searching for the perfect cake (or coffee) in Mainz

The dendrochronology workshop in Mainz last week took all day so I didn’t get to explore the city. So I headed off again this weekend, stopping at Wiesbaden first. It also got a beautiful old town although I was first welcomed by this little guy, who seemed to think if he couldn’t see me I couldn’t see him!




The town is pretty much based around it thermal baths and wellness. My company consisted of wandering groups of elderly tourists and alternating porshes and bmws driven by little old men who were dropping their wives off at the spas. The town itself has a certain old charm to it as the buildings inside the old town were so beautiful. Wine cellars, baking fountain, shops laden with sweets. The streets are so empty as its a Sunday. Im still getting used to the fact most places are closed on Sundays even though Ive been here for four months now! Maybe it is good that it was closed, temptation would have been to great otherwise. They also have a hot fountain placed in a square where the maximum limit to drink was one litre due to the magnesium and arsenic content. Thankfully I read the sign before I tested the miraculous properties of the water.





However, during my search I happened across a café reputed be the oldest Viennese café in Germany, or the number one at least and was welcomed inside through draping red curtains. It was quite old fashioned inside, but that had nothing to do with the cakes, where I might or might not have spent ten minutes deliberating which one to take. Although if you were faced with the spread in front of you from the main picture on this post what would you do?



The coffee that came with the one I ordered was beyond forgettable. My slice of carrot cake was nice and moist, carroty, but missed a kick from an extra dose or two of cinnamon or all spice and a handful of walnuts or raisins scattered throughout which would have given it some more depth. In my opinion carrot cake is so good it doesn’t need anything else apart from a sprinkle of icing sugar, so it was a shame they had wrapped this slice in icing with a biscuit base on the bottom (why?). Still tasty, the brunch the others were eating around me looked nice (big craze at the moment, all the cafes are offering it) and Id be tempted back, maybe for one of the fruit cakes this time!

From there I hopped on the train to Mainz. Larger, not quite as charming, but a nice way to walk alongside the river, with a beach (shame about the weather), various churches and of course the dome, with its carvenous halls and quiet abbey square. It had the same beautiful painted houses I’ve seen in other cities, there was an old fort a little walk at the top of a hill, remains of an amphitheatre and a church which was so different to the stark german austere churches it reminded me of Italy.








Maybe I had Italy on the brain, or I just really needed a better coffee than the one this morning, but my nose led me to what appeared to be an Italian area where an unassuming small building from the outside turned into Alices rabbit hole. The sweetest shop ever with bowls overflowing with Italian treats, a little old Italian man working behind the counter crammed into a tiny space and an espresso to die for. Mainz for coffee – check. Best cake? Hmmm.. I guess my “study” is going to have to continue.


In fairness I seem to have bad luck with the weather, the umbrella which I carried around all day didn’t quite need to be used against the rain that spat down briefly. It could have come in handy half-way during my evening run though. At least running in a downpour is hardly something new to an Irish person.