Ode To The Sachertorte

To be honest the whole sweet tooth is a relatively late development for me. We weren’t allowed to eat a lot of candy and sweet stuff when my sisters and I were kids, so it wasn’t until high school, when we had to sell chocolate bars as a fundraiser for our various clubs, did I begin to understand the evil power of sugar. Whenever I got tired of selling the Snickers or M&Ms to my classmates, I’d indulge in one or two for myself, telling myself all along that it was for a good cause, and happily go off to my next class on a sugar high. White chocolate covered raisins then became a loyal companion for the long hours of prepping for the bar exam some years later. Speed ahead another decade or so and suddenly I’ve got a full-blown addiction to dark chocolate. The darker, the better. I don’t eat milk chocolate (at all) or desserts (much), but put a decadent dark choco cake in front of me and, well…it’s not pretty.

Besides all the wonderful coffees you can get in Vienna, one of the most fun things to taste here is the famous Sacher Torte, which was created for Demel (the store I wrote about yesterday) by the Sacher family way back in the 1800s. The picture of all the chocolate cakes lined up in Demel’s kitchen from yesterday’s blog tells you how wildly popular it still is today.

Later it was offered at the Sacher Hotel; yes, a legal battle of sorts ensued over who had rights to the “original” sachertorte, but for now, it is readily offered all around Vienna. BTW, the Sacher Hotel is this lovely establishment not too far from the Demel location:

I took that picture on a breezy afternoon while watching people stroll by the hotel sidewalks only to pause and find a seat to enjoy the famous cake. I was full from lunch but even from the rooftop where I stood, I wanted that slice of heaven. Such is the evil power of sugar that I was referencing earlier.

The sachertorte consists of two layers of dense, spongy cake that’s actually not too sweet. There’s a thin spread of apricot jam between the layers and the cake is covered in a dark chocolate icing on the top and sides. So much for the cake not being too sweet. It is served with whipped cream. Various restaurants, cafes, and bakeries will offer a slight spin on this theme…

and I’m happy to report I like all of the variations. If it is possible to eat a slice at every meal I probably would. That’d be my ode to the sachertorte. Well, let’s say if my metabolism were still like in my 20s then I probably could. Fine, you got me, metabolism schmetabolism. I ate more than I should have, but who knows when or where I might run into another slice back in the US?

Did you notice from my pictures that when you order a coffee in Vienna, it will come with a small glass of water? Tap water in Vienna is quite good and it makes perfect sense to follow a hot espresso with some cool water on a warm summer day.


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