The oldest gelato in Vienna is among the best gelato I’ve ever had in my life. And believe me, I’ve had a lot of gelato. (Ahem, for starters, twice daily gelato for 6 weeks whilst in Perugia on a study exchange…)
So what makes this Austrian gelato so special? Well, most importantly, it’s bloody delicious! Creamy. Flavourful. And if you close your eyes, you almost feel as though you are in Italy. They have classic Italian flavours, like nocciola (hazlenut), pistacchio, and stracciatella. But they also have decidedly Viennese- or Austrian-inspired flavours, like Ápfelstrudel. To be perfectly honest, they have pretty much any flavour you’d like. Have a look on their website if you don’t believe me.
A Little History of the Eissalon am Schwedenplatz
This Eissalon was founded by the Molin Pradel family and is still owned by them today. Their first ice cream maker was founded in 1886, and they sold their first gelato from an ice cream rack, making them the oldest gelateria in Vienna. The actual ice cream parlor on Schwedenplatz did not open until 1932, but it’s been going strong ever since.
My History with Eissalon am Schwedenplatz
Maybe I am biased. But this Eissalon holds a special place in my heart, because I “bumped” into it not once, but twice! Schwedenplatz is bustling, and full of energy. In the evening, it feels as if the whole city is there, dining, wine-ing, and generally enjoying the company of their family and friends.
The first time was in 2006. I was doing the North American Uni student’s obligatory “Euro-Trip”. I was walking with a Viennese guy I had just met. To be honest, I was so young and naive at the time, I had no idea he was interested in me. I just thought he was being friendly! To give him credit, he didn’t try anything funny, and he took me to the see most amazing view of Vienna! I should have written it down – maybe someone can help me by leaving a comment below. It was up a long winding hill, and most people drove up there. I feel like it was maybe at a park somewhere?
Anyway, we were walking along in Schwedenplatz, and suddenly this magnificent thing with lights was beckoning me.
It was a gelateria! I was in the midst of my Italian Minor at the time, so perhaps I was attuned to all things Italian. I had not yet had the pleasure of twice daily gelato in Perugia. But my food nose said, “Stop right here, and get yourself a damn gelato!”. So I did. And it was so delicious. And then I merrily forgot about it. I didn’t even take a picture. Instagram and documenting every inch of your life didn’t exist back then.
Now it’s 2018. Twelve years later. I was in Vienna again, for a work-related trip. My boss had sent us all a message a few hours earlier about the Agenda for the Evening. We couldn’t decide where to eat. And after all the Big Opinions in the group had their say… we ended up, glamourously, in front of a kebab stand. Now before you say anything, it wasn’t like any dirty kebab you get in the UK (mind you, those have their time & place too!). In Vienna, the kebab stand was somehow more elegant, cleaner, with fresher food, and kebab meat that actually resembled the animal from whence it came. In the spirit of the Agenda for the Evening, we all loaded up on a kebab.
As I was finishing mine… these lights, they were beckoning me. I looked up, and saw, smack in front of me, just as it was 12 years before, the same ice cream parlor. I couldn’t believe it. It was as if I’d been transported back to my younger self. And even though that evening was a cool-ish autumn evening, I swear it was as if I felt the heat of that summer evening, when I’d been walking in Schwedenplatz with the Viennese boy who’s name I’ve long forgotten.
I just had to have some gelato. And it was…
as it had been all those years before.
If you are in Vienna, go there. You won’t regret it. You’ll almost feel like you’ve been transported back to another time.
Let me know in the comments below, or on Instagram @theartbeaute, what some of your favourite food memories are. Tschuss x
For the purists, please accept my apologies for using gelato & ice cream interchangably in this post. Eissalon literally translates to ‘ice cream parlour’ in German, so in trying to keep it less confusing, I referred to the actual product as both gelato & ice cream. To me, it tasted like gelato & not ice cream, and I believe (but not 100% sure, as the website was in German, and Google Translate only went so far) that they still make it in the traditional Italian way.
Also, the usual disclaimer – not a paid review.