Food & Travel

The Travelling Table: For Once, It’s the Food That Travels

By Stitch on 4 January, 2008

It isn’t often that food actually travels to a table. Normally, people do the walking, or flying, and the food patiently waits to meet the travellers. In this case, it was the opposite as we finally met the famous Sacher Torte, from the Sacher Hotel in Austria.

 

It arrived as a travelling companion of my brother-in-law, who asked us what we wanted from Europe (he’s based there). In jest, we said, a Sacher Torte. Imagine our surprise as he brought one out, complete with its own branded (I mean literally branded, like cows) box. Talk about packaging! I don’t know of many cakes that come with their own travel accommodations, as this one was obviously packed for travel. Guess it shows just how popular the cake is.

The Sacher Torte, for those who are curious, is a chocolate and apricot jam concoction, with the layers of torte, or cake, sandwiching a thin layer of apricot jam. More jam is spread on top of the cake, then the whole thing is coated in rich, thick ganache. Mmmm.

 

It took us a few minutes of actual hemming and hawing before we finally cut into the thing, since it looked so gorgeous, with that little Hotel Sacher Chocolate badge placed off center. When we did…well…

 

Flavor-wise, it was very good. The cake itself was not very sweet, since the ganache and the apricot jam were, it set the other two off very nicely. The ganache was thick and creamy while the apricot jam provided what was an expected, but surprising, acid note. The texture of the thing was rather dry, however, which my wife and I speculated was either because it was made in Austria, which was rather cold, or because it flew through high altitude. It was a little disconcerting to our gooey-dessert palettes, but it actually still worked. And, according to our European guests, that’s how cakes are over there.

 

We had more of the cake as time progressed, and it actually moistened up a bit, probably because of the humidity here. And it went absolutely gangbusters with strawberries. I suspect a nice slightly sweet chardonnay would do really well, too. I’ve heard of some people actually ordering it from Vienna, for a couple of thousand bucks. As cakes go, it may not be worth all that effort.

 

But, as an encounter with a celebrity, well, I’d get it.

 

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  • JANUARY 5, 2008 9:15 AM

    Travelers Atlas said...

    What wonderful memories I had reading your Sacher Torte post! I was on vacation in Vienna a few years ago and of course had to try the famous Sacher Torte at the Hotel Sacher. It was absolutely delicious! I can still taste it now! I tried Sacher Tortes from other cake shops in Vienna, but found that the original one at the Hotel Sacher was still the best! It was so interesting to eat in their cafe and see more than half of the people in the room all ordering the same cake! Plus you're surrounded by Sacher Tortes on display all around you. How surreal! In addition, Austria in general, is a dessert lover's dream. There are a variety of wonderful cakes etc to be eaten all around. Even when I took a day trip to Salzburg, I enjoyed wonderful strudels in the town (as I was reminiscing on my memories of The Sound of Music). Glad you got to try Hotel Sacher's prized dessert!

  • JANUARY 7, 2008 10:15 AM

    joey said...

    This post brought back good memories for me too! Not that I have been to Austria...sadly no, but someone also sent me this very torte from there :) One of my favorite food bloggers, (who lives in Austria) who I have never met but have exchanged many emails with, sent me one as a gift when I got married. Can you believe the sweetness? :) I was so touched!

  • JANUARY 9, 2008 11:44 PM

    Stich said...

    I'm glad you all have great memories of this cake. Now that I've tried it, I really want to go to Austria!

  • JANUARY 13, 2008 1:45 PM

    mandy said...

    my mom and i went to austria some 10 years ago and we also went to hotel sacher for some sacher torte. sadly, we both were not impressed by the taste (to think we had it at their coffeeshop), it was a bit dry too; the chocolate part was good and we also had some hot cocoa with whipped cream. the austrians do love their cream! :)

    we were also told that sacher had a rival--i forgot the name of the hotel, but they both claim that they invented the sacher torte.

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