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Historic Coffeehouses: Vienna Budapest Prague Lemieux Intl Ltd Carol Dittrich

31st August 2011 History Books 21 Comments

This complete guide to all historic coffeehouses in Vienna, Budapest, and Prague, includes descriptions, addresses, hours of operation, menus, photographs and maps.

Carol Dittrich holds a graduate degree in Eastern European History and the Balkans. She serves as an election supervisor, representing the U.S. State Department. Her authentic descriptions, history, and photographs are based on her personal visits to each coffeehouse.

Historic Coffeehouses: Vienna, Budapest, Prague

  • 21 responses to "Historic Coffeehouses: Vienna Budapest Prague Lemieux Intl Ltd Carol Dittrich"

  • that sucked!
    12:55 on August 30th, 2011
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    Rick Rodger’s new book is the genuine article. It presents a wide variety of exquisitely authentic recipes from the justly famous coffee houses and pastry bakeries of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. All basic techniques are genuinely Mitteleuropean and not French or American adaptations of these techniques. As such, the book is a valuable contribution to popular culinary history, as important to the foodie interented in such things as the dozens of books on regional Italian and French cuisine.

    The chapters cover:

    Basic batters, doughs, and glazes 14 recipes such as puff pastry
    Simple Cakes 19 recipes such as gugelhupf and roulades
    Fancy Cakes 14 recipes such as Sachertorte and Linzertorte
    Strudels 7 recipes such as apple strudel
    Sweet Yeast Breads 11 recipes such as brioche
    Sliced desserts 14 recipes such as berry meringue squares
    Cookies and doughnuts 10 recipes such as vanilla cresents
    Pancakes and sweet omlets 8 recipes such as crepes
    Sweet dumplings and noodles 4 recipes such as prune pockets
    Puddings 7 recipes such as chocolate pudding
    Hot and Cold beverages 6 recipes such as coffees, wine, and tea
    Glossary of ingredients, equipment, and techniques

    Coffeehouse guide to Vienna, Prague, and Budapest
    Mail Order Sources

    Coming from paternal grandparents who were born 40 miles east of Vienna, this book made my eyes misty in rememberance of my grandmother’s baking. The book does not rely on store-bought puff pastry and does not hold back on liquer flavorings. The book does give excellent recipe for strudel dough, but it does not go so far as to have you make your own filo dough. I guess that will be in his book on Greek or Turkish baking. A sidebar on properly handling filo sheets is invaluable.

    The glossary of techniques is excellent. My only wish was that the author would have made some mention of chocolate sold by specific weight of cocoa butter, as Vahlrona and, I believe, high end American producers such as Sharfenberger and Jacques Torres do. This is so much easier than troubling over imprecise terms like semi-sweet and bittersweet. One concession to American home bakers is the exclusive use of measurements by volume rather than by weight. I really feel that if you are about to take the trouble to make strudel and make your own strudel dough, the effort needed to accurately weigh ingredients is of little consequence and may improve the results.

    The photographs of old Austrian coffee house interiors are gorgeous. I would have really appreciated captions. One has simply no idea whether the room is in Vienna, Prague, Budapest, or Brooklyn. I’m sorry the editors at Clarkson Potter wouldn’t have thought of this.

    This book deserves a place in the serious cookbook library for both it fabulous recipes and it’s historical perspective.

  • nedendir
    14:21 on August 30th, 2011
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    As we prepare to visit Vienna for the second time, this book is helping us to prepare our itinerary adding this time many visits to those sometimes off the beaten track coffee houses. What a gem of a book, packed with so much valuable current information such as addresses, hours, etc., as well as historic data. Its definitely being packed in our carryon luggage along with a couple tried and true tour books. Here’s to the author … thanks to the last drop! How about some other city editions?

  • Analyzethis
    1:49 on August 31st, 2011
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    Finally I can bake like Grandma! My maternal grandmother was born just out of Prague after the turn of the century and while my mother and aunt are good cooks in their own right they never learned how to make the pastries that Grandma made – most of them filled with prunes or poppy seeds. In this excellent and well written book the author has filled the gap for us who want to get back to those Eastern European roots. As I mention, the book is well written and I like the asides that explain the culture that goes along with the cooking. I wish there were more pictures – there never seems to be enough pictures in cook books – but it’s a top rate effort.

