Vienna: The Sachertorte

Tonight, I end my series on Vienna.  There are many things I have yet to write about but if I were to write about everything, then you’ll be reading about Vienna for a couple more years.  Entire books can be written about this remarkable city.  This city of art, history, love, culinary delight and wars.  So with much heardache but a growling stomach I leave you tonight with a Viennese favorite since 1832: the Sachertorte.

As you probably know, I have a particular fondness for all things chocolate. Dark chocolate. The Sachertorte is a chocolate cake unlike chocolate elsewhere.  First of all, its not spongey, soft or fluffy.  It’s a rich dark heavy chocolatey cake that is best served with a dollop of freshly beaten fresh cream.   Best suited for those who like things with a bite.  I do.   I wish I had one right now but helas no one I know is returning from Vienna.   I’m tempted to order online but there is a high risk that by the time it arrives, it’d have melted in Thailand’s blazing hot sun.  I’d have to wait.

Sachertorte remains in my mind not only because of how good it is, but because of the good times I’ve had eating it.   Sitting at the Sacher Hotel’s coffee shop not far from the Opera house, you can relax in an ambiance that brings you back hundreds of years.   Red is a colour that I see often in Vienna for it gives us a sense of warmth from the cold wintry air, and thus red are the carpets and seatings at the Sacher Hotel coffee shop.  The marble tables and wooden chairs give it an original kaffeehaus atmosphere.  (Old Thai coffee shops too had marble tables.  I wonder where they got their influence.)  Crystal chandeliers, paintings and pictures line the walls.  This must have been where many of the upper class Viennese had coffee before or after seeing the opera.  I suppose it’d make a great date place for those who want something a little more luxurious than the usual kaffeehaus.  Here, you’d feel weird going in shorts and a t-shirt.

I remember being there when the piano was being played.  It was wonderfully relaxing and especially so amidst good friends.  In summer there is an outdoor area that is more relaxing and service here is nothing less than 5 stars. After all it is the Hotel Sacher.  If you want the most beautifully decorated period rooms, stay here.  I am told that their restaurant also serves the most exquisite Tafelspitz.  Something I’ve not been fortunate enough to have tried.

Anyhow, if you want to buy some back as gifts, on the corner that is Karntnerstrasse (if I remember correctly) they have opened up a shop specifically selling these Sachertortes.  They come in various sizes and all in wooden boxes.  They make wonderful gifts.  Other shops too have tried to have their own ‘sachertorte’ but believe me, nothing quite beats the original one.  Those in charge of making it are sworn to secrecy and to this day, the recipe remains in the hands of a chosen few.

Here’s their website: http://www.sacher.com/en-index.htm

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