Vienna Media News 03/2021 A slice of Viennese tradition
As far as profiles go, the Sacher Torte easily tops the leaderboard, and the best place to enjoy the city’s most famous indulgence is where the original comes from: the grand Hotel Sacher in Vienna. The hotel, which is behind the production of 360,000 hand-made Original Sacher Torte every year, is also the location of Café Sacher. The recipe was dreamt up in 1832 by Franz Sacher, while he was working as a kitchen hand at the tender age of 16. Legend has it that he was covering for one of the chefs, who had been taken ill, when he was asked to make a special dessert for Prince Metternich. Today, the Sacher Torte is one of the best-known cakes in the world, and usually enjoyed with a generous dollop of unsweetened whipped cream. Only a handful of employees are entrusted with the secret recipe for the Original Sacher Torte, which is also available for delivery worldwide. Given its shelf life of at least 18 days, it is always fresh on arrival.
A recipe with results that come very close to the top secret original Sacher Torte: https://www.wien.info/en/shopping-wining-dining/viennese-cuisine/recipes/sachertorte
The luxury Hotel Imperial is another establishment with an exclusive cake all of its own. Legend has it that the Imperial Torte was specially made in honor of Emperor Franz Joseph I to mark the hotel’s grand opening in 1873. Strictly speaking it is a piece of confectionery, but it’s easy to see how it gets mistaken for a cake given its size. Layers of light and fluffy cocoa mousse and delicate slices of almond wafer are wrapped in marzipan before being encased in a luxuriant chocolate glaze. But whatever category it falls under, there’s no doubt that it is best enjoyed at the Café Imperial in Vienna either in its original form, or in the “Black Orange” or “Fine Raspberry” variants. Like the Sacher Torte, it is available for delivery worldwide.
Just like in the Emperor’s day
The Demeltorte, baked by the court confectioner K. u. K. Hofzuckerbäcker Demel, is a walnut and chocolate cake topped with candied violets made to a special house recipe. Candied violets, another Demel specialty, were Empress Elisabeth’s favorite. The coffeehouse is renowned for its all-female staff of “Demelinerinnen” dressed in black uniforms, who abide by the 200-year-old tradition of only addressing the customers indirectly: “Is sir/madam ready to order?”
Gerstner K. u. K. Hofzuckerbäckerei, located in the historic Palais Todesco on Kärntner Strasse also has a history dating back to imperial times. Anton Gerstner had the idea for the café’s Gerstner Torte following a visit to the 1867 International Exposition in Paris. So it is no surprise that the cake features a classic French ganache glaze.
Café Central in Palais Ferstel is worth a visit for its Venetian and Florentine architecture alone. At the turn of the twentieth century it was known as a meeting place of novelists and playwrights, with regulars including Franz Kafka, Arthur Schnitzler and Peter Altenberg. However, they wouldn’t have been able to order a slice of Café Central Torte since it wasn’t until 2000 that the chocolate and marzipan cake with bittersweet orange essence was first added to the menu. Fans of the Café Central Torte will be pleased to discover that it can be sent to addresses in the EU.
Even More Sweet Temptations
Café Sperl (est. 1880) is a byword for Viennese coffeehouse culture with lovingly preserved original nineteenth-century interiors, including billiard tables. Its delicious Sperltorte has a special chocolate and almond frangipane containing vanilla and cinnamon.
Café Landtmann opened on the Ringstrasse in 1873. It is one of the few remaining original Ringstrasse coffeehouses, and a living reminder of the grand boulevard’s golden age. Located close to the Parliament building, City Hall and the Burgtheater, it counts politicians and actors among its regulars. A specialty of the house is Landtmann’s elegant cake with orange marzipan, nougat and a hazelnut base.
The patisserie and café Kurkonditorei Oberlaa is a relative newcomer, but multiple locations ensure that Oberlaa Kurbad Torte can be enjoyed throughout the city. The cake is constructed from alternating thin layers of nut and chocolate cream. Like many others, this cake is also available for delivery.
- Café Sacher Wien ǀ Hotel Sacher Wien, Philharmonikerstrasse 4, 1010 Vienna, www.sacher.com
- Café Imperial ǀ Hotel Imperial, Kärntner Ring 16, 1010 Vienna www.cafe-imperial.at, www.imperialtorte.com
- K. u. K. Hofzuckerbäcker Demel, Kohlmarkt 14, 1010 Vienna, www.demel.com
- Gerstner K. u. K. Hofzuckerbäcker, Kärntner Strasse 51, 1010 Vienna, www.gerstner-konditorei.at
- Café Central, corner of Herrengasse and Strauchgasse, 1010 Vienna, www.cafecentral.wien
- Café Sperl, Gumpendorfer Strasse 11, 1060 Vienna, www.cafesperl.at
- Café Landtmann, Universitätsring 4, 1010 Vienna, www.landtmann.at
- Kurkonditorei Oberlaa, numerous locations throughout Vienna, www.oberlaa-wien.at
Vienna Tourist Board
Tel. (+ 43 1) 211 14-364