  • Seano
    6:45 on August 31st, 2011
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    I find the book of Rick Rodgers exquisite, delightful, and practical. All recipes are easy to follow, with good breakdown of steps and excellent descriptions of techniques. Historical excerpts are highly educational and very entertaining. The design of the book deserves a special comment: each page is beautiful. Photographs are very artistic, but real. And yes, there is a list of which photograph depicts what, be it an interior of a cafe or a pastry. I just wish there were more books published like this one, especially for this price.

  • pop frame
    9:36 on August 31st, 2011
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    Lovely book, and great recipes. My only gripe is the lack of good pictures. I think when you are introducing a new cuisine such as Viennese, Hungarian, and some Czech recipes, it is important to have lots of pictures so the reader will have some idea of what the end product is going to be like. Some of Mr.Rodger’s pictures are people sitting in a cafe, dogs with their owners, and others that are unrelated to food. (I did appreciate the old cafe interior shots -those made sense). He also chose not to add caption to any of his pictures which forced you keep flipping back to a photo credits page at the beginning of the book. Also some of the food pictures were not taken professionally.

    The fonts used in the book are fairly small even though I have no problem seeing, it wasn’t a comfortable read especially first few pages. He changes the font once he gets to the recipes to a slightly larger print. The size of the book (8×11 and 1/2″ thick) was also smallish considering the price I paid….

    Recipes? Sachertorte, Dobas Torte, a variety of coffee cakes including one with apricots, interestingly there was no Apple Kuchens (Don’t Austrians eat a lot of apple cakes?); a very nice section on Strudels, he explains the technique and gives you a historical background (unfortunately only 2 pics here); Linzertorte is only one recipe, he gives the dark version with cocoa instead of traditional version, pudding section, and even a small section on coffees. Pictured is Eiskaffee, Maria Theresa, and Turkischer. The author talks about Maria Theresa in length (wonderful recipe with orange liquoer) but leaves recipes for EisKaffee (meaning coffee with ice cream and whipped cream -yummm) and Turkischer (Turkish coffee) out. Maybe next time?? Overall a good book you should check out.

  • TrafficWarden
    10:00 on August 31st, 2011
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    I bought this book three weeks ago and was duly impressed. Even after all the laudatory reviews of the majority of other readers, I still did not expect for the efforts to be that reasonable and for the results to be that delicious. I have tried three strudels, walnut crepes with chocolate sause (oh, boy! If I had not known an expression “culinary orgasm,” I would have invented it now), plum squares, apple and poppy seeds pieces, blueberry-meringue pieces, and chocolate mousse cake with sour cherries. Already two friends asked for a copy as a birthday present and one neighbor ordered her own. My husband, who is from Europe, enjoyed everything, and neither him nor I mind extra working out or walking to sweat it off. BTW, none of the recipes produced anything heavy or too rich, just in California we are excessively health and slenderness conscious :) . And, of course, if you are used to food and baked goodies like those from this book, you cannot go back to our artificial mass market cakes.
    With regard to the font or how this book is edited and published – I could not have wished for a better one. It is beautiful, practical, is priced very reasonably, and what are those complaints about the font size? You cannot please someone who is 70+ and a cook with a normal or corrected vision at the same time.

  • oldschool
    18:13 on August 31st, 2011
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    I’ve recently read a number of books that attempted to capture the special appeal of the French café, and merge culture study, attractive photography, and enticing recipes into one volume. None of those attempts succeeded nearly as well as Rick Rodgers has done with his look at the classic Kaffeehäuser of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

    An experienced, and expert, cooking teacher and cookbook author, Rick Rodgers also has ancestral connections to bakeries in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. He gives us a fascinating look at the coffee houses and their place in Central European culture, and explains how the recipes he’s selected fir into the cultural and historical context (Rodgers explains that this cultural context is something the Austrians, in particular, especially value). The recipes themselves are enticing and interesting, with a nice combination of the familiar and the more exotic. Beautiful photography — both of food and of cafés — and insightful mini-essays on a variety of topics enhance the very attractive *mélange,* which is rounded out by the author’s personal guide to Central European coffeehouses, a glossary of Viennese, Czech, and Hungarian coffee terms, and a useful list of resources and links. There’s even a full bibliography of historical and culinary sources.

    I’ve always been eager to visit Vienna and the other cities of the Empire. Until I get there, this book will keep my culinary, as well as my historical, interests fired up.

