One place in Vienna that every coffee and sugar addict must visit is Hotel Sacher. Does the name ring a bell? Hotel Sacher was established by Eduard Sacher, whose father invented the Sacher-Torte recipe, and the Hotel Sacher is a place where you can try “The Original Sacher Torte”.
I spotted the “Hotel Sacher” sign and a smile appeared on my face. However, the smile quickly disappeared when I also spotted the queue of people waiting in front of the entrance. It was early afternoon, an ideal time to have a cup of coffee and something sweet, and apparently I wasn’t the only one thinking that. The cafe isn’t very large and I had to wait about 15 minutes to get a table.
I was sitting at the outer terrace and reading a book while waiting for the waiter… and waiting, and waiting for the next 15 minutes while waiters were bringing people their coffee and bringing new people to their tables. I was starting to think that I must be invisible when finally a waiter came and took my order.
And it started to rain. It was one of those sudden and intensive showers and however I tried to hide under the large umbrella, the rain always found me. I’ve decided to go inside and I could even appreciate a place at the bar counter although it doesn’t comply with my image of a perfect coffee time.
I felt a bit better when the waiter put a generous piece of Sacher-Torte and a cup of Wiener Melange in front of me. Sacher-Torte consists of a chocolate sponge cake, coated by apricot jam and chocolate icing on top, usually accompanied by whipped cream. The characteristics of a Wiener Melange often vary, sometimes it is a synonym for capuccino and sometimes it is topped with whipped cream. The latter was the case in Hotel Sacher. Despite being a huge fan of all kinds of sweet stuff, the combination of Sacher-Torte and Wiener Melange was a bit too much even for me. It’s so rich that you could have it instead of a lunch.
Although the Sacher-Torte was nice and sweet, my experience from the Hotel Sacher was rather bitter. It’s extremely touristy, you have to wait for a table, then for somebody to take your order and finally to bring you the order. The waiters are always in a hurry (which I could/had to watch from my spot at the bar counter) and the atmosphere isn’t very cozy or relaxing. If I were to visit the Hotel Sacher again, I would buy the Sacher-Torte to take away and eat it in one of the beautiful nearby parks. There are many places to hang around in summer and having a picnic with a Sacher-Torte is a much more tempting idea than sitting in the busy, cramped Hotel Sacher.
Sacher-Torte was first prepared in 1832 by Franz Sacher, but it was perfected by his son Eduard during his apprenticeship at the Demel bakery. When Eduard opened the Hotel Sacher in 1876 the Sacher-Torte became its speciality. However, there’s been a long fight about the label “Original Sacher Torte” between the Hotel Sacher and the Dremel bakery. In the end, the Hotel Sacher was allowed to use the label and the Dremel bakery has got rights to use “Eduard Sacher Torte” label. And what’s the difference? Instead of one layer of apricot jam the Demel version has two and the consistency of the sponge cake is supposed to be smoother.
The Dremel bakery has a shop at the Vienna Airport and you can get Sacher-Torte as a perfect souvenir. I bought one for my boyfriend Martin. It comes in a nice wooden box and tastes just as good as the one in the Hotel Sacher.