Part I: My Dad’s Time in Vienna
When I was 3, my dad went to Vienna for five days to give two talks. When I asked him to tell me about it, he said that since he was suffering from jet lag, he was pretty much only awake during the night, so he would go out at night, rent a bicycle, and bike around Vienna all night. In Austria, bicycles are much more common, so there’s actually a separate street for bicycles, not just another lane like in the United States. I thought that this was very interesting and I wished that this could be true in the U.S.
Also, I am one eighth Austrian through my paternal grandfather’s mother, so my family has lots of connections with Austria.
Part II: My Dad’s Great-Grandpa, Jeweler
My dad’s great-grandfather, Andor, was a jeweler. He lived in Vienna. One day, in 1911, he caught the local butcher messing around with his motorcycle. He got so angry that he shot the butcher, but not fatally. After doing so, he decided that it would probably be a good idea to flee the country, since the police were after him by then.
Andor went to Ellis Island, and was eventually able to bring his wife and children there as well. They moved to Brooklyn, and my family on my dad’s side has lived in New York ever since.
POINT OF THE STORY: I am the descendant of an Austrian immigrant. (My family definitely has a lot of connections with Austria!)
Part III: Sacher Tortes and Hotels
There is a hotel called Hotel Sacher. It is a normal hotel, but also is a tourist attraction. This is because the bakers that worked at Hotel Sacher invented a new kind of pastry called a Sachertorte, but we’ll get back to that later.
Anyway, the hotel is still a normal hotel that functions as a hotel, but is very expensive. Nevertheless, my maternal grandparents have been there twice, each time sending a Sachertorte to her in the mail.
The Sachertorte has become a classic Austrian dessert, and Hotel Sacher has become famous. But what is a Sachertorte?
A Sachertorte is a chocolate layer cake, with apricot purée for filling, and more apricot purée on top of the cake, underneath the chocolate ganache icing.
I have Sachertorte cupcakes for everyone, including Mrs. Jones and me!