  • Karla Shelton
    23:35 on August 31st, 2011
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    I have made several recipes from this book, and everybody who samples my experiments agree. The recipes, and the results, are DYNAMITE!!! After exclaiming about the fact that I could pull this off without any real training, other than intuition, patience, and a little pioneer spirit, they demand more. My results get such acclaim that I have to tell them it’s just a good recipe to get them to settle down!

    While some of the recipes are complicated and require some patience and focus, the return on invested time, effort, and expense will pay off. This is not [a]Southern Living or Good Housekeeping recipe book with infinite mutations and bastardizations of boxed cake mix dressed up in Drag with shiny ribbons … This is the real meal deal.

    I agree that more pictures would be great, but that’s expensive. The pages are thick and nicely glossed, so when the dough spatters a bit and hits the book it cleans up nicely. : ) The cost of the book is insubstantial to me compared to the results.

    I have made the cover recipe, the ‘X’-schnitten (buy the book) several times and neighbors and coworkers tried convincing me to open a bakery.

    My hat is off to Rick Rodgers for making some VERY difficult pastries and tortes attainable and manageable for the mediocre middle-class experimentalist.

  • Satish KC
    4:15 on September 1st, 2011
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    This is not a set or recipes from the coffee houses of Vienna, Prague or Budapest. These have been altered to fit American tastes in quite a number of instances. There are descriptions in the recipes where the author states this plainly, but he usually DOES NOT give the original recipe or any other indication of what the changes are.

    Some of the changes may be trivial, or they may be large changes. Who knows without the original recipe ? However, the use of high fructose corn syrup in some of the basic preparations is an indication of the problem.

    Having tried some of the recipes (I’ve only had the book for a couple of week so far), the results are quite OK, but I was trying recipes where I knew that they sounded like recipes from some of my other European cookbooks, and not the obviously altered recipes.

    The lack of the original recipes makes this merely a nice introduction to these great desserts, but not a book to give you a ‘true’ taste. If you are in the US and an introduction is all you want, then this would be an excellent book, no question of it. Otherwise, there are better books out there.

    (And on a purely personal note, a ‘stick of butter’ is meaningless outside of the US. Why can’t the author use standard measurements ? That’s what standard measurements are for. Yes, I can use a certain famous search engine to find out how much a stick of butter is in grams and write that alongside the recipes, but I shouldn’t have to do so…)

  • robotech
    17:55 on September 1st, 2011
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    I lived in Vienna for three years as a teenager and recently returned for my honeymoon. These recipes really do seem to capture authentic Eastern European pastry making, adapted for American cooks. Many of the recipes, while clearly written, are time consuming, so alas, all I have made so far is the gugelhopf, which came out great. I recommend this book to slightly-more-ambitious-than-average home bakers with more time on their hands than I have!

  • Ripel
    19:48 on September 1st, 2011
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    Kaffeehaus is a small sized book with a somewhat cramped font. At close to [money] bucks, this little book is overpriced.

    I was hoping to learn how to make Viennese strudels which is a tough dessert to make from scratch. I believe the author could have been much more helpful in explaining this complicated dish by using detailed photographs. There are many pictures in the book but almost half is non food-related which I found disappointing.

    It’s got many cake recipies if you favor made from scratch cakes. This book also contained stories about the recipies which was interesting to read. ** 1/2 stars

  • Juana Cruz
    23:08 on September 1st, 2011
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    After eating up page after page of Kaffeehaus, I question the validity of the
    quibbling reviews. People are knocking stars off this extraordinary book for
    the publisher’s decisions, which were obviously made to keep the price down.
    Had the publisher satisfied the complaints, another set of grousers would
    have said the book is too long and expensive. Three stars instead of five
    because the photo captions are on another page and the type is too small (a
    matter of opinion)? That’s quite a knockdown, and undeserved. Not enough
    photos? There are more than 50 photos in the book. I count over 25 photos
    of the food, more than you would find in similar volumes, and most illustrate
    the more unusual desserts like Apple-Poppy Seed Squares and Gerbeaud Slices.
    What about some deserved extra credit for the fabulous world that Rodgers
    (figuratively and literally) presents on a silver platter?

