It is shortly after ten and the first customers are already in a hurry to choose their favorite flavor in the shop at Silvia Molina-Pradel, whose family has been making popsicles since 1886.
They have always made it and still do it in Vienna, where they have loved this delicacy since the time of the empire. “The colors have to be pastel, which is a guarantee of quality,” Silvio, the heir to the real dynasty, told AFP when he oversaw the artisanal production of ice cream in the back of the store.
A shop with a touch of the past, called Eissalon am Schwedenplatz, stands among the trees in the center of Vienna and is never empty. The season began this year on March 19, at St. Joseph, the patron saint of all workers. During the warm summer, the sale of ice cream celebrates success. 5000 guests come here every day for several months. In Austria, which has a population of less than nine million, there are 367 ice cream parlors who share annual sales of 100 million euros.
Austrians have a weakness for sweets
Each Austrian consumes an average of eight liters of ice cream a year, which you can imagine as 21 ice cream sundaes on three scoops. By comparison, Italians eat on average “only” six liters a year.
The inhabitants of the then Austria-Hungary were among the first, apart from Italy, to like popsicles, sometimes also called Italian ice cream. From there, it spread throughout Europe.
The story began to be written by the inhabitants of the Zoldo valley in the Italian Alps, who fled it from poverty. Among them was Silvia’s great-grandfather Arcangelo Molin-Pradel. His brother learned to make ice cream on a ship from a Sicilian who passed on his skills. Eventually, he began selling ice cream in Vienna’s large Prátri Park.
Their home village was part of Austria-Hungary between 1806 and 1866, and the brothers then discovered that the Austrians had a weakness for sweets and were frequent guests of local patisseries selling beet sugar products.
Available to everyone
“It has helped make ice cream accessible to everyone. It used to be reserved only for solvent clients, “explains Silvio Molin-Pradel, perfectly dressed, with gray on his temples when he opens the family album. Their family recipe for popsicles is based on water and not fresh milk, as is the case with other local ice creams, so it was also available for the working class.
At the beginning of the 20th century, “gelatiers”, ice cream makers, received permission to open real shops in Vienna, and gradually hundreds, later thousands, came here. From Austria, it is only a step to neighboring Germany, where some have also reached.
“The stores were only open in the summer, the men were returning home for the winter. Even though their wives later started working with them, the children remained in their homeland with their grandparents, ”says historian Maren Möhring.
Open only in summer
For decades, the season ended in early August because raw materials such as fresh fruit were running low. They all had to be back in Zölda by August 15 at the latest to catch the local festivities. Then it was necessary to prepare hay and prepare for the first snow.
Silvio Molin-Pradel also locks his shop every year at the end of the season and travels to Zöld, a six-hour train ride from Vienna. The ice cream man explains that he needs a trip and winter rest to get inspiration.
“Ice cream producers from northern Italy have taken care to maintain the quality of their art, which explains their success. Recipes are often secret and passed down from generation to generation, ”says Maren Möhring.
There are about 40 such ice cream makers in the former Habsburg capital and they have a special quality mark.
“Every Viennese will tell you that his ice cream parlor is the best,” says Silvio Molin-Pradel with humor. His business is thriving, so he embarked on production for a network of supermarkets in the suburbs. To the delight of the clumsy Austrians, the ice cream season has also been extended, and they can often indulge in their cool pleasure in a corner until October.
Source: Pravda.sk – Veda a technika by vat.pravda.sk.
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