Donuts are everywhere in Vienna. And while they don't suck nearly as bad as Parisian Donuts, they definitely failed to meet the minimum sugar level my all-American, sweet-seeking tongue requires of a Donut.
There are basically two types of Donuts in Vienna: there's the traditionally-German/Austrian Krapfen, which 50% of the time taste like a 2-day old dinner roll, and there's the second-rate ringed American knock0ffs. Now it's this second category that really poses an ancestral paradox given that our red, white and blue holey Donuts are most certainly direct descendants of the bland, usually-jam-filled Donuts found all over Eastern Europe (including Austria). It seems the Euros have taken our sweeter, more processed version of their traditional fried dough, and created a completely unenjoyable knockoff of a knockoff. It's really sort of incestuous.
But like I said, Austrian Donuts weren't nearly as foul as those I had in Paris (far and away THE WORST DONUTS I'VE EVER HAD!). The key is to hit Vienna's famed Christmas markets, most of which have at least one vendor peddling authentic Krapfen stuffed with either apricot or raspberry jam. When done right, they're freshly fried in front of you and sprinkled with powdered sugar resulting in a hot, sticky mess of goodness. When they've sat out too long, you'll most likely take one bite and drop the rest in an oddly-shaped and way-too-small-for-a-major-urban-center trash can. But I'll let you see for yourself. Without further ado, here's a rundown of all the Donuts Blognut encountered while in Vienna.
These were small Donuts....
fried right in front of my face by a surly Donut Man. Once cooked, he lifted six at once from the oil with a stick and dropped them into a small paper bag. He then grabbed an enormous bottle of chocolate sauce and let loose a hearty squirt atop the still steaming Donuts. Now while these tiny ringlets are meant to be eaten with a small wooden fork, this proved nearly impossible, as the liquidy chocolate quickly turned them into a soggy mound of goo. They tasted fine I guess, but I was a bit skeived out by the mushy consistency - I typically have a problem with gooey foods like bread pudding, or even regular pudding for that matter.
Oh, and here was the menu at the small Donut stand. Maybe lecker means really soggy.
I found this Krapfen stand at the Christmas market outside of city hall (Rathaus). The Donuts were freshly-fried and filled with either vanilla, chocolate or apricot upon request using a metal probe. The whole thing reminded me of all those anal probe scenes in alien movies.
Blond, Austrian Donut Lady getting ready to squirt my Krapfen full of apricot. This sounds perverse for some reason.
My Krapfen getting filled. This was by far the best Donut I had in Austria - soft, warm and stuffed with gooey apricot jam. The powdered sugar sprinkled on top melted into a clear glaze and masked the fact that the dough was probably completely devoid of sugar and tasted like bread.
Apricot Krapfen closeup.
Here's a Krapfen shaped like a pretzel.
Another nearby stand was selling something called Bauernkropfn. They were akin to the Czech kolache in that they had their jam filling on top rather than inside.
Mine tasted like ass - if ass tastes like a really bad, stale dinner roll.
These were small Krapfen on sticks. The looked and tasted like your average zeppole, decent but uninspiring.
Later that day I stopped in McDonalds because I knew that McD's in Europe serve Donuts. Which this one did. They were chocolate strudel Donuts but I didn't eat one because they looked artificial and disgusting. And while this has never stopped me in the past, at this point in the trip my stomach was in knots from all the sausage and Weiner schnitzel.
Chocolate-filled Krapfen which I didn't eat because all Krapfen started to taste the same. And also for the reason put forth in the previous caption.
Menu at stand with the chocolate-filled Krapfen which I didn't eat.
Alright, like I said earlier, I stopped by McDonald's to see what sort of Donut selection they had, but I didn't eat any. Well it gets better. I scored this chocolate streusel at a Starbucks on the main drag of downtown Vienna. Yes, even the coffee capital of the world has 11 Starbucks! And see if you can guess what this bumpy little number tasted like? You got it, those mini chocolate frosted Donuts made by Hostess. An exact flavor replica. The majority of this one ended up in the trash can.
Starbucks was also selling this Donut. I won't say anything about it because the name really says it all.
In keeping with my policy that international Donuts are unratable due to differential cultural expectations, I will not be assigning Donut Scores to any Viennese Donuts.