I bet you're wondering what that delicious cake is doing up there! As you might have read in my previous post, I recently (last week) went to Vienna and that is a piece of the original Sacher Torte. I had never been to that part of Austria before and needless to say I was very excited about going. It only cost me 15€ because my school organized it, so it would have been a shame not to go. I have to admit that I had no idea what that city is about. At first I wanted to go to the library and get a guidebook, but I forgot, so I googled 'what to do in Vienna' and was very surprised; I knew the city was expensive but seriously? I know London's very expensive but at least most of the museums are free. In Vienna, you have to pay for everything. I even googled 'what to do in Vienna for free' and the only recommendation was to take a walk. Great.
In case you didn't know, Vienna (Wien) is the capital of Austria and one of its nine states. It has a population of about 1.7 million, which is almost the population of Slovenia. It's very popular around Christmas, because they have famous Christmas Markets (Christkindlmarkt); the biggest one is in front of the city hall. There's really nothing to buy there, to be honest; it's just the Christmas atmosphere that draws people there. But there's one thing hat you must do if you like cakes and you ever come to Vienna: eat a piece of the original Sacher Torte at the Hotel Sacher.
As soon as I figured out where I was (which is not easy in a snow blizzard!) I started looking for the famous hotel. At the beginning of my journey (or should I say odyssey?) I was so lost... but 15 minutes later, I found it. There's some construction going on so I couldn't see the hotel in all its shine, but I found it faster because there was a giant sign in front of it.
You can't actually eat the torte there; you have to go to the Cafe Sacher or the Sacher Stube a few meters to the left of the hotel entrance. I still haven't figured out the difference between the two; maybe the Stube is less classy. I went in there because I was soaking wet from all the snow and I didn't want to embarrass myself.
The inside of the Stube is beautifully decorated and quite small; there aren't many tables. I ordered my Sacher torte (I don't think anyone orders anything else, although they offer other cakes) and a peppermint tea and they brought it right away. I liked it. A lot. Eating it felt special, after all, the recipe has been the same for more than 175 years!
It was invented after Wenzel Clemens Prince Metternich ordered a very special cake to offer his noble guests that night; but the chef was ill, so the 16-year-old apprentice had to invent something. That was Franz Sacher, the man who invented the most famous cake in the world. I have always liked Sacher Torte. My mother used to bake it since we found a recipe in one of the magazines and it was delicious. Its taste wasn't far from the original, I know that now, but the icing was never that pretty. It's also on my to-do list, as I want to bake it in the near future. The Austrians only eat this torte with unsweetened whipped cream on the side, which is unusual here. But if I went to Vienna to eat it, I had to eat it the way it was intended to.
If you don't live near Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck or Graz where the other Sacher Cafes are, you can always order the torte online. The prices are outrageous, just as you would expect, but at least you can try the original. There's also a shop to the right of the hotel, when you can buy the tortes to take home. They offer four different sizes and a few variations on the torte. The 150 g torte (''Lilliput'' version - just so you know how small it really is!) costs 10.50 €, while the biggest one (1.6 kg) costs 39.5 €.
I paid 4.80 € for one piece of the torte and 4.80 € for the tea, so it's not the torte that makes eating there expensive. It's the drinks! I wanted to order water, but I was freezing and I needed something warm. I liked the plates and cups - you can buy those in the Sacher shop as well!