Sachertorte from the Hotel Sacher, Vienna - wikipedia.org
Sachertorte (German pronunciation: [ˈzɑxərˌtɔrtə];Austro-Bavarian: de Sacher-Tuatn [ˈsɑxəˌtuətn]) 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. The Original Sachertorte is only made in Vienna and Salzburg, and is shipped from both locations. The only place where the Original Sacher Torte is available outside of Austria is in the Sacher shop of Bolzano, Italy.
Recipes similar to that of the Sacher Torte appeared as early as the eighteenth century, one instance being in the 1718 cookbook of Conrad Hagger, another in Gartler-Hickmann's 1749 Tried and True Viennese Cookbook (Wienerischem bewahrtem Kochbuch).
The real history of the Sacher Torte begins, however, in 1832, when Prince Metternich charged his personal chef with creating a special dessert for several important guests. The head chef having taken ill, the task fell to the sixteen-year-old Franz Sacher, then an apprentice in his second year of training in Metternich's kitchen, to whom to Prince is reported to have declared, "Let there be no shame on me tonight!" While the torte created by Sacher on this occasion is said to have delighted Metternich's guests, the dessert received no immediate further attention. Sacher completed his training as a chef and afterward spent time in Pressburg and Budapest, ultimately settling in his hometown of Vienna where he opened an upper class delicatessen and winery.
Sacher's eldest son Eduard carried on his father's culinary legacy, completing his own training in Vienna with the Royal and Imperial Pastry Chef at the Demel bakery and chocolatier, during which time he perfected his father's recipe and developed the torte into its current form. The cake was first served at the Demel and later at the Hotel Sacher, established by Eduard in 1876. Since then, the cake has numbered amongst the most famous of Vienna's culinary specialties.
In the early decades of the twentieth century, a legal battle over the use of the label "The Original Sacher Torte" developed between the Hotel Sacher and the Demel bakery. Eduard Sacher had completed his recipe of the Sacher Torte in his time at Demel, which was the first establishment to offer the "Original" cake. Following the death of Eduard's widow Anna in 1930 and the bankruptcy of the Hotel Sacher in 1934, Eduard Sacher's son (also named Eduard Sacher) found employment at Demel and brought to the bakery the sole distribution right for an Eduard-Sacher-Torte.
The first differences of opinion arose in 1938, when the new owners of the Hotel Sacher began to sell Sacher Tortes from vendor carts under the trademarked name "The Original Sacher Torte." After interruptions brought about by the Second World War and the ensuing Allied occupation, the hotel owners sued Demel in 1954, with the hotel asserting its trademark rights and the bakery claiming that it had developed and bought the title "Original Sacher Torte."
Over the next seven years, both parties waged an intense legal war over several of the dessert's specific characteristics, including the change of the name, the second layer of marmalade in the middle of the cake, and the substitution of margarine for butter in the baking of the cake. The author Friedrich Torberg, who was a frequent guest at both establishments, served as a witness during this process and testified that, during the lifetime of Anna Sacher, the cake was never covered with marmalade or cut through the middle. In 1963 both parties agreed on an out of court settlement that gave the Hotel Sacher the rights to the phrase "The Original Sachertorte" and gave the Demel the rights to decorate its tortes with a triangular seal that reads Eduard-Sacher-Torte. In the years since 1963, Demel's cake (known officially as "Demel's Sacher Torte") has come to be known as the "true" version of the dessert.
The cake consists of two layers of dense, not overly sweet chocolate cake (traditionally a sponge cake) with a thin layer of apricot jam in the middle and dark chocolate icing on the top and sides. It is traditionally served with whipped cream without any sugar in it (Standard German: Schlagsahne, Austrian Standard German: das (Schlag)Obers, der (Schlag)Rahm), as most Viennese consider the Sachertorte too "dry" to be eaten on its own.
The crucial differences between the "Original" Sacher Torte and "Demel's Sacher Torte" arise from each institution's treatment of the cake's distinctive layers of conserve. The Hotel Sacher's torte exhibits two separate layers of apricot-flavored preserve between the outer layer of chocolate icing and the biscuit base while Demel's cake has only one.
There are various recipes attempting to copy the "Original", and some may be found below. For example, at the cultural event "Graz-Kulturhauptstadt 2003", the "Sacher-Masoch-Torte" was presented (its name alluding to Leopold von Sacher-Masoch), a cake unique in that it uses redcurrant jam and marzipan. Sachertorte is made up of chocolate, nuts, apricot, butter, eggs and sugar.
Production and Sale of the "Original Sacher Torte"
The "Original Sacher Torte" is available exclusively at the Vienna and Salzburg locations of the Hotel Sacher, at the Cafes Sacher in Innsbruck and Graz, at the Sacher Shop in Bozen, in the Duty Free area of the Vienna airport and via the web at the Hotel Sacher's online shop.
The recipe of the Hotel Sacher's version of the cake is a closely-guarded secret. Those privy to it claim that the secret to the Sacher Torte's desirability lies not in the ingredients of the cake itself, but rather those of the chocolate icing. According to widely available information, the icing consists of three special types of chocolate, which are produced exclusively by different manufacturers for this sole purpose. The hotel obtains these products from Lubeck and Belgium.