Reader Herman S. weighs in from Belgium:
Could it be that the dryness problem is also a cultural issue? Indeed the advent of American coca cola started a proces by which European drinkers, or at least the Belgian ones, want sweeter beers. And thus, more and more old Belgian beers are now ‘restyled’ and become much less acid and much sweeter (the coastal Flanders where I come from had a tradition of more sour beers, that is probably why I adapted easily to the acid Geuze beers here near Brussels). Probably for modern (Americanised?) taste your sweet and moist approach to the Sacher Torte is OK for the modern (Americanised?) taste . However, Gerhardt has my sympathy, but for a dinnerparty your recipe is great.
Is it really true that sweet Belgian beers were inspired by Coke? Amazing. I think the only real difference between my recipe and the classic is the sweeter glaze, but your point is well taken, Herman. Changing standards no doubt play an important role in how Sacher torte is perceived. That’s not the fault of the torte, of course, nor the bakers who adhere so stubbornly (and in my view, admirably) to the old traditions.
UPDATE: Reader Michael adds:
I doubt Coca Cola had any influence on the sweetening of beers – Lambic beers have been getting sweeter for going on 500 years now and Coca cola wasn’t invented until 1886. There is a tendency towards Faros showing up in the market place. Faros are lambics with extra sweetening and herbs added, traditionally to cover up the use of poorer quality water. But Faros have been around longer than Coca Cola, by at least 20 years, from what I can find. But there are also several traditional lambic beers that tend to be rather sweet and those recipes have been around for 300 or 400 years.
Wow. You know Michael, the URL “joebeer.com” is actually available.