Vienna, Austria - January 2005

While studying abroad during college, I not only fell in love with the unassuming, unpretentious city spelled "Wien" in German, but was absolutely captivated by some of the foods I ate while studying there. For the group of us who called Wien home for a month in which we studied opera, subsisted on beer and chicken schnitzel, and wandered diligently around the  cobblestone streets in search of a piece of history no one had ever unearthed; we were strikingly green and wholly excited for whatever we found around each ancient corner. 

Of course we knew we weren't going to find anything new exactly, we had an assignment to complete upon returning home and needed to write a lengthy essay on something decidedly Viennese that peaked our individual interests on our trip. I dabbled in doing a history of Viennese coffee and decided to cafe-hop around the little stalls in search of the perfect Viennese coffee yet stopped when I found that the perfect cup went smoothly with the piece de resistance that is the irresistible Sacher-Torte (pronounced "soccer", an incredibly rich yet delicate chocolate cake famously made in Vienna and served at the Hotel Sacher). I then thought of writing primarily about the Sacher-Torte and the many imposters lurking around the city claiming to be "original", however the crumb trail soon went dry on that idea as well. I soon found my underexposed corner after seeing Freud's house and wondering about the depth of mental illness and the multiple undiagnosed cases of his day and wrote a fictional confessional-style love story in which a man, scorned by the woman he loves and let down by this beautiful city, kills himself. 

By diving into a fictional version of Vienna and the secrets it can hold, I tapped into the romantic side of this often overlooked city and used some of my favorite foods to help me understand this lyrical city.