Almonds, Nougat and 5 O‘Clock Tea at Haas & Haas
The tea specialty shop Haas & Hass and its adjacent tearoom, located right behind St. Stephen’s Cathedral in central Vienna, invite fans of epicurean delights to linger and enjoy. The international clientele love the sweet biscuits, cakes and scones accompanying the hot beverage, in addition to a store filled with tea from all over the globe. I would like to find out where all these teas and treats come from and am invited to pay a visit to the bakery run by the mistress of these delicate sweets. I am welcomed by the Haas family that has been travelling the globe for 30 years to find the best tea and always returning home from its trips with new ideas that are then developed here in Vienna.
The tearoom is located in a historic building of the Teutonic Order – just a stone’s throw from the Mozart House. As such, it is hardly surprising that Haas & Haas also sells its own version of Mozart balls. “Ours are the best in Vienna – because they are handmade using only the best ingredients!” says Eva Haas. We are standing in the patisserie and I can watch how the confectioner makes balls out of precisely weighed out pieces of marzipan with a nougat core. It smells delicious and I am told some exciting facts about this sweet temptation. “When we decided to make Mozart balls it was clear that we expected a specific quality and, so, we went out looking for the best nougat and marzipan we could get. It is important to us where the ingredients come from — that they don’t include any preservatives and as little sugar as possible.”
They found what they were looking for and Mozart balls and Mozart rolls (Mozartrollen) are made here every Monday. They can be bought either at the shop on St. Stephen’s Square or enjoyed right away with a good cup of tea. I am given a little taste – and what should I say – they are just heavenly! The confectioner smiles – she is visibly proud of her work and says that the best way to eat the “Mozart” is while it is still fresh, although they keep for a minimum of 26 days. Then, she goes on to recount all the other confectionary she makes while dunking each ball in dark chocolate using a special confectionary fork and then placing them on a tray. She tells me that she has also specialized in tea cakes and special cakes, in addition to marzipan confectionary with delicious fruit fillings.
The Haas family was impressed by the traditional English ceremony for 5 o’clock tea that they tested in a variety of luxury hotels from London to Singapore. So, it is no surprise that customers like to meet for 5 o’clock tea at Haas & Haas or buy the perfect ingredients at St. Stephen’s Square to take home with them. “You know, we had to experiment for a long time to get the perfect scone,” Eva Haas tells me. “After all, our scones should be as good as the original! This is why we import a special type of flour from England to make it work perfectly.”
The scones are served with strawberry jam and clotted cream, of course!
You can taste your way through various types of tea culture in style and keep making new discoveries every time you visit.
Daughter Nina Haas also works in the family business – “Everyone here has their special duties that fit best to their own personal interests.” I am impressed. Everyone seems to have their dream job here. Of course, they move with the times. Whether it is gluten-free cakes that are also suitable for people with allergies or intolerances or well-thought out packaging for tea, cakes and chocolates — the company is trying to be as sustainable as possible and is prepared to provide friendly advice to customers and share their vast knowledge.
Meanwhile, a great number of Mozart balls had been made during our conversation. Once the chocolate ganache has dried, they will be neatly packaged and sent on their way to be sold. As I bid goodbye to these tea and culinary experts, I am convinced that this quality is definitely worth a stroll to No 4 St. Stephen’s Square.