The significance of this long conflict goes beyond the military. There were centuries of cultural and culinary interchange, too. The story goes that the first café in Vienna was founded in 1683 after coffee beans were found in the fleeing Ottomans’ supplies. An Armenian named Kolschitsky knew what they were and started a coffee house.
More important for our story, the flaky pastry used in many middle-eastern cakes came to Vienna and resulted in, amongst other things, the crescent-shaped Kipferl, or Croissant (echoing the Ottoman flag, and which the Austrian princess, Marie Antoinette, is said to have taken to France), and the apple strudel.
Apples and the influence of the east come together perfectly in the apple strudel, which is still enormously popular in Vienna. We visited the Café Tirolerhof, a traditional café in the centre of Vienna, to see how they do it. Their apple strudel is said to be the best in town – and you’ll see that it’s not that hard to make it yourself.