Vienna is abuzz with Klimt-o-mania to celebrate the famous artist’s 150th birthday this year. So why does this little Turkish boy with the darling red fez look so sad? My guess is because it is also the 150th anniversary of the founding of Meinl coffee, truly another great Viennese icon, but all the fanfare has been for Klimt.
Julius Meinl opened the flagship coffee store in 1862, providing consistently roasted coffee beans to the coffee drinkers of Vienna. Prior to that, coffee houses and individuals roasted their own beans, without doubt time consuming and not without great margins of error.
The Meinl flagship store holds court near the stately intersection of Graben and Kohlmarkt in the 1st District, amidst the other high-end stores that attract both tourists and real shoppers with real Euros to spend. In addition to its coffee, the store is also a purveyor of international groceries, and thus the more compelling reason for me to visit one afternoon. After all, Clayton Theodore and I can walk to the grocery store for a bag of Meinl coffee any time we want (Not on Sundays, though, because all of the grocery stores are closed. Except for a handful of Billas at the major train stations, all of which are like being at Whole Foods the night before Thanksgiving, but that’s another post!) so we’ll let the tourists purchase the beans at twice the price.
Just like at the UN Commissary, there are cute little flags announcing the food item’s ethnicity, so I made a game of seeking out the stars and stripes. Oreos and Pepperidge Farm cookies! (I’ll spare you the currency conversion. It would be cheaper to take a train to Milan for those cookies than to buy them at Meinl.)
What’s this? Oreo’s are American, but an Oreo cake mix is Spanish?
Pringles! Gross, but American nonetheless. Oops, they’re not Pringles. They’re Pringoooooals! so that makes them German.
I’m sorry, but slapping a £ label on the box does not make Ritz crackers British.
Just like Lady Liberty on “American Toast” cheese doesn’t make it American. It’s Austrian.
But we are given credit for Jolly Time popcorn. Kind of hard to overlook that “Product of USA” label.
Jim Beam gets the American nod, while his friend Jack Daniels on the next shelf is waving the Union Jack.
The Brits are even taking credit for Diet Coke!
Last fall I snapped this photo of the original Starbucks in Seattle, Washington, USA. Little did I know that Starbucks is Austrian.
And on my game went. Uncle Ben’s is as American as Jolly Time popcorn. Really, people.
This one surprised me. Pez candy is really and truly Austrian!
Whatever your international purchases may be, though, you can always tote them home in style. Happy 150th, Meinl coffee!