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Sacher torte from Hotel Sacher in Vienna

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  • Darlene Jun 4, 2005 09:38 AM
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Has anybody ever tried to bring one of these back to the US? On the website it looks as if they are packaged well but I was wondering how it would survive the plane ride.

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  1. I received one through the mail recently. It came in a nice and reasonably sturdy wooden gift box, which had been wrapped in paper and addressed. Both the box and the cake were structurally sound upon arrival.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Caseophile

      Thanks-I might try it. Did you try the torte-was it any good?

      1. re: Darlene

        Having been there and tried it, all I can say is 'grossly over-rated'. I'm not a cake/pastry cook but her Majesty can knock up a cake which matches Sacher for flavour in minutes. Don't, DIY, I would suggest,

        Bob

        1. re: Bob Moffatt

          Thanks-I appreciate the advice and will steer clear of it. I am a little disappointed though as I had always heard how good the tortes and pastries are in Vienna. I guess there are other places to try!

          1. re: Darlene

            There ARE good cakes and pastries in Vienna, but the Sachertorte is a pretty austere cake - very simple, on the dry side, no cream, not very sweet - that it just isn't an immediate favorite for most people, especially if they expect something "amazing". It's famous, and you should definitely try a slice, but it's not a "wow" type of cake.

            1. re: Sir Gawain

              Completely disagree. Made correctly, a sacher torte is a marvel of baking creativity and excellence.

              1. re: DeisCane

                agree. the cake is not overly rich (oils and pudding mix? gah!) like American cakes can be, but IS layered with complimenting flavors.

                First the chocolate cake made with finest cocoa and chocolate, farm fresh eggs and sweet Alpine butter, a brushing of Kirschwasser to soak in, then the apricot preserve glaze, then repeat. Top with a thin chocolate ganache. AND ALWAYS, served mit schlag. A generous dollop of freshly whipped and very lightly sweetened whipped cream snuggled up against the SIDE of the slice, not on top.

                1. re: toodie jane

                  A friend of mine traveling through Vienna brought me a small Sachertorte and the taste for me is a huge "wow"! That may be because in Italy (where I live) the local baked pastries are rarely to my liking, but I also felt that the Sachertorte was unique and fantastically crafted.

                  By the way, I had it without cream and still thought it was marvelous. I don't remember where the cake was purchased. It came in a small cheap wooden box.

    2. I have brought them back. not my favorite, but my wife likes them. If you are going to be in vienna, try a piece, if you like it, bring one home.

      there are pleanty of otehr great cakes to bring home from vienna

      1. The Sacher Torte ist mainly a souvenir item for tourists. Viennese residents will buy their pastry - if not made at home - rather from one of the following "Konditoreien" in the "city": Heiner, Lehmann, Demel and Gerstner.
        IMHO it is very chowhoundish when in Vienna to go to Aida: this is a chain of low cost coffee and pastry shops, were you can also sit and drink your coffee and eat one of their great petit fours and other pastries. They also have wonderful Torten, and what I especially like is the chocolat covered Gugelhupf...
        The outer districts all have small pastry shops which are quite famous locally. I think of Bimashofer in Perchtoldsdorfer Straße 7 in Wien Liesing and others.

        Link: http://www.aida.at

        1. i haven't been to the hotel sacher in many years, but the last time i went the sacher torte was what it should be...the prime meridian of its genre, the bureau of weights and measures sacher torte against which others should be measured

          that doesn't mean it was a you-gotta-try-this-before-you-die type of food experience (the deep fried parsley that accompanied my wiener schnitzel there, on the other hand, remains memorable in that sense all this time later...crisp and light and fresh and green and crunchy, sort of what fried zucchini always wanted to be); as others have written, sacher torte is not a pyrotechnics type of cake

          basically, it's just three things: dry chocolate cake, apricot jam, and a chocolate glaze

          the glaze is the easiest to replicate; i think it's basically just good to excellent dark chocolate and heavy cream in equal weights, heated together till they combine and then poured over the cake

          good apricot jam can be extremely complex as flavors and textures go, i guess that's because you can more or less say the same for apricots; the trick is to get it deeply fruity and intense while smooth enough not to disrupt the coating

          the cake is the tricky part; it's a chocolate cake and the chocolate is an important part of it, but it's the dryness and the texture, the crumb, that's distinctive; lots of recipes call for nuts, some for breadcrumbs in lieu of flour; it's the dryness that makes the jam such an important player in the cake

          anyway, the version at the Sacher Hotel at least used to balance these elements in a way that one could think of as definitive; not necessarily the best, but plainly a standard against which other approaches could be thought of as variants

          so by all means go there; and because the cake travels extremely well, even arguably gets better over the first few days after it has baked and has neither moving parts nor vulnerable components, if you like it bring some back for baker friends to see if they can replicate it (the thing about sacher torte is that everyone has their own recipe but, i believe, the hotel has never divulged theirs; it's like lindy's cheesecake)

