Stiftskeller Innsbruck. A-6020 Innsbruck · Stiftgasse 1
Hours: Daily 10:00 – 24:00
Pancakes or waffles? Such an age-old dilemma simply does not exist for the most important meal of the day here in Austria. Firstly, pancakes and waffles are not classically recognized as breakfast items – they are deemed more as a dessert. Secondly, the German word Waffeln can refer to either waffles or wafers but is generally used in reference to the latter. The term is largely associated with Neapolitan wafers (popularized by the famous Viennese Mannerschnitten sandwich biscuits) as opposed to waffles. Lastly, though waffles are popular in Belgium and Nordic countries, Austrian cuisine is big on thin crêpe-like pancakes known as Palatschinken. Simply put, waffles are not so common in Austria. If you had to make the choice, pancakes, albeit in a different form, would almost always win out. Not this week, though, as Stiftskeller in Innsbruck offers this scrumptious treat as part of their weekly special.
Presentation is impeccable. One thick square waffle, complete with its distinguishing lattice design, arrives on a clean white plate. The dough gets a nice powdered sugar showering over the top. Sitting in the middle is a clean round scoop of frozen ice cream. A back and forth drizzling of warm chocolate sauce provides a perfect finishing touch. Supplementing the dessert dish is a fresh mound of whipped cream, completed with a handful of blanched sliced almonds.
Stiftskeller’s waffles are dense and chewy. Actually, the cake is quite doughy in the center which makes it sort of reminiscent of a donut. The waffle is only slightly crisp on the outside. Sugar has been caramelized on the dough’s surface – therein lies the caramel component. It has that distinctive richness, but a slight sugary grittiness.
The combination of powdered sugar and chocolate sauce, though, overshadows the caramel flavor. To say the dessert is sweet is certainly an understatement – the caramelized granulates cooked into the waffle, the white powder dusting the surface, the frozen scoop on top and the sauce drizzled over the surface all have a distinct level of sweetness. The deep pockets and large squares forming the waffle’s grid pattern provide copious amounts of space for the toppings to find refuge, making both the sugar and chocolate a significant part of each bite. This takes a bit away from the flavor and texture of the waffle.
A creamy consistency is certainly not lacking in the dish as there is both the frozen dessert and whipped topping. Vanilla ice cream slowly melts away as it sits upon the warm square cake. The cold treat teams with the doughy waffle to produce a delightful creamy and chewy combination. Additionally, the whipped cream and sliced almonds add something special. € 4.90 is reasonable.