We visited the Sacher hotel, home of the world famous Sacher Tort. In my mind, any establishment that has women dressed up in French maids outfits is going to suffer from unrealized heightened expectations. After all, the only place for those types of outfits in the modern world is in German art movies…the type that needs no subtitles.

Anyway, I digress. Sachertorte is a chocolate cake, invented by Franz Sacher in 1832 for Klemens Wenzel von Metternich in Vienna, Austria.It is one of the most famous Viennese culinary specialties, although I had never heard of it until educated by my gourmet companion. It is traditionally served with whipped cream without any sugar in it, as most Viennese consider the Sachertorte too “dry” to be eaten on its own.

The story of the world-famous Original Sacher-Torte began in 1832, when the all-mighty “coachman of Europe”, Wenzel Clemens Prince Metternich, ordered the creation of a particularly palatable dessert for spoiled high-ranking guests, “take care that you do NOT make me look a fool tonight”, he warned. That very day, however, the chef was ill in bed! The order was reassigned to a 16-year-old apprentice in his second year, the quick-witted chap Franz Sacher…

One thing was certain; the speciality which was finally presented to the masters and mistresses was a resounding success: a soft and fluffy chocolate cake with the tasty apricot jam under the icing. Franz certainly never forgot the great success of his ingenious idea within this exclusive circle. He spent his apprenticeship working for the Count of Esterhazy, first in Bratislava and then in Budapest. When, as a fully qualified cook, he started to work on his own account, he offered his successful composition once again, this time on a large scale. He was successful and soon the “cake by this man named Sacher” was in great demand, and the victorious career of the probably most famous of all cakes began.

His son built the Sacher hotel and 177 years later, the torte is a world famous Viennese delicacy, served in a world famous hotel. I certainly thought the tort itself was lovely. A fairly average chocolate cake, that had the added twist of a layer of apricot jam that helped moisten and elevate the torte above the ordinary.

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