          1 Reply
          1. re: john farago

            A staffer in my office actually brought one of these in for us a couple weeks ago after a trip to Vienna - it was quite nice - the main flavor that came through - apart from the chocolate - was of butter.
            Made me realize how few pastries actually have significant noticeable butterfat content these days.

          2. Demmel makes a better one. Neither the Sacher or the Demel ones really impressed me. Too dry. Search out a recipe and make your own. Truely not that hard. Important is to use good apricot jam, good quality chocolate and corn syrup in the frosting. The best Sacher I had was at a conditerei in Melk across from the cathedral

            2 Replies
            1. re: sensi63

              In Vienna for Christmas.

              I am sad to report that it is true, Sacher torte is grossly over-rated. When I was in Vienna back in 2003, I thought I just had a bad one at Cafe Sacher. Today I had another one at Cafe Mozart, and it was exactly the same as I had remembered my first experience. Completely dry and boring.

              This afternoon we went to Demel (my 2nd time). The hot chocolate is still delicious, but we ordered a different pastry - some kind of hazelnut torte, which tastes better than Sacher torte.

              I still prefer the pastry scene in Paris than Vienna... but maybe that's just me.

              1. re: theskyflyer

                If you love confections, you gotta check out the 'pastry scene' in Budapest. Blows Vienna out of the water.

                Long live the Dobos Torta!!!

                :)

            2. It would probably do alright as long as you didn't check it through --- but to be honest with you, as I written elsewhere on Chowhound, the Hotel Sacher torte is really average and sometimes even sub-par. My foodie buddies and I have been sorely disappointed at Hotel Sacher more than once.

              If you can find a local Central European deli near where you live, they can probably do a version that is just as good, if not better.

              1. I can appreciate the less sweet style of this dessert, in America our desserts are dripping with sugar. This is great with a cappucino or cup of tea.

                1. I first tasted a Sachertorte when I was 19 at the Hotel Sacher. I ate it the way it is traditionally consumed, by dipping each piece in schlag (whipped sweet cream) and a sip of sweetened strong coffee with cream. The cake is made to be part of this threesome and is greatly diminished otherwise. I have a similar experience with dark chocolate and cabernet, there is just something about the combination. I loved it then and it was just as good when I returned to Vienna 40 years later in 2008. Remember, it is an Austrian pastry that derives its flavor from the chocolate and butter, not the sugar. You can get the recipe from their cookbook "Das Grosse Sacher Bachbook" or their new one, "Sweet Things from the Hotel Sacher". There is also an adaptation at epicurious.com complete with a video. Experiment, learn to appreciate the tastes of different cultures. Expand your palate.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: notdefined

                    I wholeheartedly agree. With several more years of grazing in Budapest cukrazdas (Hungarian for konditorei), I have come to appreciate deeply those that still at least partly provide a taste of the traditional Hungarian/Austrian dry-crumb, verging on dense bready, kind of torte, like Sacher's Sacher torte. I understand why people are often disappointed on first trying it, but I still find it seductive and eternal, even if understated. It's a very, very subtle cake, as becomes obvious when one orders it in the almost infinite number of places that bake their own. I have tried to make it at home and I'm here to tell you that it ain't easy to get that crumb right - texture, dryness, size. Bread crumbs are a helpful addition... In short, I wouldn't go to Vienna just for the Sacher Torte (wouldn't go actually for pretty much any reason), but when there it would be a crime not to have a slice at the Sacher just to know what the benchmark is. And if/when you do, follow notdefined's routine.

                    1. re: farago

                      If you like Sachertorte, go to Demel and try their "Burgtheater-Linzertorte". This is a dry and dense nut cake to die for…

                      Its name derives from the time when Demel was catering to the Burgtheater. This is quite an old recipe, it was created for the opening of the new Burgtheater in 1888...