The Chocolate Room
In “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl, the lucky winners of the golden tickets are given a guided tour of the factory, starting off in the Chocolate Room. Mr Wonka shows them the chocolate river and all the edible grass and flowers. Then poor old Augustus Gloop gets down on his hands and knees to lap up the chocolate from the chocolate river, and, perhaps predictably, falls in. What surprises the onlookers is that he gets sucked up a great glass pipe and away to where Mr Wonka’s Oompa Loompas would be making some strawberry coated fudge. His mother is alarmed, whereas Mr Wonka is unfazed, apart from a momentary concern about the flavour of his confectionery.
Salzburg was a Chocolate Room for me. Everything, as far as the eye could see, was edible, as the diet starts in “No-vember”. Sachertorte waited at the end of the chocolate rainbow, waiting until I had dispatched the other must-eats of the trip. One of the must-eats was apple strudel. I got the opportunity to eat some during a stop on the “Sound of Music” Tour.
Our guide was vaguely reminiscent of Willy Wonka. Not that anyone got sucked up a pipe. Brisk and quirky. And funny. But it was all in the delivery. I don’t think the jokes would transfer into prose. Too much reliance on intonation.
One stop on the tour was in the town of Mondsee where the wedding scene in “The Sound of Music” was shot.
Augustus Gloop came to mind when we parked in Mondsee, the guide told us, “The bus will be leaving this car park in one hour. If you are not back in time, have a pleasant evening. In Mondsee.” Learning from the experience of young Master Gloop, I resolved not to have my nose in a trough of chocolate at the departure time. So we inhaled the apple strudel and made it back to the bus on time. Phew.
But still we had the Sachertorte to look forward to. And at the very thought of Sachertorte, Sue Perkins appeared! I managed to resist the temptation to rush up, claim to be the biggest “Great British Bake Off” fan in the world and say, “Love your work.” I thought I might run into her at Cafe Sacher over a big slice of cake, for another re-enactment of the Bruce Bogtrotter moment in “Matilda”. But no. However, I fully expect to see her in a Von Trapp-centric TV show in the future. Or a show comparing Mary Berry’s Sachertorte with the “Original”.
Sadly, the Sachertorte was disappointing. Not the glistening-ganache calorific chocolate-fest I was anticipating. But it was ok. Kind of. But when in Salzburg, you have to go for Sachertorte. It’s like being in Largs: you have to go to Nardini’s. All part of the experience. Even if it is a bit… anachronistic.
Back in Scotland, I have closed the door to the Chocolate Room. In December, when it is near enough Christmas to re-open it, I intend to make my own Sachertorte and hope that it glistens. And without a hint of the flavour of Augustus Gloop.