this Austrian café staffed by seniors hits the candy spot

A really particular café in Vienna is bridging the hole between generations, one cake at a time.

Vienna’s café tradition is so legendary, UNESCO added town’s espresso homes to its Intangible Cultural Heritage listing in 2011. Popping right into a café for a slice of strudel and an einspänner (Viennese espresso with whipped cream) isn’t simply one thing locals and guests alike have performed for hundreds of years – it’s the quintessential method to expertise Austria’s capital.

Whereas many vacationers make a beeline for Vienna’s well-known, conventional espresso homes, a rising variety of savvy caffiene-seekers are heading to Vollpension: a new-ish child on the block that’s including one other layer to the already wealthy culinary (and social) material of town. And Intrepid travellers will get an opportunity to go to on our Highlights of Central Europe journey in 2023.

Baking for world peace

Three older staff members working at a cake shop. They are all smiling.
Frau Marianne and her Vollpension associates and colleagues © Mark Glassner

Vollpension (German for “full pension”) has taken off in an enormous means because it launched in 2012, and why wouldn’t it? Aiming to assist seniors prone to old-age poverty and social isolation, the café offers employment, group and connection for a lot of of Vienna’s older residents. That’s proper – this healthful café with a function is run by a staff of sprightly seniors with supreme cake-baking abilities. Getting into Vollpension is like receiving a heat hug (and slice of cake) out of your beloved granny or grandpa.

The staff behind Vollpension imagine {that a} cake baked with love by a granny has large energy. A lot in order that it may doubtlessly save the world. If nothing else, sitting down for some cake and low is an on the spot treatment for a day that’s gone pear-shaped. Catering for these in want of consolation and connection is what Vollpension does so nicely.

Co-Founder David Haller is delighted by the far-reaching impacts of Vollpension.

“It means the world to me. We by no means thought that our little concept would have such an impression. From the nice life tales, superior occasions and breathtaking encounters to the tons of of 1000’s of desserts made with love, Vollpension is a challenge that comes from the center and goes proper again to the center – not solely mine, however to these of everybody concerned,” he says.

All of the world’s a stage

Frau Marianne in her aspect © Mark Glassner

What started as a pop-up idea is now a little bit of a juggernaut, with a number of retailers using a legion of cake-baking seniors who fortunately don their aprons within the identify of baking high notch desserts that maintain clients coming again time and time once more.

However the clients aren’t the one ones benefiting. Vollpension additionally allows older Austrians to spice up their revenue and helps seniors prone to social isolation to type new connections with folks of all ages.

At 77 years outdated, Frau Marianne is presently dwelling her finest life serving candy treats and sizzling drinks to Vollpension’s clients. Having lived in Vienna all her life, she’s the right ambassador for town that receives thousands and thousands of holiday makers every year. She spent most of her working life as a secretary for a regulation agency (“Unofficially I used to be the top of the corporate, as a result of I took care of virtually every little thing”) and now enjoys utilizing all of the social abilities she’s acquired all through her lifetime to welcome clients to the cafe.

“I’m now in my seventh yr at Vollpension and I nonetheless find it irresistible day-after-day. I came upon about it via an commercial. Since I’m very outgoing I instantly known as, bought an interview, and right here I’m, seven years later,” says Frau Marianne, who can also be an newbie actress in her free time.

“Vollpension is my stage, the place I can carry out and do what I do finest: be communicative, giggle and be taught new life tales,” she explains.

Life is sort of a field of goodies

Frau Marianne and David at Vollpension © Lichtschalter.television

As a spot the place folks from all walks of life come collectively to share friendship, information and laughs over a slice of sachertorte, glass of natural lemonade or mug of tea, many new relationships have shaped at Vollpension. Frau Marianne recollects a memorable second with a buyer:

“I had a really particular encounter as soon as, which nonetheless makes me smile. A really good-looking man favored my cake serving abilities and requested me to marry him. I used to be very flattered and mentioned sure, however he then mentioned that he needed to ask his spouse if it was okay together with her. We by no means ended up getting married in fact, however everybody within the coffeehouse was laughing and cheering us on.”

Seasoned travellers know nothing beats an area suggestion in the case of discovering the very best bites in a brand new metropolis. So what must you order if you go to Vollpension? For co-founder David, it’s all concerning the cake.

“Each baking oldie has their very own recipes and specialties. In a means, Vollpension is sort of a field of goodies: you by no means know what you’ll get.”

Header picture – Vollpension desserts © Mark Glassner


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