My last post was in August, and Dan’s been keeping the ship afloat since.
Truthfully, I’ve been without a camera for the last couple months and, for the couple months before that, was busy hanging out in Europe. Like that one uncle you always hated, I didn’t bring much back for you from my trip. Sorry. I usually wasn’t in an eatty, snappy, repeaty mood. But there were exceptions. And this post highlights one of them.
Oh Freud, did you really think you could keep ESR out of Austria?
Like most things in Europe, there’s an interesting history behind the Hotel Sacher.
I’m not even going to try to paraphrase Wikipedia this time – here it is in verbatim (original source) :
In 1832 Austria’s minister of foreign affairs, Prince Metternich, ordered his court’s kitchen to create a special dessert for a dinner to be attended by high-ranking guests. Dass er mir aber keine Schand’ macht, heut’ Abend! (“Let there be no shame on me tonight!“), he is reported to have declared. Unfortunately, on the day of the dinner the chief cook of Metternich’s household was taken ill, and the task of preparing the dessert had to be passed to Franz Sacher, then in his second-year of apprenticeship at the palace. The result was the magnificent chocolate cake devised on the spot by the 16-year-old trainee.
Franz Sacher was born in Vienna and died in Baden bei Wien. In 1876 his son, Eduard Sacher, opened the Hotel Sacher, near the State Opera House in Vienna, and the Sachertorte, the (still secret) recipe of which he had inherited, played no small part in spreading the fame of the hotel.
So, fancy hotel made famous by a chocolate cake called the Sachertorte… how’s it taste?
Unlike chocolate cakes here, the Sachertorte is not very sweet. The dry and crumbly dark chocolate sponge is encased by a thick and sweet milk chocolate shell. A thin layer of apricot jam sandwiched in between the sponge and shell accentuates the bitterness of the dark chocolate and brings some zest to the the cake. The sponge is a little too dry, but that’s why the Sachertorte is served with a fresh dollop of Schlagobers or unsweetened whipped cream – it’s as fun to say as it is to eat.
Decadent desserts (like this!) are fun, but the understated and refined Sachertorte suits a city like Vienna better. Enjoy with some Viennese coffee (which is traditionally served with a glass of water) and you might, just for a second, feel like you’re a European Monarch.
Sachertortes are served all over the world, but this (and a location in Salzburg) are the only places you can get The Original Sachertorte.
Check it out if you’re in the area.