Taste the Sachertorte, an emblematic Viennese pastry

It would be a crime to go without a good coffee and pastry in Austria's capital. Elegant and convivial at the same time, cafés are a way of life not to be missed, especially in Vienna. As for pastries, they were created almost 200 years ago, and are still as delicious as ever. The best pastry houses vied with each other in creativity to seduce the imperial court. Strudel and Kaiserschmarren emerged from these never-ending gastronomic battles. Even today, the city's two prestigious patisseries, Demel and Sacher, offer two competing versions of the famous Sachertorte (Torte meaning cake in German). So why not sample the fruit of this age-old rivalry? All the more so as a visit to the Café Sacher is like diving into the history of Vienna and its gastronomy. One of the reasons so many desserts were invented in Austria was that diplomatic agreements between politicians were often made at the end of the meal. So you had to seduce your eminent guests at that moment!

Piece of Sacher pie in Vienna with a cup of tea on a white background.

- © Anastasia Voskresenskaya / Shutterstock

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Café Sacher, a place steeped in history and delicacies

A classic among Vienna's famous cafés, along the "Ringstrasse" (the circular boulevard), Café Sacher Wien once conquered the world with its famous Sacher cake, nicknamed "the Habsburg Bavarian". In an authentic and luxurious setting, you can enjoy this typical Viennese chocolate dessert.

The Sacher Cafe at the Hotel Sacher in Vienna, Austria.

- © Inspired By Maps / Shutterstock

The creation of this famous cake was a matter of chance. The Prince of Metternich, an Austrian diplomat and lover of good food, liked to make diplomatic deals at the end of a meal. He would therefore ask his pastry chef to create exceptional desserts to end on a sweet note and encourage his high-ranking guests to finish the meal on a high note.

In 1832, for a particularly important dinner, he ordered a new chocolate cake, but his chef unfortunately fell ill. The task eventually fell to Franz Sacher, a young 16-year-old apprentice pastry chef, who created a cake in which the weight of the chocolate was matched by that of the flour, to make it creamier. He had another brilliant idea: to fill the sponge cake with apricot marmalade.

Sachertorte, the famous Austrian dessert.

- © Sergey-73 / Shutterstock

In 1848, Edouard Sacher, the son of the cake's inventor and trained by Chef Demel, founded the Hotel Sacher. Today, the famous chocolate tart is still eaten following Franz Sacher's recipe, with a generous dollop of (unsweetened) whipped cream added for those with a sweet tooth. Head for Nirvana!

Practical info

📍 Address: 4 rue Philharmoniker, 1010 Vienna, Austria

⏰ Times: every day from 10am to 8pm, except 24/12, 25/12 and 31/12 when the café is open from 10am to 6pm

👉 Booking: as this is a very popular address in the Austrian capital, it's best to book your table on the website.

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Did you know?

The famous Viennese cake even has its own film. Sachertorte features an all-Austrian cast in a tasty romantic comedy. The film tells the love story of a Berliner who falls head over heels for a Viennese woman. He knows virtually nothing about the young woman, only that she spends her birthday at the Café Sacher every year. The sumptuous Hotel Sacher comes into view.

The Demel confectionery revisits the Sachertorte

To understand the culinary rivalries that raged in the city, you need to visit the Demel confectionery. The 200-year-old shop of the former court confectioner was a favourite meeting place during the imperial era.

Specialising in frozen desserts before extending its expertise to traditional pastries, Demel served breakfast in Sissi's flats. Cat's tongue, macaroons and marzipan, Morello cherry granita, Liège coffee and violet ice creamwere just some of the delicacies the Empress enjoyed.

The rivalry between the Sacher family and Demel began a few years after the opening of the Hotel Sacher, when the question of ownership of the recipe for the famous dessert arose. And for a simple reason, the grandson of hotelier Franz Sacher sold the original recipe to Demel.

This dispute left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Viennese and divided the population into two camps. The Austrian Supreme Court put an end to the controversy by attributing the original recipe to the Sacher family.

Sign for the famous confectioner Demel in Vienna, Austria.

- © Rostislav Ageev / Shutterstock

Everyone had their own opinion on the matter, and even today, tastes are divided. All the more so since Demel has slightly modified the recipe: the house puts the marmalade on top, just before the icing. So go and make up your own mind, by tasting the two versions!

Practical info

📍 Address: 14 KOHLMARKT, 1010 Vienna

Opening times: daily from 10am to 7pm

👉 Booking: this tearoom does not take bookings.

by Editorial Team
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