Saturday, September 30th, 2023: I was promptly picked up at 12:30 pm at the Graf Zeppelin Hotel in Stuttgart and transferred to STR – Stuttgart’s Degerloch International Airport. Austrian Airlines Flight OS 184 departed promptly at 15:15 (3:15 pm) and landed an hour later in VIE – Vienna. We had a beautiful view of Salzburg and the Steiermark Mountains on the way down. The area around the Vienna Airport is populated by a forest of wind turbines giving the landscape a futuristic appearance. I was met by Lukas Pfisterer, Hans’ son and driver, in their new Tesla, to the Hotel Sacher adjacent to the renowned Vienna State Opera. I immediately set up my “office” and started to work. In the old days, when checking into a hotel, one first unpacked, perhaps went to the bathroom etc. these days, the first order of the day is: Internet access. Hans Pfisterer, our local business partner, then met me for dinner at the Sacher Bistro, sitting outside, enjoying the balmy fall evening.
The Sacher Hotel in Vienna has a fascinating history: in 1832 Prince von Metternich instructed the merely 16-year-old apprentice Franz Sacher to create a special dessert for his discerning guests. The sweet and sumptuous masterpiece was to be made with chocolate, apricot jam, and whipped cream, which became the tasty triad comprising the basis of the recipe for success that would become the Original Sacher-Torte. That very recipe remains the foundation for every Original Sacher-Torte baked by hand to this very day. Today, the Original Sacher-Torte stands out as one of Vienna’s cultural and culinary crowning symbols. Indeed, the hotel, which the son of the pioneering pâtissier opened years later, now similarly stands out as one of the most renowned hotels in the world! It is also the hotel where Dave Hatch invited my daughter Alicia and me, along with another dozen friends, in February 2009 to the legendary Vienna Opera Ball. The evening before we met Dr. Wolfgang Porsche at the Rote Bar. After meeting Dave, he said to him “Er ist ein kluger Mann!” It truly was an amazing, once in a lifetime, event. Thank you, Dave, for your generosity and the wonderful memories.