Fall of the Three Great Cities of Spices and Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert among others. He has edited and contributed to several Oxford University Press volumes on food and culture, including The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets. He teaches at the New School and the City University of New York and has lectured at multiple venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian, and San Francisco's Exploratorium.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

60 minutes

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
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(1)
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K
Kris Shapar (Fellbach, DE)
Thoroughly enjoyable

I can't wait to return to Vienna to try what I learned in this Webinar!

J
Judith Edmund (Mainz, DE)
Disappointing

Too long on historical information although some of it was interesting. The course description was "virtual visits in iconic cafes", but there were no virtual visits.

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
50%
(1)
0%
(0)
50%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
K
Kris Shapar (Fellbach, DE)
Thoroughly enjoyable

I can't wait to return to Vienna to try what I learned in this Webinar!

J
Judith Edmund (Mainz, DE)
Disappointing

Too long on historical information although some of it was interesting. The course description was "virtual visits in iconic cafes", but there were no virtual visits.