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At the beginning of this week, there was this mysterious Holzdose (wooden box) on the Küchentisch (kitchen table) at work. A decorated S crowned the words Hotel Sacher, written in Schönschrift (calligraphic writing). Located in WIEN, as the box revealed. A Siegel (seal) underneath told me what’s inside: Original Sacher Torte, it said, again in Schönschrift. You wonder what that is? Soft, chocolatey crumbles, a perfectly sweet chocolate glazing, and a hint of fruit… Add some whipped cream, and you have the perfect combination!
So that’s exciting! An original Sachertorte, just lying around at work! Lucky day for me. But what does that mean, Sacher? It is not a real German word. And what does “original” mean here? Let’s find out.
The story of the Sachertorte (Sacher pie) starts in 1832, when Fürst Metternich (Prince Metternich) ordered his Hofküche (court kitchen) to make a special dessert for high-ranking guests. However, the chef of the kitchen was sick that day, and so second-year apprentice chef Franz Sacher had to do the job. He then created the basis for the Sachertorte as we know it today. He was only 16 years old at the time! Even though the guests liked what they had, the dessert wasn’t given any more attention for some time.
Sacher’s oldest son Eduard was learning at Hofzuckerbäckerei Demel (court confectionery Demel), and perfected the recipe during his time there. First, this Sachertorte was offered only at Demel. Later in 1876, however, Eduard opened a hotel, called Hotel Sacher, which was then also selling the pie.
Both started selling the Original Sachertorte – which led to decades of legal dispute over who could sell the original! In 1963, they reached an agreement: Hotel Sacher could sell the Original Sachertorte, while Demel could offer an Eduard-Sachertorte. The latter is also known as Demel’s Sachertorte. So Sachertorte refers to the family name Sacher, while Original just refers to the one sold at Hotel Sacher.
A Sachertorte consists of Sachermasse (Sacher mass), a Teig (dough) that consists of flour, eggs, butter, sugar and chocolate. It is baked, covered with Marillenmarmelade (apricot marmalade), which serves as glue for the Schokoladenglasur (chocolate glazing), which tops it off. Sometimes, the cake is halved first to add another layer of marmalade in the middle. Served with Schlagsahne (whipped cream), it is a real delicacy! See in the video above a recipe, so you can make your own!
By the way, the only differece between the Sachertorten offered at both places above is that the one at Hotel Sacher is halved and a second layer of Marillenmarmelade (apricot marmalade) is added, while the one at Demel only has marmalade on top underneath the Schokoladenglasur (chocolate glazing).
Hotel Sacher still makes all pies by hand with 21 Konditoren (confectioners) and 25 packers. They make 360,000 Torten a year! Because they are all handmade, this means that a confectioner opens 7,500 eggs a day. Shout out to them!
They also managed to make the world’s largest Sachertorte last December!
Have you had Sachertorte before? Would you like to try it? Let me know in the comments below!