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Published: Verve Magazine, Travel, November 2007

Exult in the city’s rich delights

Suburban toast
Suburban Vienna is the place to try new Austrian wines and relax at a local Heurigen. These are the only places authorised to serve new wine, often accompanied by elaborate Viennese specialties or basic bread and cheese platters.

Deconstructed designs
Austrian fashion designer, Helmut Lang, is renowned for his minimalist, deconstructed designs. Originally from Vienna, Lang branched out to international fashion capitals like Paris and New York, with his own label.

Schrammelmusik for the soul
This Viennese folk music, popularised by the Schrammel brothers, Johann and Josef became immensely popular with the elite who were bowled over by the melodious, melancholic sound. A typical ensemble comprises two violins or fiddles, a double-necked contraguitar, a G clarinet and often, a button accordion called Schrammelharmonika. Many of Vienna’s famous composers, like Strauss, Brahms and Schönberg were Schrammelmusik enthusiasts.

Edelweiss blooming
The Edelweiss lives up to its translation of noble and white. Though found in other European nations, Austria’s national flower has shaped the world’s image of the county and the Alps. The Sound of Music’s most beloved song is dedicated to this little, big flower.

Coffee, anyone?
The Viennese are very serious about their coffee, traditionally served with a glass of chilled water. It’s sacrilege to just say you want ‘coffee’ when you’re spoilt for choice with varieties like Kleiner Schwarzer (small black coffee), Großer Brauner (large coffee with cream), Melange (coffee with milk), Kapuziner (small black coffee and a dash of cream) and Kaisermelange (coffee, milk, egg yolk and cognac). In the late 19th and early 20th century, leading writers frequently met and wrote at Viennese cafés, where much great music was also composed.