Doesn't the Sacher Torte just look so palatable?
My first impressions of the cake was that it looked way too chocolatey albeit palatable - the kind of thick chocolatey goodness that may be so thick it'd cause me to have a sore throat upon swallowing a mouthful. I have the tendency to link my thoughts to a sore throat whenever a certain dish seems thick, dry and gooey, just like the likes of thick ganache and peanut butter.
That aside, the torte itself fashioned an even coating of chocolate icing on it's exterior. It is in a nutshell, two layers of soft fluffy chocolate cake with apricot jam sandwiched in between.
I had a first bite and I was blown away. I instantly knew why this torte is such a big hoo-haa!
It was that soft fluffiness despite it's looks (yes, never judge a book by it's cover!). Anything that looks too chocolatey also always seem like it'll be too sweet. Fortunately for me, it wasn't too sweet nor bland, and I thoroughly enjoyed it - accompanied by a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream and a cup of tea, it was the perfect sweet ending.
The Sacher torte (pronounced as Sacker) was created by Franz Sacher in the 1800s for the Prince Wenzel von Metternich in Vienna. It is served in Hotel Sacher in present day - the Hotel which was opened by Sacher's son Eduard, in 1876. This torte stayed the same way, made in the same way, since Eduard himself perfected his father's recipe.
What makes the torte so special was arguably not the cake itself, but the chocolate icing. It was said that the chocolate used are three different chocolates, produced exclusively for the production of the Sacher Torte. It is amazing how much effort goes into this signature cake, and it is no wonder it is able to withstand the test of time, and still remain a Viennese specialty.
Here is a little on our experience there, with nothing to do with the torte.
It was an abrupt decision to visit Hotel Sacher cafe, to try out the Sacher Torte. It was yet another rainy evening (damn these winter temperament!). Many people were queueing to get in. Be prepared to wait for about 10-15 mins at the later hours of the evening, say about 8pm-ish, as everyone has had their dinner and are making their way to get desserts. Also, we were unaware of the tradition of having to put our coats in a coat room and having to pay for it - a little bit of a culture shock there because it seemed like a compulsory thing to do even though we did not require such service. I later understood that perhaps our coat may dirty the seats, or wet them in this case, as we just came from the rain from the outside.
We were already shocked from the fare from the coat room, what happened next was totally unexpected.
Our cake and tea arrived and we were busy photographing it like typical Asians, feeling that tinge of excitement to give the torte a try. My sister felt a cold sensation on the underside of her thigh. No, she did not pee in her pants or anything like that. There was a gooey mess of yellow and blue on the seat - that of what seemed like the remnants of someone who did not know how to eat properly - and my sister had conveniently sat down on the exact spot without noticing it due to the fanciful fabric on the seat, and the juice or whatever moisture left it the cake seeped through her pants. Not nice. That was shock number 2.
It was a frustrating moment for my sister to have her pants soiled with cake as we were backpacking and each only had 2 pair of pants (wear one bring one). The staff whom we approached to talk about this seemed a little flustered at the start, as the cafe was just packed with customers and he could not even stop to talk to us. Then came the manager who very kindly heard us out, though she looked doubtful at the start. She offered laundry services to us, but we were unable to accept her kind offer due to us leaving the next day. Instead, the bill was on the house, and also tons more apologies from herself.
P/S: Of course I'm not writing this to inform others on ways to be able to get a free meal in the cafe. It is just one of those interesting experiences that we collected during our trip that I think was worth sharing.
Other than our interesting experience, I would have to say that the Sacher Torte is definitely worth a try. The interior is beautiful like all the other Viennese coffee house. It is highly raved but also highly loved and rated. My story is just a part of our experience; don't shy away from this cafe as it is THE place for Sacher Torte. They have other branches in other parts of Austria too (Innsbruck, Salzburg and Graz), but the one in Vienna is the birth place of this torte. So if your geographic location permits, go to this one!
Fun fact: The Sacher torte is so famous, it has its own day dedicated to it - 5 December.
Hotel Sacher (Sacher Cafe Wien) | Philharmonikerstraße No. 4, Innere Stadt, Vienna, Austria | Opens daily 0800-0000