Friday 29 May | 2015
Vienna fancies itself as the capital of traditional coffeehouse culture, and since 2011 has even earned the UNESCO stamp for its devotion to layer cakes and black gold. So it’s fair to say that on our pursuit of the perfect Sacher torte, we arrived in Vienna with a sweet tooth and high expectations. First stop: the renowned Sacher Eck’.
I’m not sure how UNESCO defines traditional coffee culture, but it seems to involve an industrial machine where a single button delivers a cappuccino, after you’ve poured some milk into the dispenser and a bag of unlabelled coffee beans in the top. Let’s focus on the cake then, shall we?
This slice of divine Sacher torte is why we – and a queue of 20 tourists behind us – have come to the Sacher Eck’ today. The treat-sized slice of rich chocolate cake is elevated with a subtle sweet orange marmelade flavour, then topped with real chocolate ganache and a dark chocolate Sacher coin. I really love it and want another slice, but as far as chocolate cakes go, could it stand up to a German Blackforest torte? We’ll leave you to decide.
We’re sitting on the bar with front row seats for the high performance factory that Sacher is. About every minute, 10 slides of the famous cake go out to grace the tables of tourists and locals alike. Considering this volume, the quality here is impressive.
The experience at Sacher Eck’ is a bit like an Italian bar, which is actually perfect if you’re just in town for the day. In case you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, visit its big sister Café Sacher, which is just around the corner. Or find your way to to the famous Demel.
Demel feels like more of a glamorous vintage institution, with beautiful mahogany wood, glass, chandeliers and touch of elegance. Like Sacher Eck’, there is also a little shop with nicely packaged goodies that you can take home to appreciative loved ones.
Demel is also featured as one of the top 25 bakeries in the world. Downstairs is a kitchen viewing area, where you can admire their beautiful cakes being made and the sugar artistry of true professionals.
The Sacher torte here at Demel is surprisingly different. It has no middle layer, and is more reminiscent of a standard chocolate cake, perhaps with some additional spices. The chocolate ganache is very sweet and also a little grainy, from undissolved sugar I presume. So from my account there is no deliberation – the Sacher torte from Sacher Eck’ is much better.
But at Demel, there are so many other options, most of which involve chocolate and several layers. The apple strudel is also really wonderful, made with the finest pastry apple slivers rather than dices. Here’s our best shot before it disappeared:
You just want to try the best Sacher torte. >> Visit Sacher Eck’ or Café Sacher
You don’t really like Sacher torte that much. >> Visit Demel
You don’t have much time in Vienna. >> Visit Sacher Eck’
You’re with your mum. >> Visit Demel
It’s a nice day and you want to sit outside. >>Visit Sacher Eck’ or Café Sacher
You’re on a diet and just want to look at everything. >> Visit Demel
You’re actually looking for coffee. >> Wish you were here.
Sacher torte is a must-try at least once in your life.