Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Der Demel | Great Sachertorte Taste Near Hofburg Palace.

Der Demel is undoubtedly a superb historic symbol in its kind of the stunning Vienna and an appropriate place to enjoy a great  Sachertorte taste near Hofburg Palace, the most majestic and emblematic building erected during the times of the former Imperial House of Habsburg, glitzy, imposing seat of a famous former iconic central European Royalty which wrote relevant pages of history until the early 20th century.

Established along one of the most stylish and famed streets of the stunning Austrian Capital called Kohlmarkt, concretely at the civic number 14, among the most frequented arteries during the period closely related to a marked joie de vivre between the 18th and 19th centuries when it was inhabited by the highest aristocratic social class.

That appealing hallway was since then one of the most refined European urban lounges while today it is well known to be among the most celebrated chic shopping hubs of that marvellous metropolis in the heart of Europe.

The spectacular environment where that site is located in addition consists in a metropolitan area packed by elegant palaces highlighted by an impeccable architectural image visible in several fine decorated details inserted in scenic layouts lining that captivating axis reminiscent in its kind the nostalgic Viennese era of the golden ages.

The city in that time saw as protagonists emblematic architects as Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, Johann Bernhard Fischer von Herlach, Giacomo Quarenghi and Anton Erhard Martinelli who started to inspire generations of artists who embellished that metropolitan environment  with that stylish profile boasting a very marked grandeur you can admire nowadays.

 You are there in the heart of the most shining and tempting Vienna next to the famous Herengasse, a famed boulevard which was one of the favourite promenade of the  aristocracy just one step from the notorious Wiener Borse, the Stock Exchange, symbol of the national business and finance elevated in a very strategic point of high reference in the middle of the monumental grid of the municipality.

Der Demel is in addition just 200, 0 metres walking from the magnificent Stephenplatz that fabulous square on which lies the imposing and stunning St. Stephen Domkirche, that wonderful Cathedral superb and charismatic emblem of the finest Austrian architecture in brief a perfect setting in which since the 18th century the nobility started to have the habit to stop in places like that in which was in vogue the tradition to taste a delicious slice of cake.

Furthermore the proximity of magnificent huge parks and gardens such as the emblematic Volksgarten and Burggarten representing the most charming vast green lungs created in the urban core of one of the most appealing cities of the continent is certainly an additional appealing accent of resonance inviting many visitors to enjoy a stop in that place surrounded by all those magnificent attractions.

Hosted in a beautiful, elegant building showing the most refined Baroque style, Hofzuckerbäckerei Demel, simply known with that abbreviation “Der Demel” developed there its notorious, busy activity becoming an indisputable emblem reaching a considerable fame all around the country and abroad too.
That sort of landmark was since its inception notable part of the history of the city, it is not a monument dedicated to the Emperor Franz Josef, Mozart or Strauss, those famed characters who elevated the prestige with many other prominent figures of one the most fascinating centres in the world have monuments in other corners of that stupendous metropolis but Der Demel is in its kind a monumental pillar of the finest Viennese Hospitality and Catering Industry.

That extremely famous chocolate cake, well known as Sachertorte, one of the most distinctive gastronomic products of the superb Austrian culinary traditions was according to a historic version born and prepared in that famed establishment.

Another one said it was invented by Franz Sacher, a confectioner who prepared it in 1832 for the Prince Wenzel von Metternich who served the former Empire as Foreign Minister also becoming 1st State Chancellor of the Habsburg Monarchy.

Despite those historic debates that sweet masterpiece made with two layers of apricot jam between the outer layer of dark chocolate icing with a sponge base which delight the taste of a multitude of people worldwide elevated that company as a legend, a more than appropriate title also considering the date of its foundation corresponding to the year 1786.

Highly interesting is the history of Der Demel, the founder, manager and owner  was originally Ludwig Dehne who opened his activity in Michaelerplatz, a stunning square in the heart of the Innerstadt, the historic core of the city well known to be that stupendous urban space where lies the superb Michaelerkirche, a great Church devoted to St. Michael and the archaeological excavations which expose the renmants of a very ancient Roman outpost established in the old Vindabona in 89 during the times of the Emperor Domitian.
The son August continued an excellent and increasing business until 1857 when the family decided to sell the company to Christoph Demel, an assistant of production in those times and from the surname of that man derives the current denomination of that prestigious pastry house. 

