In Vienna, shop clerks are specialists in behind-the-counter diplomacy. The welcome is warm. The attention polite, unaggressive, and tactful. Shoppers browse until help is needed; the hard sell never comes. If you say you want time to think about a purchase, the response is a graceful, “But of course you do!”
If you can’t make it to the Wachau Valley outside Vienna to sample a marille—a special local apricot ripened by the midsummer sun—the next best thing is to buy the preserves, bursting with natural sweetness and flavor. This jar is sold by the venerable Julius Meinl, whose flagship store at Graben 19 is a temple of fine food.
Read more about the Wachau Valley's marille apricots here.
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Loose-Weave Straw Hat
Mühlbauer hat store may be more than a hundred years old, but it’s anything but stodgy. In a generational shift, the family-owned enterprise was turned over to Klaus Mühlbauer who has added imaginative offerings like this unconstructed, loose-weave hat to the classic collection. Seilergasse 10.
Lobmeyr Crystal Glass
Nothing shines quite like Lobmeyr crystal. Ever since the firm began as purveyors to the imperial court, its handblown and cut glassware has been admired and coveted. Visitors can savor the visual feast of the sparkling displays at their main store, Kärntner Strasse 26.
Handmade Soft Toy
Habsburg Tin Soldier
This toy soldier represents an artilleryman during Habsburg rule; the outfit won first place for “the most beautiful uniform on Earth” at the Paris World’s Fair of 1900. Florian Böhm makes the pewter figures at his shop, Zinnfiguren Böhm, Schulerstrasse 7.
After Vienna scrapped the large cube clocks that were beloved landmarks throughout the city, the design firm Lichterloh decided to make a commemorative wristwatch. The timepiece is one of many striking items at the Lichterloh store at Gumpendorfer Strasse 15-17.
Riess Bread Box
Keep your apfelstrudel (apple strudel), salzstangerl (salty breadsticks), and other breads and pastries fresh in this snow white, generously proportioned breadbox from Riess, a manufacturer of enamelware in Upper Austria. Available in specialty shops, including the well-stocked Cuisinarum, Singerstrasse 14.
Long-Handled Back Brush
Simon & Jakober, a cozy shop selling Austrian products, features brushes from Melanie’s Bürstenwelt—one of the last enterprises in the country making items like this long-handled brush for back scrubbing. Taborstrasse 35.