Here at Xtrawine, our goal is to make your culinary experience as pleasurable as possible. After all, food and wine plays an enormous part in our lives. With the right pairings, you create an experience that is completely beyond anything that you might expect.
Get the pairing wrong, though, and you end up with a ruined meal. Your Italian wine may overpower the food that you’re eating, or the food may be so rich that a milder wine has absolutely no chance of complementing it properly.
And that brings us handily around to the subject of today’s article. If you’ve ever had the privilege of eating Sacher Torte, you know just how rich this beautiful dessert can be.
But what you may not know is that the confection has something of a colourful history behind it. With this article, we’re going to take a bit of a look at that history before coming up with a few wine suggestions that we think goes particularly well with it.
What is Sacher Torte?
There are some who claim that the humble Sacher Torte is one of the more controversial deserts in the culinary annals.
But why is that? How can a fairly simple cake create any sort of controversy?
To understand that, we need to look into its history.
The story of the dessert goes all the way back to 1832. That’s when Austria’s Prince Metternich decided that he needed his kitchen to create a brand new dessert the likes of which had never been made before. He had visitors arriving to his court and he wanted to make a good impression.
But there was a problem. The court’s pastry chef was ill and hadn’t arrived at the kitchen that day.
The task of creating this dessert fell to his apprentice – Franz Sacher.
Sacher decided that he should keep things simple rather than try to reinvent the wheel. A layer of apricot jam between a couple of chocolate cake rounds made up the base of the cake.
A layer of chocolate over the whole thing followed, and you had the first Sacher Torte.
The cake was a revelation and Sacher garnered international acclaim for his recipe. All of Europe wanted to get their hands on his cake. 40 years after that first Sacher Torte, Franz’s son Eduard even opened a hotel that carried the family name. Naturally, this hotel served the famous Sacher Torte and is still regarded as the best place to get it.
And that’s where the controversies started arising. Such a popular dessert will never find itself restricted to just one place for very long. In no time at all, the Sacher Torte spread throughout Europe and a slew of imitators laid claim to the cake.
Some of these competitors went as far as to claim that they were the only people who could advertise the serving of original Sacher Torte cake. Legal battles followed that lasted for many years.
Finally, Eduard’s hotel won the right to call its Sacher Torte the original. Many would argue that it should always have had the right too. But that didn’t stop the imitators. You can still find examples of Sacher Torte all over Vienna and Europe.
But there’s only one place that serves the original recipe.
Still, it’s such a popular dessert that you’re sure to find versions of it in stores all over Europe. You may even feel inspired to make one yourself, if you’re feeling particularly brave (and don’t try to claim that it’s the original).
And that brings us to our main question. Once you have a Sacher Torte on your plate, what wine should you drink with it. Here are a few that we recommend.
Champagne or Prosecco
While Sacher Torte is a fairly rich dessert, the use of apricot for the filling does lend it an interesting texture that sets it apart from other chocolate cakes. It is also perhaps this texture that means that Sacher Torte works surprisingly well with most sparkling white wines.
Prosecco makes a good complement to Sacher Torte as its sharpness helps to balance out the richness in the cake. It also meshes well with the fruitiness of the filling.
However, many Sacher Torte aficionados will tell you that Champagne is the best sparkling white to drink with the dessert. The extra layers of depth that it offers bring out the best in the confection.
Still, as a general rule, you can’t go too far wrong with a sparkling white wine when you’re eating Sacher Torte.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to avoid really deep Italian red wines. This is because they have the potential to overpower the Sacher Torte entirely.
But that’s not the case with Amarone. This smooth and fruity Italian red wine seems to meld perfectly with the flavours of the cake to create an experience that’s completely different to the one that you get when you choose a sparkling white wine.
Naturally, there are plenty of great examples of Amarone on the Xtrawine website. We’d recommend it for red wine lovers who perhaps don’t appreciate the sharpness that a sparkling white brings to the table.
A white wine made primarily of using the Sauvignon Blanc takes up the final space on our list.
We recommend choosing a dry variety of the wine. It’s also an excellent choice for those who decided to use dark chocolate, rather than milk chocolate, when making their Sacher Torte.
These types of wines also meld well with the apricot filling. As such, they can take a touch of the richness away from the chocolate while complementing the fruitiness of the cake.
The Final Word
It’s often difficult to pair wines with desserts due to the wide varieties of flavours you’ll find in many desserts. A combination of richness and fruitiness can make things difficult. With these pairings, you’ll enjoy your Sacher Torte with a wine that works well.