Manner Schnitten are as much part of Vienna and Austria as the schnitzel or sausage stall. A fact emphasized by the Stephansdom (St.Stephan’s Cathedral) logo found on their trademark pink packaging; the founder of the Manner company — Josef Manner — began business life with a chocolate and coffee shop (very Viennese!) in the shadow of the building.
Mr. Manner went on to invent the Schnitten (wafers) in 1898 in honor of the golden jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef, putting hazelnut cream in between layers of wafer to create a chocolate snack still hugely popular here. The recipe has remained largely unchanged, though the nut content has increased.
According to the company’s website, the hazelnuts used in the original came from the Naples area, which led to the original designation for the Schnitten as Neapolitaner. It’s a description still found on the packet.
In a globalized world, it’s refreshing to learn that the manufacturers still retain their Viennese roots, with the headquarters and a factory in Vienna’s 17th district. You can catch the chocolate smell as you walk past, if the wind is right.
If you’re lucky, you might also see the Manner old timer tram or horse-drawn carriage around the city, all dressed in pink and displaying the logo.
You can also buy the Schnitten and other Manner products from their store on Stephansplatz.
If you do treat yourself to a pack, you perhaps recall seeing the wafers in a less likely place than a Vienna cafe or supermarket, namely the movie Terminator 3. Arnold Schwarzenegger (yes, that one) is rumored to be a big fan and a cyborg Arnie can be seen buying a packet in the film. A well-traveled wafer indeed.