Sacher-Torte, Mozart balls, snow globes, and wafers are just a few fan-favorite Vienna souvenirs.
Vienna is an elegant and graceful capital, best known for refinement and a classical culture. Needless to say, this city doesn’t simply offer a box of chocolate, but a sophisticated “sacher-torte.” Pralines aren’t wrapped in boring aluminum foil, but exquisitely stored in dazzling boxes designed by local visual artists. Here’s a list of souvenirs that are locally made with specific addresses so you can support Viennese communities and culture.
As one of the most famous Viennese culinary specialties, Sacher-Torte is a unique type of chocolate cake (or torte) invented by Austrian confectioner Franz Sacher. In 1832, 16-year-old Sacher made this cake for Prince Wenzel von Metternich. It was an instant hit! The dense chocolate cake comes with a thin layer of apricot jam on top, coated in dark chocolate icing then served with unsweetened whipped cream. If you’re traveling within Europe by train, get a Sacher-Torte at the Sacher Hotel.
2. Austrian Schnapps
Austrians may be known to down more than a few pints of beer, but Schnapps is all the jazz; Made from fruits, Jägermeister, then distilled from herbs, these Schnapps aren’t the ones we sipped at college frat parties. You can get a good bottle of this Austrian brandy at any supermarket for less than 20€. Typically made with apricots and fruits, you can also find them at farmers markets, sold by local producers.
For a non-alcoholic drink that can be enjoyed by the whole family, Almdudler is a total must! Made of herbal extracts, this sweetened carbonated drink is the Pepsi of Austria with 80 million liters produced annually. It began during the 1950’s, Almdudler now has a variety mixed with beer called, “Almradler,” or you can also find it as a popular mixer with Austrian wines.
4. Mozartkugel (Mozart Balls)
Originally called “Mozart-bonbon” by Salzburg confectioner Paul Fürst, this pistachio marzipan and dark chocolate nougat was named after the legendary Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. At local supermarkets, you’ll find a wide variety of Mozartkugel brands. Keep in mind, the very original ones can only be purchased in Salzburg.
5. Snow globe
You probably didn’t know that snow globes originated in Austria during the 19th century. Erwin Perzy – a producer of surgical instruments – accidentally created the snow globe while attempting to develop an extra bright light source as a surgical lamp. The product was so popular that Perzy and his brother opened the first shop in Vienna where the family business still continues today. At the factory shop on Schumanngasse 87 in the 17th district, you can find different settings inside the globe. The “Original Viennese Snow Globe Manufacturer” also has stands in various Christmas markets every year.
6. Meinl’s jams & honey
If you’d like to visit the Harrods of Vienna, then head over to Julius Meinl’s – a posh Austrian gourmet food store. Here, you’ll want to stock up on fruit preserves using natural sun-ripened fruits made by the best European suppliers. Attached to the grand delicatessen is a Michelin-star restaurant serving meals from morning to night. Note: get the stuffed quail with greengages.
7. Straud’s preserved vegetables
Austrians love to pickle, hence their preserved vegetables are especially tasty as sides to grilled sausages. To bring some jars home, stop by Staud’s. The store in downtown Vienna also makes fabulous jams. But they’re mostly known for pickling by using distilled or fermented pure vinegar, Brandy vinegar, citric acid, sugar, and salt. Onions, baby corns, mushrooms, cherry chili peppers, garlic, red pepper are just a few delectable options.
8. Manner wafers
In addition to Mozart Balls, Manner wafers are just as iconic when it comes to Vienna’s sweet snacks. If ever in doubt, just peek at the company’s logo of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. These treats came into fame back in 1898 by chef Joseph Manner, who popularized the Neapolitan hazelnut-cream filled wafers that were originally from Naples, Italy. Stock up on these babies at the Manner boutique in Vienna’s Stephansplatz, wafers make the perfect gifts for friends and family.
9. Lobmeyr Crystal
Founded in 1823 by Joseph Lobmeyr, the brand is now a global standard for premium crystal. Lobmeyr created an extravagant chandelier for Schönbrunn Palace, and co-developed the first electric chandelier in the world with Thomas Edison. Moreover, the company also worked with the King of Belgium, the Court of Flanders, and various opera houses around the world. Despite that Lobmeyrs products can be purchased internationally, there are certain exclusive items sold only at Vienna’s flagship store.
10. Augarten Porcelain
Vienna Porcelain Manufactory Augarten is one of the oldest porcelain factories in Europe. In 1718, Augarten began to produce delicate and hand painted porcelain pieces. It’s highly recommended to bring home a tableware or a vase if you’re a careful packer. There are a few places to shop: the flagship store in the city center on Spiegelgasse 3, or at the Porcelain Museum store on Obere Augartenstraße 1. You know you’ve got a verified Augarten Porcelain product when the piece is stamped with blue-striped shield.
11. Styrian Pumpkin Seed Oil
Pumpkin seed oil is a culinary specialty often used in Austria. It contains a nutty taste with rich polyunsaturated fatty acids. It’s great for salad dressing and desserts, primarily giving vanilla ice cream a nutty oomph. In Austria, you’ll also find pumpkin soups and other dishes with a dash of seed oil, but DO NOT use it for cooking since it’ll destroy the essential fatty acids. You can get these at supermarkets as an unexpected but useful Vienna souvenir.
12. Viennese coffee – Alt Wien
Alt Wien Kaffee is a small coffee roast house near Naschmarkt, it roasts in small 12-kilo handpicked batches every day. The café serves 14 different types of coffee, including fair trade and organic selections. Since Vienna’s coffee culture is undeniably vibrant, why not bring home a few bags of Alt Wien Kaffee to wake up every morning with a kick of memories from Vienna. PS. Maresi is a local brand of coffee creamer (all natural “double milk”) that you can find in every local grocery stores.
13. Zotter Chocolate
As one of the best brands of chocolates, Zotter has stood the test of time. Known to be the only company in Europe to produce chocolates from bean-to-bar, Zotter also uses organic or faire trade quality. You’ll recognize the brand by its experimental tastes, including: trout, tequila with salt and lemon, cheese…and more. You can also find these in most Viennese grocery stores.
14. Freywille Jewelry
Freywille jewelries are easy to spot since they’re mostly based on art works of 19th and 20th century artists. Klimt on your wrists, anyone?! Founded in 1951, Freywille’s handmade pieces exude colorful motifs and are often in gold. There are two main stores in the city center, at Stephansplatz 5 (by the cathedral) and Albertinaplatz 1 / Lobkowitzplatz 1.
15. Altmann & Kühne’s mini Pralines
Located in the Innere Stadt at Graben 30, Altmann & Kühne is a confiserie and chocolaterie established in 1928. The best part about buying anything from the boutique is holding one of their unique packaging designed by Wiener Werkstätte – a production community of local visual artists. Although these boxes of pralines don’t come cheap, they’re stores inside gorgeous miniature hat, books, chest, and draws boxes.