A Musement staffer heads to Vienna and ranks her three favorite Sachertorte in the city.
For me, desserts are a very serious matter. So, when I heard my Viennese host saying “I don’t understand why everyone is making such a fuss about the Sacher, it’s just a chocolate cake”, I was left utterly speechless. As the proud owner of a sweet tooth, for me, Sacher is the true Queen of Cakes. I fully share Italian film director and actor Nanni Moretti’s enthusiasm for Sachertorte–he even named his production company after the famous Viennese cake.
When I said that I went to Vienna just to get a taste of the original Sachertorte, I wasn’t joking at all. So, here’s the top three of what, in my opinion, are the best Sachertorte in Vienna: those that I enjoyed the most among the myriad slices I tasted during my trip to the city.
If you have any other suggestions for where to enjoy Sachertorte, leave a comment–I’ll be sure to try them on my next trip.
1. The Sachertorte at Hotel Sacher
There’s no point in nitpicking about or thumbing one’s nose at the most popular choice: the Sachertorte at the Hotel Sacher is the most delicious one I tasted in Vienna, and thus, most likely, is also the best in the world. This is where this cake was born, so the artisans at the Hotel Sacher definitely know their stuff. Of course, I realize there are some things about the experience of getting a Sachertorte at the Hotel Sacher that can be off-putting. First of all, it’s very, very likely (did I say ‘very’?) that you’ll have to stand in line (often a very long one), and this by itself takes away a bit of the magic, because, while it’s true that waiting only increases the pleasure, standing in line for hours to eat a slice of cake only makes you hungrier and hungrier–to the point of hysteria. Second, you get the impression that you’re in the most touristy spot in the world, whether in the main hall of the hotel, in the cafeteria or in the adjacent shop (where the line is much smaller and you can reach your goal in just minutes). All this, however, doesn’t detract at all from the fact that the Sacher itself—the only worthy object of our attention and our love—is really incredible: the apricot jam is not too sweet, as it is balanced by the moist and buttery chocolate base, and the chocolate coating is not too thick, adding a perfect texture to every slice.
2. The Sachertorte at Aida
The silver medal goes to the Sachertorte at Aida, a chain of historical patisseries where you can breathe the ancient atmosphere of the pastry shops of yesteryear. The counter of lavish desserts is a feast for the eyes: Black Forest cake, strudel, Aida cake (a cake with countless layers of chocolate mousse), the Mozart cake with sweet cream and marzipan, the Biedermeier cake (tried it, it was a delicious harmony of different textures and flavors), and then the queen herself: Sacher. Aida’s is a bit drier than Hotel Sacher’s, but the chocolate glazing and the apricot jam (which is plentiful, both at the center and right under the surface of the glazing) are particularly delicious.
3. The Sachertorte at Café Sperl
Café Sperl, one of Vienna’s most iconic coffee houses, is not only a place to relax with a newspaper or play a game of pool, immersed in the ancient elegant and intellectual atmosphere that distinguishes a number of Viennese cafes. It is also the perfect place for a great dinner, one that should be concluded with a slice of Sacher. The Sacher at Café Sperl earns a well-deserved place in this (admittedly highly personal) top three list, with a respectable bronze medal: it’s the richest Sacher out of all of them, as the apricot jam literally overflows and bubbles up as it escapes from its chocolatey prison. Many profess to dislike this feature, because, they say, this makes the Sacher “too sweet”. However, we all know that “too sweet” is a meaningless thing to say, especially when it comes to Austrian pastry. For a bit of variation on our theme: I recommend you also try the apple strudel, as it is truly spectacular, not to mention that they serve it with a bucketload of whipped cream.