Confectioners’ Shops and Coffeehouses in Vienna

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Confectioners’ shops—Konditoreien in German—were not technically cafés. See café. Coffeehouses had sprung up in Vienna in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Viennese appreciated the new drink and the parlors that offered it, where men could smoke and read newspapers. Only the owners of coffeehouses were allowed to sell coffee, and they sold little that could be characterized as dessert. In turn, confectioners were not allowed to sell coffee, a regulation that changed only at the turn of the twentieth century, when confectioners were allowed for the first time to sell savory products like sandwiches, salads, ham rolls, toasts, and Prague eggs (hard-boiled eggs filled with a mixture of yolk and mayonnaise and decorated with fish, ham, etc.). Originally, confectioners’ shops were mainly visited by ladies—but ladies were mostly accompanied by gentlemen, and therefore, around 1900, the confectioners’ guild thought that the shops should also offer something more substantial.