Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sacher Torte in Demel Cafe, Vienna

The last time we were in Vienna, we were told we had to visit Demel and have a hot chocolate. This was in December 8 years ago--it was freezing, and Demel was always packed with people thawing out with hot chocolate.

One afternoon, Kat and I managed to squeeze in and shared one hot chocolate (there was no space at the bar). We then we rushed out because we also had to be somewhere else. We didn't have the opportunity to enjoy our hot chocolate but we now had bragging rights. It was thick and it was good. And we were rushed.

On this trip, Demel was right around the corner from our hotel. It still looked very popular with lots of tourists taking photos in and around it, but there was lots of elbow room too.

The Demel Coffeeshop goes back over 200 years. They were a supplier to the empress and were the creators of the original Sacher Torte. That claim, however, is controversial and the story is quite convoluted. This blog post tries to explain the history of the Sacher Torte simply and clearly. Read the comments too, very interesting.

Without the crowd, I had a clear view of the interiors. Oh my, what beautiful salons! I love these Versailles-type mirrors, and the gorgeous ceiling details.

Walking to the back of the shop, I discovered there was a salon at the back, and a visible bakery. There were stairs that led to a second floor, and more stairs that led to a third.  Eight years ago, I had the impression that they only had this bar out in front. This is where Kat and I battled the crowd for our hot chocolate.

B and I went upstairs and got a table in the quaint dining room. Since I'm not a fan of hot chocolate I decided to order the very famous cake of Vienna, the Sacher Torte, plus an espresso.  I wanted just a taste too so I ordered the mini version of a slice.

Oops, I only remembered to take a picture after I ate it.

This time though I thoroughly enjoyed what I had. The coffee was good and I savored every bite of the sacher torte which was small enough to be guilt-free. But I wouldn't come here just to eat. If it was full, I wouldn't jostle with the crowd.

For me, this is a place to enjoy a shopping break and take in the beautiful interiors. I'm a sucker for anything with a long history and distinguished provenance.

 The bakery in the back room

I like Sacher torte because I like dark chocolate and it isn't so sweet. Before this, Sacher torte = dry and crumbly cake. Not this one. It wasn't moist, but I wouldn't describe it as dry. The apricot jam under the coating of chocolate gave it a sweet zing. Maybe my palette has matured. Or maybe I was just mesmerized by the interiors. Whatever it was, I now know that I like Sacher torte-- in Vienna.

That said, and although the cakes are packaged well and can probably withstand an overseas flight, it didn't occur to me to take any home to replicate the experience elsewhere. I think the whole experience of a perfect Sacher torte is having it in Vienna, either here in Demel or at the Sacher hotel.

Kohlmarkt 14 
Vienna, Austria 1010

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