    I have spent a lot of time in central Europe, and I can report that Rodgers’
    recipes are the best in English…ever. The Brown Linzertorte he offers (with
    a dash of cocoa for color, not flavor) IS the most popular one. Who really
    needs a recipe for Eiskaffee (iced coffee with a scoop of vanila ice cream
    and Schlag) or for Turkish coffee (requiring a special pot)? I have made at
    least 20 of the desserts, and all were fantastic. Try the Linzertorte,
    Apricot Coffee Cake (very simple, but still good), Orangentorte (made with
    bread crumbs, almonds, and an unusual orange-curd icing), Leschanztorte (an
    outstanding chocolate mousse cake), Ischl Tartlets, Vanilla Crescent Cookies,
    and especially the Milchrahmstrudel (a warm farmer’s cheese strudel).

    I have to think that the failures the baker in Albuquerque has experienced
    are due to high altitude, or a lack of appreciation for the subtle palate of
    central European desserts. Rodgers has opened up an entire new world of
    tastes that you will not find in other books, even the very few books out
    there on the same subject. His attention to the historical and cultural
    elements around the coffeehouses and their desserts is nothing short of
    amazing, and the kind of thing that elevates one cookbook above the others.

  • John Baxter
    2:03 on September 2nd, 2011
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    Really good book, tons of recipes, easy to follow, thorough instructions. Could use more photos for the recipes, but overall I really like this book.

  • eliteuser
    8:04 on September 2nd, 2011
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    After spending summer in Budapest, I have been dreaming of its winding streets, rustic charm and great cafes. Stepping inside of them is to feel like a kid again, with your mouth watering, your eyes widening and you making painstaking decision — which of the luscious desserts to pick! Well, thanks to Rick Rodgers I can bring a whiff of Budapest cafe into my house. So far I made a few things and they have turned out to be wonderful. Berry Roulade is a beautiful to behold and can be made with minimum effort. Indeed, both sponge cake and berry cream (I used frozen raspberries) were so delicious, I was tempted to eat them before rolling the cake! I have to note that I have some experience with baking, therefore I have not had troubles with instructions. I suspect that novice bakers might find some recipes daunting, however if you would like to learn, this book provides excellent instructions as well as methods for storing finished products and ways to organize your time. Even history bits were fascinating, and I read them as I was beating the eggs for the batter. I look forward to curling with a cup of tea and a piece of my Roulade this evening. For all of those who would like to recreate famous pastries and cakes, this book is a find. I could applaud Mr. Rodgers for compiling such a delectable collection of authentic and easy to replicate at home recipes.

  • cjinsd
    14:38 on September 2nd, 2011
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    The author delivers a guide that the true European cafe wanderer will find eminently useful.
    Departing from the effete texts destined to decorate coffee tables and accomplish little else, the text doesn’t waste energy and resources in dwelling on its subjects’ aesthetics for the reader’s vicarious experience; instead, it presents an abundant array of venues, each worthy of exploring, savoring, and, ultimately, remembering for its own charms.

  • PaulTheZombie
    15:47 on September 2nd, 2011
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    Rick Rodger’s latest book, Kaffeehaus, is a charmingly beautiful cookbook, that has interesting stories about the Cafe’s of Vienna, etc., but also has some great recipes from the four I have made and sampled. A great brunch dish is the Milchrahmstrudel (warm cheese strudel with vanilla sauce). Varying textures and flavors, a very different dessert/brunch item. One of my favorties was the Berry Meringue Slices. The blueberries stay so plump and firm, and the meringue melts in your mouth. Easy and delicious. The Chocolate Cake (Renrucken) was definately a dessert that can serve a large crowd, and worth the search for Red Currant Jelly. The next recipe I am going to try is the Ischl Tartlets. I’ll let you know how those turn out!
    And as for the font, frankly I can’t read any cookbook lately without my reading glasses….I have a pair in everypart of my house, and two in the kitchen. Unfortunately I am not 20/20 anymore…..
    Sue in New Jersey

  • Dave S.
    22:22 on September 2nd, 2011
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    I have come to the conclusion that any cookbook in which the recipes origin are from any food service or in this case a Kaffeehaus I will not buy it. No food service business would ever freely give old, traditional or family recipes away. As a pastry chef we change the recipe so that the customers think that they are getting the original one. I thought that maybe since the book was based on the kauffeehauses in Vienna, so far away, that there could be a chance of some good recipes. Some did work but far to many did not, usually the ones with expensive ingredients. The regular home baker may not know how to spot a bad recipe and some you can not. so “Beware” before you buy it.

