Sacher Torte in the Café Sacher, Vienna
High on my list of things to do whilst I was in Vienna was sampling the famous Sacher Torte in the original Café Sacher, in the heart of Vienna.
Vienna is famous for its ‘kaffeehauses’ and perhaps Café Sacher is the most well-known of them all. The Café Sacher is situated on the ground floor of the Hotel Sacher in a grand old property in Vienna’s first district that opened in 1875.
Inside the Café it’s very grand and plush, with its marble-topped tables and red upholstery on the chairs. The waiting staff are attired in black, with white aprons and little white caps for the ladies, very reminiscent of the 19th century.
There’s a covered terraced area that faces the street and in the summer time, it’s transformed into open air seating. The neighborhood is amazing; the Hotel is right across the street from the Vienna Opera House. There was a huge queue when I turned up. Everyone obviously had the same idea as me, but this was a Saturday afternoon in mid-August so it was bound to be busy, especially with tourists!
So what is Sacher Torte?
It’s a very elegant looking chocolate cake consisting of a fairly dry, dense cake with a layer of apricot jam, coated in a dark chocolate fudge-like ganache on the top and sides. It always has the word ‘Sacher’ written on the top and is traditionally served with unsweetened whipped cream to offset the dryness of the cake. I’m sure I could taste some kind of liqueur in the cake too but as it’s a secret recipe they wouldn’t tell me what it was!
A bit of history…..
The Sacher Torte was first invented in Austria in 1832 when Prince Metternich of Austria requested a more masculine dessert for his dinner guests, rather then the normal fluffy, creamy desserts that his pastry chef usually made. The chef was ill that night, so the task fell to the apprentice, Franz Sacher, who came up with the now famous cake that bears his name. Franz and his son Eduard later opened the Sacher Hotel in Vienna where Franz’s cake, made according to the hotel’s original and closely-guarded secret recipe, is served to this day. The cake is so popular in Vienna that it has become an integral part of the city’s coffee houses, with local bakeries and cafés serving up their own versions.
I ordered my Sacher Torte and also a café latte. The Torte is beautifully presented on a porcelain dish with a serviette and fork and, of course, with a large whirl of cream on the side. My coffee was also presented on a large silver platter with a glass of water, which is the traditional way to serve coffee in Europe (apparently you sip the water before you drink the coffee so the coffee remains on your palate after you have finished drinking it). The price wasn’t extortionate, it came to around €10.50 for the coffee and cake.