Friday, December 25, 2015

The best sacher torte in Vienna. Is it at the Hotel Sacher or at Demel? And about the most famous coffee houses in Vienna and the things to do in Vienna when visiting for the first time.



So last week, even before my friends and I had set foot in Vienna, living a #Travelife, one of them asked me: "Which one should we go to? Hotel Sacher or Demel?"

She was talking about the best place in Vienna for getting the genuine and the best sacher torte.

I replied: "We're going to both Sacher and Demel, of course."


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WHAT IS A SACHER TORTE?

The sacher torte is a rather dry chocolate cake with apricot jam spread between the layers, coated with an equally dry and hard chocolate icing.

It's not everyone's cup of tea -- or perhaps I should say plate of cake, instead -- but those who appreciate it tend to like it very much.



The original sacher torte was reportedly created by Franz Sacher in 1832 and it immediately became a big hit at the Viennese Royal Court, particularly for Prince Metternich. He reportedly passed it on to his son Edouard who then worked at nearby Demel, and this is how Demel got its own version of the sacher torte of the Hotel Sacher.

Later on it became a great favourite of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, as well, and eventually the beloved cake of Viennese. So of course it's a must for someone visiting Vienna, especially if they're doing so for the first time.

Scroll down to read more...

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BATTLE OF THE BAKERIES

It's still a toss-up between Demel and Hotel Sacher, on which is the best sacher torte or even the authentic one.

But nevertheless, tasting the sacher torte is one of the things you must do when visiting Vienna for the first time, along with having a Viennese schnitzel for lunch and sitting in a famous Viennese coffee shop to have a drink and people watch.

THE FAMOUS COFFEEHOUSES OF VIENNA



It goes without saying that Hotel Sacher and Demel are among the most famous of the Viennese coffee houses -- the Sacher has a very opulent atmosphere while Demel is lively and busy.

And here are other places to try if you have the time and inclination:

1) The circa 1880s Cafe Sperl offers antiquated surroundings a good Sperl torte, in case you want to try another kind of cake.

2) The Cafe Landtmann is my personal favorite, as well as a great favourite of artists, intellectuals and politicians for the last 120 years or so. At Sacher and Demel, you're more likely to see tourists and maybe a celebrity or two, but Cafe Landtmann is for serious people watching for those interested in Viennese society. Good coffee and also good hot meals. I've actually never had cake here.

3) Other people recommend the Cafe Mozart. It's perfectly situated near the Spanish Riding School, to enter after a day of sightseeing, although you will probably find it full more of tourists than locals.


KILLING TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE.
OR TWO PASTRY SHOPS IN ONE VISIT.




But back to the sacher torte, which I personally think is an acquired taste as a moist chocolate cake is way easier to like.

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And just for the fun of it, I always go to both Hotel Sacher and Demel. Demel is a short walk away from Sacher, and both are easy to go to whenever I am in Vienna.

There's a rivalry between these two for recognition as the best place and the most authentic place for sacher torte, and I'll save the story for another entry.

BUYING CAKES AT HOTEL SACHER
AND DEMEL IN VIENNA



This time in Vienna, though, I bought boxes of sacher torte at both the Hotel Sacher and Demel to bring back home, as we did go to both and someone very kindly carried all our shopping for us girls and I actually had four check-in luggage, so there was great incentive to buy these rather heavy boxes of cake.

When I got home and gave someone a taste of the real deal sacher torte from Vienna, he simply said: "It's a dry cake. I don't see what all the fuss is about. Maybe it's the packaging."

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IT'S ALL ABOUT BRANDING

Sacher torte at Demel in Vienna

Admittedly, both the sacher torte of the Hotel Sacher and the sacher torte of Demel are so beautifully packaged that you almost don't want to open it. The cakes are carefully placed in handstamped wooden boxes that are then wrapped in glossy red paper and ribbons.

Nevertheless, it is a dry cake that crumbles when you slice it without much experience, and that also crumbles in your mouth. Some people like and others don't.

But each time I have this -- the most recent time was this afternoon on Christmas Day -- I remember Vienna in all its winter glory, as I have always visited Vienna only in the winter, for some reason, each time living a never-endingly eventful #Travelife. 


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Watch our TRAVELIFE TV Special
on the best of Hokkaido
on December 27 at 7 AM and 8 PM

Regionwide via the
Koreasat CH5

and the Living Asia Channel:
Cignal CH29
Dream Satellite CH11
Sky Cable CH99
Sun Cable CH99
Destiny CH88
Cable Link CH41




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