A contemporary selection of Demel's confectionary and more, Source: Demel Imperial and Royal Confectionary

Austrian chocolatiers get UNESCO heritage label

Austrian chocolatiers get UNESCO heritage label

Some shops have stayed open for more than six generations of the same family and trace their origins to the Austro-Hungarian Empire

Yesterday, the Austrian Commission for UNESCO (ÖUK) listed traditional Austrian chocolate makers as Intangible Cultural Heritage in the national heritage register due to their years of shaping local and global confectionary practices. Many small businesses in the country can trace their practices back to the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and have passed chocolate crafts for generations in small family-owned businesses.

The Austrian Confectionary Guild has also said that all master confectionery chefs will get a heritage label that they can proudly display in their shops, as the ÖRF reports. The label will help both customers and master craftsmen distinguish themselves.

According to an official statement, the craft requires precision in execution as well as creativity and adaptation. The ingredients and the traditional processing and processing methods using a wide variety of tools have hardly changed over the centuries and have nevertheless remained contemporary in their result.

The craft of confectionery in Austria has several origins: the tradition of bakery, the aristocratic court kitchens and the large hotel kitchens. Due to the falling price of sugar since the 19th century and the growing popularity of a wide variety of pastries, the craft became widespread and anchored in Austrian (food) culture.

The Imperial traditions of Austria

Many cafes and confectionery shops in Austria still bear the k.u.k mark which stands for kaiserlich und königlich (English: imperial and royal). Oftentimes, these establishments have remained family-owned businesses, passed down through generations.

One such business is the Imperial and Royal Court Confectionery L. Heiner (k.u.k. Hofzuckerbäckerei L. Heiner). The establishment has been open since 1840 and has continued to be a family-owned business for 6 generations.

Michel Stuller, master confectioner at the L. Heiner chocolate shop invented the Kardinalschnitte, reported Wien heute, a recipe which is now a staple of local pastry shops.

Another famous pastry shop is the Demel Imperial and Royal Confectionary (K. u. K. Hofzuckerbäcker Demel), in business since 1786. This establishment is famous for preserving an authentic imperial interior in a rococo style from Portois & Fix - a famous Austrian Imperial furnishing company.

Demel’s used to supply Hofburg palace in Vienna, and Emperor Franz Josef I himself, who apparently had a sweet tooth since childhood. After the Austrian Monarchy was dismantled, the establishment’s first female owner in 1957, Anna Demel, decided to keep the traditional decoration, harkening back to a more classic period for the Austrian capital.

This has now become part of the Demel brand, which gives guests the opportunity to both taste and relive La Belle Époque.



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