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Vienna's Pastries

Many think that the chief contribution of the people who created the Viennese waltz and the operetta comes with the dessert course in the form of rich and luscious pastries, and in the beloved and universal Schlagobers (whipped cream).

Demel. The display cases are filled to the brim at the world-renowned Demel, a 200-year-old confectioner famous for sweetmeats that make every heart beat faster (and eventually slower). All you have to do is point at what you want and then take a seat. Don't forget to watch the pastry chef at work in the glassed-in courtyard. Beyond the shop proper are stairs that lead to dining salons where the decor is almost as sweet as the goods on sale. Chocolate lovers will want to try the Viennese Sachertorte (two layers of dense chocolate cake, with apricot jam sandwiched between, and chocolate icing on top) and compare it with its competition at Café Sacher. Can get crowded with tourists. Kohlmarkt 14, 1st District, Vienna, A-1010. 01/535–1717. www.demel.at.

Oberlaa. You'll find irresistible confections such as the Oberlaa Kurbad cake, truffle cake, and chocolate-mousse cake here. The lemon torte is filled with a light, fruity lemon cream and a thin layer of almond paste. The Maroni Obers Torte is a dark chocolate cake, filled with chestnut and milk chocolate mousse, garnished with maraschino cherries. Popular with the locals and a great value, there are many Oberlaa branches to choose from, including Landstrasser Hauptstrasse 1 and Babenbergerstrasse 7. Included among their tasty delights are gluten- and lactose-free treats. Candy can also be wrapped as a lovely gift to take home. Neuer Markt 16, Vienna, A-1010. 01/513–2936. www.oberlaa-wien.at.

Cafe Sperl. Coffee in Vienna is designed to be savored and enjoyed and one of the most splendid places in Vienna to do just that is at the Sperl. Featured in Hollywood films A Dangerous Method and Before Sunrise, the venerable café—commandeered way back when as the café for artists—is more than just a fantastically pretty face. The Old Vienna ambience is not merely preserved here, but vibrantly alive. Get a table by the window to ensure a captivating street view, and be sure to enjoy the piano music Sunday afternoon. It's in the 6th District not far from the MuseumsQuartier and the Naschmarkt. Gumpendorferstrasse 11, 6th District/Mariahilf, Vienna, A-1060. 01/586–4158. www.cafesperl.at. Closed July and August.

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