Monday, April 9, 2012

I just don't get Sachertorte


We had a lovely time in Innsbruck. The weather was cold – which was good for us – and we even had some snow. We saw the Hofburg and the Schloss Ambras – which were just like any other Hofs and Schlosses I have ever seen but Cate simply cannot get enough of them so they are a must see in every place we go.

We had afternoon tea twice at the Sacher Café in the old town and I tried – for the second time in my life – the Sachertorte – the first time was in the Sacher Hotel in Vienna when we first came here.

I still don’t understand what the fuss is about. I just don’t get why it is so popular – to me it is a very average, dry chocolate cake with jam in it. Wikipedia suggests that most Viennese find the cake too dry to be eaten on its own so it is served with whipped cream. Quite. It is as dry as a bird’s bum and as far as I can tell has no redeeming features – other than that it is chocolate. (Which of course is a plus.)

Our only bad experience was the hotel  because we fell into that old trap about air conditioning. We try never to stay in hotels that are not air conditioned simply because we find the rooms too hot, stuffy and smoky.

However – we did check to see that the Grand Hotel Europa (Innsbruck’s only 5 star hotel – according to the blurb) was air conditioned.

When we got to our room it was like an oven so we turned the air conditioning on and it ran for 10 seconds and stopped.

We then attempted to have the problem rectified – without success - until our third call when we were advised that our room was not in fact air conditioned but that it was not hot outside so we could open the window.

It transpires that the air conditioning in most of the hotel was not actually turned on and the units in each room were – in effect – ornaments.

After some unhappy conversations we  were offered another room which we moved to the next morning – after a difficult night.

The whole event was rather more grisly and visceral than this – because Cate was in full Death Stare mode - but I am sparing you the sordid details as we ended up in a very nice air conditioned room and were as happy as clams.

But if you are going to Innsbruck I can assure you that you can see everything you want to in two days – and even then you will have to move really slowly and have lots of coffee breaks. 


  1. I am just glad it was Cate's fault this time with the hotel and not yours.

  2. say it ain't so on the sacher torte! ha ! although, it took me months of taking guests to the hotel sacher for sacher torte before i really appreciated it. and i also realized it didn't have much to do with the sachertorte and had much more to do with the fact that i liked lounging around the hotel sacher. and totally hear you on the AC - we must have had this argument with at least 5 different hotels. it's our view is that you can not apply for first-world status until you have air conditioning that works.

  3. I have to agree with you on the Sachertorte front... it's awful. It's so dry, and it just doesn't have enough chocolate in there to redeem itself. I've also never had a good Salzburger Nockerl in Austria either. I do have to say that any dessert with Linzer in the name has never disappointed though!

  4. I too had to go down that Sacher Torte road, I remember thinking, this is not right. You guys like cold like we like heat.

  5. are birds bums really really dry?

  6. esbboston: Yes that took some of the pressure off me.

    TNDW: As Cate said to them 'you are not a five star hotel if you don't have A/C'

    Allison: Yet people line u[ to buy it!

    fmcgmccllc: Exactly. We are missing something here.

    Simon: Of course. They keep them under their feathers.

    esb: Maybe!

  7. Thanks for the heads up re sacher torte and Innsbruck - may save my money and go somewhere else instead !!!!

    We are with you on the air con vs stuffy rooms - as you say - how can they be 5 star if they don't have aircon ?????

    Enjoy your next destination.

  8. Yeesh - Cate would be a great match for my J. Together, she and J would make any hotel or airline representative take up something safer and friendlier, (like standing in front of trains), rather than have to cope with guests like them.

    We were on a resort in the Maldives, and, due to J's persistent complaining we were branded as "sunshine guests" by the staff. That's what they call their difficult guests. Luckily, out of all of it, in the end we made a dear friend out of the Assistant Manager who actually agreed with everything that J was bitching about!

    Badger - I think that if we and you and Cate ever travelled together, you and I would be fast emptying the Jameson's bottle at whatever bar was the closest. Heck, I think that we'd be forced to carry our own supplies.

  9. actually the secret is NOT to get the "original" sachertorte, that is truely the worst, driest and bahhh cake, getting it in moste other coffe houses it'll generally be quite good and not so dry.

    airconditioning... the two of you.. it was SNOWING on the weekend????!!!!

  10. Me: Try the Esterhazy torte - much better

    nzm: Cate is formidable in full attack mode. You should always carry your own supplies of Jameson - not everyone has it.

    Rozalin: It was snowing outside but there was a heatwave in our bedroom.

  11. " a heatwave in our bedroom"... you runcible fellow!!!!

  12. I agree, I think people only appreciate sachertorte nowadays because it's priced the way it is. There are a lot of "traditional" sweets or sweets with history all over the world from when sugar was still luxury that would never have been big if it were invented today. There is nothing for me to like about it, even the chocolate coating is only a sugar paste with some chocolate added, the thing does not really taste of chocolate but is overly sweet from the jam and the coating...