The new established company moved to the current Kohlmarkt because in those years took place a resetting and re-arrangement of the Imperial military fortified system, some of those operations were managed in proximity of Hofburg Palace and since then with its official seat in that area it became the chocolate, cakes and pastry provider of that powerful Royalty.

 Worth a mention that its success spread in a very special period in which Vienna was living its golden ages, a unique opportunity to launch a very profitable business, the hard work of Christoph Demel was very fruitful gaining in a while fame, notoriety consolidating year by year a reputation more than considerable especially during the Reign of the Emperor Franz Josef I when that city was a sort of European epicentre costantly frequented by foreign Ambassadors, Statesmen and aristocrats of relevance.

Since its inception it became also for that a perpetual destination of the aristocracy constantly present in that site with the excuse to try and enjoy that  very popular sweet delight.

All that municipal environment was a stunning pleasant urban space to spend lovely times highlighted by chats protagonists of that marked joie de vivre in an Empire which was in those years for many reasons an example to imitate for its stylish lifestyle.

Some trendy habits were transmitted to the entire continent as that excellent combination consisting in a warm beverage as an aromatic coffee absorbed by the Venetian trends with the establishment of the legendary Caffè Florian in 1720 in St.Mark's Square  accompanied by a delectable cake.

Those extremely rooted traditions became well known abroad next to the distinctive Orchestras with the most famed Waltzers highlighting the grandeur of celebrations with protagonists gala dinners, banqueting, buffets also serving desserts as the Sachertorte at the Imperial Court in occasion of sumptuous concerts with previous or after parties provided by Der Demel.

All that also strongly entered in stylish Viennese Literary Cafes which started to offer in their lists bakery products and that delectable cake, places well known to have been frequently visited by the highest social class and nomenclature of those times and also in those cases the pastry house located in Kohlmarkt was linked to that selling to those establishments its delicious products.

That city furthermore had the great intuition also to enlarge that new appreciate trend very successfull in the catering and Hospitality activities in places which were originally standard Kaffeehaus, coffeehouses with a limited offer in terms of gastronomy and pastry products.

Since then they started to serve that tastefully sweet icon, a sort of invention which reached a notable success all around the Nation and a considerable resonance in other European countries with Der Demel as a sort of pioneer and absolute protagonist as provider also for them.

Classified as a Backerei a pastry shop, that establishment is also a site in which people can sit enjoying a varied list of warm beverages, an ample choice of sweet delicacies and for that someone considered it since a long time ago also a Cafe.

The busy activity of the Company continued with success thanks to Anna Demel, the daughter of the former owner supported by her daughter Klara who with her husband the Baron Federico Pallavicini led a much consolidated business with a renowned clientele.
Frequented by hundreds and hundreds of people to taste the superb range of patry products which strongly entered in the local culture, all that notable increased a busy production and all worked magnificently.

Klara Demel died in 1965 and the establishment continued to be very active for other seven years more changing property in 1972 when an enterpreneur called Udo Proksch bought and managed that site until 1989 stopping the management of that site in that year because  according to historic information he had some financial problems, he was arrested and since then activity was controlled and managed by a Bank.

The Catering Company Do& Co, a renowned enterprise which was in that period the provider of Austrian Airlines and not long time ago also well known to establish a partnership with the famed UEFA Football Institution purchased the pastry house by Raffeisen Bank in 2002, an event which in its kind preserved the prestige and notoriety of Der Demel.

Despite many changes that pastry & chocolaterie emblem continued during its historic chronological stages to be an eternal reference, its old denomination is still very visible in its exterior where you can see written;  K.u.K Hofzuckerbäckerei Demel linked to its tradition as Imperial and Royal Court Confectionery Bakery provider.

Once there it is obviously a must to try a slice of that delectable Sachertorte, a habit born a long time ago as a daily aristocratic whim and unmistakable desire which influenced a multitude of prominent and ordinary people.

