Sacher-torte Turns 175

Austria's most distinguished cake celebrated its 175th birthday on Thursday with a special party in central Vienna. The sacher-torte, originally launched in 1832, has won thousands of aficionados across the globe, as well as prompting a fair amount of skullduggery in the confectionery world itself.

For many years the Hotel Sacher was locked in a feud with Imperial confectioners Demel over who had the right to sell the 'Original Sacher-torte.'But such travails were far from the minds of party-goers on Thursday as they toasted the torte atop the Hotel Sacher. Head confectioner Alfred Buxbaum glowed with pride as a gargantuan cake was cut. He knocks out over 300,000 a year, many of which are posted to sweet-toothed devotees in America, England and Japan.

Spanish opera-singer Monserrat Caballe provided some suitably grand sounds for the gathering, before tucking into a portion of the venerable cake herself.

"Calories don't exist" she jested with fellow partiers.

Legend holds that the sacher-torte was initially born in the household of Prince Metternich. The 'Iron Chancellor' was hosting a banquet, yet right at the last minute the head chef fell ill. Metternich was not the kind of chap you got on the wrong side of, so the staff were not in the best of moods. Into the spotlight stepped a young apprentice called Franz Sacher. He whipped up the chocolate and apricot marvel, and the rest is history.

Today, the Hotel Sacher is no longer in the hands of the Sacher family, but it maintains a reputation as one of the best bets for accommodation in Vienna. And suffice it to say, the recipe for the sacher-torte remains a closely guarded secret.


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