Viennese Sacher Torte, the city's renowned chocolate confec tion, was created by 16-year-old Franz Sacher in 1832. At the time, Sacher was studying as a pastry apprentice under the head chef for Vienna's Prince Metternich. The prince, hoping to impress his guests, commissioned the head chef to make a new pastry of exceptional sweetness. However, the head chef fell ill, and Sacher was forced to take the reigns. The result became an instant sensa tion the world over.
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The dessert itself is an airy cake with an apricot jam filling, coated in a creamy chocolate glaze. Cafes all over Vienna serve the dessert, generally with a side of Schlagobers (unsweetened whipped cream). Legal battles have ensued over claims to the authentic version; Demel Kondi- torei, one of Vienna's leading pastry houses, claims that the Sacher family sold them the rec ipe-. However, the Original Sacher-Torte is made only at the Hotel Sacher, which was founded in 1876 by Franz's son Eduard. The hotel makes around 270, 000 Sacher Torten each year, always by hand, from a recipe they claim is still a tighly-guarded secret. Thankfully, the cake can be stored for relatively long periods of time (some even say it gets better with age), allowing the famous pastry to be shipped all over the world.
Cafe Hawelka, I, Dorotheerg. 6, off Graben. Well-worn and glorious. Josephine and Leopold Hawelka put this legendary cafe on the map in 1939. Today, at 90 and 92 years respectively, they still make a mean Buchteln (bohemian doughnut with plum marmelade; fresh at 10pm; ‚3). Open M and W-Sa 8am-2am, Su 4pm- 2am.
Hotel Sacher, I, Philharmonikerstr. 4, behind the opera. This historic site has served world-famous Sachertorte for years. Cafe open daily llam-ll: 30pm. Bakery open daily 9am-ll: 30pm. AmEx/MC/V.
Cafe Museum, I, Operng. 7, near the opera. Built in 1899 by Adolf Loos in a plain, spacious style with strik ing curves, this cafe attracts a mixed bag of artists, law yers, students, and chess players. Exceptional coffees (‚2. 50-8). Open daily 8am-midnight.
Cafe Braunerhof, I, Stallburgg. 2. A delightful cafe in a small alley near the Hofburgwith an excellent selection of newspapers. Bread, cheese and cold cuts, and Aus trian salads (‚5-10). Melange ‚3. Open M-F 7:30am- 8:30pm, Sa 7:30am-6pm, Su 10am-6pm.
Berg das Cafe, IX, Bergg. 8. Take U2 to Schottentor, and take a right off Wahringerstr. Onto Bergg. Casual cafe by day and super-swank gay bar by night, this place is always crowded. Wonderful food, desserts, and music in a relaxed atmosphere. It recently merged with nearby gay and lesbian bookstore Das Lowenherz, so you can browse while you drink your Melange (‚2. 40). Open lOam-lam.
Cafe Stein, IX, Wahringerstr. 6, near Schottentor. Inti mate, lively, and hip. At night DJs spin. Breakfast until 8pm. Open M-Sa 7am-lam, Su 9am-lam.