Balls and Coffee Festivals this January in Vienna
2 December 2016
Whilst January across Europe can be a seemingly depressing affair, January in Austria marks the start of Ball Season; and Viennese residents and tourists alike flock to the various Balls in their thousands. With over 450 Balls to choose from, there is no shortage of options within the city; and each Ball brings its own unique flair to the table. Prepare to don your evening attire and experience the carnival atmosphere of January in Vienna, for evenings of glitz, glamour and Viennese Waltzing in abundance.
If alternatively you wish to see in the New Year in a less extroverted manner; then Vienna has plenty to offer. As well as the usual wealth of cultural offerings, January also marks the start of the Vienna Coffee Festival. Taking place over 4 days, the festival encapsulates everything that is great about the cities Kaffeehaus Culture and is a perfect way to unwind as you get into the rhythm of 2017.
Whatever it is you wish to do this January, a luxury stay at Grand Hotel Wien caters for all your needs; and its convenient location in the heart of Vienna places you on the doorstep to all of the curiosities that the city has to offer.
Vienna Philharmonic Ball
Considered by many as the unofficial highlight of the Ball Season; the Vienna Philharmonic Ball at the Musikverein, is a must attend event for those wishing to gain an insight into the splendour of the age-old Viennese tradition; and with its location just a 5 minute walk from Grand Hotel Wien, you can enjoy a pre-Ball glass of fine-wine before making the leisurely stroll across the square.
As you approach the Musikverein, you will be struck by the bold façade of the venue; which once a year transforms itself from a venerated concert auditorium into an elegant dance hall, providing a fitting backdrop for the esteemed Vienna Philharmonic Ball. As you enter the Musikverein, your ears will be greeted by the world renowned Vienna Philharmonic as they play for the Ceremonial Opening; and your eyes will be subjected to the exquisite interior of the Golden Hall, which is a spectacle in itself. Combine that with the sophisticatedly dressed patrons who adorn the hall and you will find yourself in 19th Century Vienna.
The first dance of the evening is traditionally a Polonaise (a slow dance of Polish origin; not to be confused with the mince based dish), as the Debutante Procession begins. Other dances include the Midnight Quadrille, and of course the Viennese Waltz; and do not fear if your moves are not quite up to scratch. The Austrian capital’s Balls are not the elitist affairs you might have thought, and a working knowledge of the dances will be ample to get you through the evening.
The evening, as always, features a fine selection of music, and completing the line-up alongside the Vienna Philharmonic are the esteemed wind orchestra, Grosser Wiener Ballorchester; who provide the more traditional sounds of the evening. Concluding the roster are the more contemporary resonances of the energetic Tom Henkes Dance Band and the enigmatic Divertimento Viennese, who will see you through to the early hours of the morning!
Dinner is of course included on the evening, and will likely include examples of Austria’s celebrated cuisine, in which goulash and strudel are almost certain to make an appearance; and you won’t be lacking for Dutch, or in this case Austrian courage as various flavours of schnapps will be bountiful.
A night at the Vienna Philharmonic Ball truly is a must attend for those who wish to embrace the Viennese tradition.
Vienna Coffee Festival
January 13th – January 16th
Listed in 2011 as an ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’, Viennese Coffee House Culture is an institution of the Austrian capital. Vienna and coffee go hand-in-hand; thus it was only a matter of time before a festival dedicated to the cities love of the refreshment was established.
Now into its third year, the Vienna Coffee Festival encapsulates everything that the Viennese love about coffee; and with its location just 12 minutes from Grand Hotel Wien, you’re just a short drive away from kaffee heaven.
The festival will feature a fine selection of artisan coffee from around the world, as well as gourmet food stalls should you want a break from caffeinated drinks. There will also be no end of tasting demonstrations from world-renowned baristas, interactive coffee workshops, and coffee based cocktails; as well as a variety of live music and entertainment, should you want to burn off some of the energy accumulated by the wealth of caffeinated delicacies on offer.
You will also be offered something in the way of a coffee education over the course of the festival. Experts among the Austrian Kaffeehaus scene, alongside international coffee connoisseurs, will be presenting their knowledge across various exhibitions; offering the perfect opportunity to learn about something that the Viennese hold so dear to their hearts! On top of all this, the festival will be host to the SCAE (Speciality Coffee Association of Europe) – and their annual Austria Barista Championship, as the best of the best compete for the Coffee Crown 2017.
Musikverein Wien picture sourced from Wikimedia Commons and is in the public domain.
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