Sachertorte and Coffee Experience

Vienna and Sacher Torte are bit synonyms for many people: going to Vienna means eating Sacher!

Since 1832 the Sachertorte has been the most famous cake in the world. Conceived through pure serendipity when statesman Prince Metternich was hosting a dinner party, the story goes that he wanted a fabulous dessert to serve his guests. However, his chef had fallen ill and so the task of concocting the dessert was given to the chef’s apprentice, Franz Sacherand. That evening he served up his Sachertorte – a soft, fluffy chocolate cake with apricot jam beneath the icing. The dessert was met with great approval by Metternich’s guests. Some years later Sacherand offered his successful experiment to the public once again but this time on a much larger scale. Again, his delicious dessert was met with sweeping approval and the career of the most famous of all chocolate cakes truly began. The original Sachertorte is the one made in the hotel opened by Franz’s son Eduard, the Sacher Hotel in Vienna. The hotel’s coffee shop is still a popular hangout for aristocrats, politicians and the business community.

And coffee shops in Vienna do have a long secular tradition. Someone once said that the main indoor sport played by Austrians is drinking coffee. This habit originated in 1683, when defeated near Vienna the Turks left some sacks containing coffee beans on the battlefield during their retreat. A Polish officer, Kolschitzky, who knew Turkish customs explained to the Austrians how to make use of the curious dark beans. Turks used to prepare a dark and aromatic drink from the powder of these mysterious beans and they would drink t several times a day. Grateful for his knowledge, Vienna gave Kolschitzky a place that became the city’s first coffee shop.

Since that time many coffee shops have appeared. People met there not just to drink coffee but also to read the newspapers, meet friends and enjoy good conversations. Famous composers such as Johann Strauss would play his new pieces inside coffee shops, and at the beginning of the 19th century the coffee shop became a favorite hangout for artists and writers. For the common people the coffee shop became an extension of their living room and the art of wasting time joined the existing traditions of Vienna.

Whatever the reasons why citizens of Vienna frequent their cafes, they have a benefit: the coffee shop is like an elixir for longevity. The longer you stay, the better you will feel!.

Czech Beer Experience

While beer is considered the national drink in the Czech Republic, its fame is rather international. Who never heard of or drank a Pilsner or Budweiser? A tour along the Beer Route will let you experience this country from a different point of view; let’s say…though a glass beer mug!

The Czech Republic is a foaming country: this is the place where beer rivers have been flowing for centuries. More than just a manner of speaking, the Czechs have been making and drinking beer since time immemorial. Chronicles establish the cultivation of hops in Bohemia since 859, while the first evidence of their export dates back to 903. Here beer brewing has indeed a long and ancient history. The first Czech brewery was built at Cerhenice in 1118 and during the Renaissance the Czech beer industry achieved its worldwide fame. However, the real turning point occurred in 1842 when the brewery in the city of Plzen created and gave its name to the most common quality beer, the pilsner. At the time all other beer blends had a copper or dark brown color, making the new pilsner stand out for its very different bright brass color. Heightening its appreciation as clear glass replaced traditional mugs made from opaque materials such as pewter or earthenware, the light color of the pilsner was a key to its success and soon let to it becoming a new favorite.

You can begin your beer tour by starting at the U Fleku brewery in Prague where you will enjoy only typical dark beers surrounded by a setting of wooden ceilings, sumptuous chandeliers and antique furniture. However, you will encounter the true realm of beer in Bohemia when you visit the central and southern areas that for beer lovers are equivalent to Bordeaux for fine wine connoisseur.

If you are interested in learning about the history of the famous Pilsner Urquell you do not want to miss a visit to the renowned brewery and the associated Brewery Museum with its complex labyrinth of corridors and cellars. Travel south from there and reach the town of Ceske Budejovice. Perhaps the name has no meaning to you, yet this is the homeland of the Budweiser Beer.

Even in the Czech Republic beer means refreshment and party, but for the Czechs the enjoyment of beer is especially infused with tradition, culture and history.