  • Markoc
    0:50 on September 3rd, 2011
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    My sister and I have been baking from this book over the last two years for all our important celebrations, and every recipe we have tried has worked perfectly. I have never owned a cookbook that was so consistently excellent. Thank you Rick Rodgers. Please write more cookbooks! We just served the poppy, apple, walnut bars last night–not too sweet and made up perfectly.

  • The Dealer
    7:56 on September 3rd, 2011
    Reply to comment

    I was hoping to find in this book a compilation of the best recipes for pastries from the former Austrian empire. Instead I believe, in contrast to most who have reviewed this book, that the recipes definitely take back seat to the pictures. Having been making many of these dishes for many years I find that there is not enough discussion of the simple “secrets” that really make these desserts so special. For example, the author states than when he serves the poppyseed cake people think that there is a special spice in it and that it tastes magical. I can only say that those people probably don’t eat poppy seeds very much because his recipe for this cake, which incidentally can be quite good with the proper love, is anything but greater than the sum of its parts. And don’t think that only this recipe is a disappointment: many of the recipes have poorly written instructions that omit important information. I understand how those homesick for the old world can get roped into buying and liking this book, but for the serious cook it should really be left on the coffee table.

  • Saner Rijet
    14:51 on September 3rd, 2011
    Reply to comment

    Rick Rodgers’ sumptuous cookery book travels through the history, romance and elegance of the coffee houses of Vienna, Budapest and Prague. His writing is both fluid and descriptive; the pictures a delight. The basic methods and detailed execution of the pastry, cake and bread recipes are easy to follow, as written. That being said, the “descriptive” part of the book is very hard to read. This is because the editor has chosen a very stylized font in what I would estimate is approximately 8 point. The recipes, while in the more conventional Times New Roman, are also in a point size not conducive to reading across a kitchen counter. I bought this book as a gift for my elderly mother, who lived in Vienna during her youth, but did not give it to her as I knew she would never be able to read such small print. Even with 20/40 vision and “relatively” young eyes, the book is difficult for me to read.

    The other problem is the layout of the recipes on the pages. For example, the recipe for Sachertorte begins on the bottom of page 59 and resumes on the top of page 62. The recipe for Viennese Crescent Rolls begins on page 96 and resumes on page 98. Not a problem for someone reading this book as entertainment in an easy chair in the den, but definitely a problem for the cook who has the book in a book holder on a crowded kitchen counter.

  • Dagmar Naguin
    1:11 on September 4th, 2011
    Reply to comment

    My wife & I are not pastry chefs; however, we enjoy good pastry. We were on a trip to Budapest and had some Ishler at the art museum and tried to get the recipe, but could not. Today, we received our book and tried the Ishler and all I can say is that it was so easy! So much better than the sugar-filled cookies we Americans are fed from birth. When I first found this book on this website, I wanted to read an excerpt and when I clicked on that button – Rigo Jancsi popped up. Now this is significant because we have tried this one from other recipies, but one thing or another did not work out. We are anxious to try this out next. My wife is Hungarian and she spotted all the familiar pastries she has known all of her life. We had books from Hungary but could not really translate the specifics. This book takes the guess work out of recreating the deserts because it is in english – this is a little easier than translating terms and temperatures. Step-by-step it is well written. The photos are great for two reasons. First, they are realistic. When you look at the Ishler, someone has taken a bite out of it. When you look at others, you can see little imperfections like a corner missing from the cake slice. You can see the crumbs on the plate. This may seem small, but this impressed my wife and offered encouragement that we could do these deserts. Some books show “picture-perfect” deserts that look as though they are waxed. The second reason we like the photos is that they give a feel for the cafe environment. I can; however, understand others complaints about not enough food pictures. We are lucky, I guess, because she knows what the pastry is supposed to look like. The directions seem to be easy enough to follow. The historical references are very interesting. Also, the information about what chocolate to buy was very helpful. We will read other parts of this book before we shop for ingredients. We saved over [a bit] buying this book used, (over our local Borders store), the shipping was quick, and the book was in good condition. Our hats are off to Rick Rodgers and Kelly Bugden. Great job! Where else would you find a book like this?

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