Café Tomaselli and Salzburg
Salzburg loves its coffee and its tradition. The heritage of the Salzburg’s coffee houses goes back to the year 1700 and is still an important part of Salzburg’s social life today. The mythology of the Polish-Habsburg army return is the foundation of Viennese coffee’s history. They discovered a sack of black beans that had been left by the fleeing enemy. One of the main reasons why this continues is that traditional Viennese coffeehouses have a marvellous culture and tradition from previous decades that Salzburg locals are proud of.
Another reason is that in innovative ideas continue to be developed in these establishments, maybe because of its relaxing and welcoming atmosphere. One of the best examples would be the idea for the worldwide known Salzburger Festspiele.
The Café Tomaselli is situated in the heart of Salzburg’s Old Town on the Alter Markt and has been run for over 150 years by the Tomaselli family. The establishments previous owner was the French-born Johann Fontaine trade man who sold chocolate, tea and coffee. After his death, the building changed hands several times. Before Carl Tomaselli, a young tenor, bought the establishment, it was known as the Café Staiger, owned by Anton Staiger.
The father of Carl Tomaselli relocated from Milan to Salzburg. Carl had a strong relationship with the Mozart family due to the mutual love for music The Café has long been a social and private gathering place for Salzburg’s middle classes, dating back to the earliest days of the Tomaselli era and is the oldest Café that is still in operation in Austria.
How to come to Café Tomaselli
The fastest way to Tomaselli is on foot, as it is located in a pedestrian zone. Another option is to take a cab to Mozartplatz and cross Residenzplatz to get to this unique Café. This is by far the easiest way for foreign visitors to get to the Café.
Why visit Café Tomaselli
The traditional Café makes you feel that you are traveling back in time: As soon as you enter Café Tomaselli you can see and feel the 300-year-old tradition. Magnificent wood panelling with inlay decorates the walls, marble tables, silver trays, classic newspaper racks and traditional attire take you back to the “good old days”.
The vibrant sense of living history, unique atmosphere and tempting array of sweet dishes and exquisite coffee specialities create the charm of this place. Since its opening days coffee at the Tomaselli has always been served in the classic Viennese fashion on a small silver tray, together with a glass of water and sugar.
The Austrian tradition of coffee brewing is one of the main points why I like to visit this coffeehouse. For decades, they delighted their guests and me with their signature coffee exclusively roasted for Tomaselli by Julius Meinl, a Viennese roast expert who guarantees the inimitable Tomaselli flavour. The special blend of carefully selected Arabica beans from Central America, South America and India are freshly ground and brewed according to the proven Carlsbad method using a drip coffee pot. This blend is delicious with each sip you take.
Another reason Café Tomaselli is so popular is because of the classic coffees that they serve. Some of these classic coffees are the “Tomaselli Melange” a mocha with milk and whipped cream or the “Häferlkaffee” a big cup of coffee with whipped cream and milk foam or the traditional “Einspänner“, a cup of mocha served in a glass with whipped cream. These coffee specialties you can only get in a traditional Austrian Café. At Tomaselli you can enjoy these authentic prepared and perfect served coffees in a historical ambience. But if you want to indulge the full Salzburg coffee house experience you need to have a pastry with your coffee.
The pastries of Café Tomaselli are unique, traditional, and of course homemade, as the Café has its own bakery. Daily they offer over 20 different sweets and pastries as well as small traditional snacks such as Fiaker Goulash with a bread roll. Important to mention is that Café Tomaselli is the only place that still has “Kuchen Damen.”
These ladies are walking around with a big silver tray carrying all diverse kinds of pastries and sweets and ask each guest with a coffee or beverage if they would like to have some. It is an incredibly unique experience that will last in your memory forever. However, due to the current coronavirus pandemic this tradition vanished because of hygience and safety reasons. Moreover, waiters or “Ober” called in German are only male and will only serve you drinks and maybe snacks, whereas pastries and sweets are only served by female “Kuchen Damen.”
The entire staff are dressed in classic Viennese fashion that consists of a tuxedo, a bow tie, white shirt, and polished shoes. During each of my visits I always felt welcomed and treated like a regular guest. Due to Tomaselli’s high popularity, it can get crowded during the high season in July and August. At this time of the year not only regular tourists but also Salzburg Festival visitors like to enjoy their coffee and pastry at Tomaselli.
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