All them never lost the occasion to visit that place for its prestige and the production of that tastefully homemade icon offered in the everlasting charming core of Vienna, a very tempting detail  extremely inviting to spend great times out enjoying the lively atmosphere of an eternally classy and lively city

In its interior the atmosphere is still magic, it kept the charm of its golden ages charming everyone at first sight for its refined elegance highlighted by the presence of fine architectural elements exalted furthermore next to stylish furniture and refined decorative details, a great work by Portois and Fix.

The layout developed with excellent taste is a sublime hymn to the most  sumptuous Rococo style in vogue in a period of grandeur protagonist during the times of the House of Habsburg of the 19th century which partially replaced the beloved and distinctive traditional Baroque movement particularly loved by the first Austrian Emperors and noble families linked to them.

The arrangements were studied to conserve a sort of identification of a past closely related to the artistic decoration which totally influenced an entire land in those centuries and all is still alive as a sublimation of that glorious historic stage never too retro because new winning additions well thought gave it a very appealing aesthetic image.

That philosophy to preserve some relevant cultural and architectural details is a loyal continuation in recent times to reflect the highest splendour of a site which received visits of high ranking and the modifications were managed to delight the customers in a sort of triumphal welcome.

The elegant and classy presence of mirrors in great harmony with refined furniture lying close to decorated walls and a stunning ceiling boasting superb inlays are other special highlights.

The very stylish bar also plays an important role assembled with fine wooden and crystal details which greatly inserted in a charming setting cover a large space next to a very coquetry hallway completed by captivating wooden chairs and tables placed with a very clever and stylish taste. 

All what was placed with criteria, a loyal choice linked to a desire to create a sublime revival reminiscent the old with a touch of modern renovation and the result is that every space is greatly inspiring.

Close to the bar you will notice the presence of a pleasant soft light never disturbing the human eye and the customers and scenic chandeliers close to the entrance emitting lights with a right intensity towards the window and the passage are very appreciated by the customers who immediately coming inside they feel themselves as protagonist of the scene.

No dark shadows, the setting is very luminous, all that is a splendid living reality connected to the glorious past in which the light established around a foyer was always symbol of a great welcome.

More than a pastry shop in some of its corners it seems a bit a room of Schönbrunn, that iconic Viennese palace closely related to the former Imperial Monarchy well known as one of their iconic residences.

Despite the current period corresponding the 21th century, the interior has loyally kept the charm of the architectural traditions considered by someone pretty conservative but all is harmoniously embellished by stunning more contemporary elements perfectly studied in terms of tonalities, style and the scenic composition deletes those supposed critical opinions.

Closely related to that topic worth a special mention also a curiosity linked to Der Demel related to the staff and especially the waitresses very polite using a kind of language in terms of communication with a distinguished detail related to to the most classy German language.

Talking to the Patron they use the third formal person Sie, identifying a sort of high respect or frequently serving the clients using unusual phrases as schön gewälth, which translated means beautifully chosen and much more

For someone all that is pretty peculiar, it sounds in some cases a bit anomalous but all that it is simply part of a refined tradition still alive, representing a ethical code deeply rooted closely related to the oldest noble approach in vogue in the previous centuries.

They are called Die Demelinerrinen, the Demel´s waitresses and a famed cabaret performer called Helmut Qualtinger, a very popular character who also appeared as actor in that notorious and successful movie The name of the Rose starring Sean Connery composed a song titled with that name, a clear reference to them as protagonists of that work.

The Company years ago enlarged its business with a branch established in the city of Mozart Salzburg and in U.S.A concretely in New York at the Plaza Hotel but both sites closed not long time ago, the first in 2012 and the American in 2010.

Other aspects which have highlighted the history of that emblematic pastry house are very well known with the famous fights, endless claims and disputes regarding the real authorship of the great Viennese Sachertorte and its original production which in their kinds are part of another chapter very relevant in the historic stages of that cake and the establishment.

Those conflicts born due to very long diatribes between Der Demel and the Hotel Sacher protagonists of an infinite querelle with some events very famous all around the country highlighted by a famous legal battle started a long time ago when Eduard Sacher son of the owner of that accommodation, Franz Sacher worked for a period in the pastry laboratory of Der Demel.

That man took the notes of the original recipe containing all the smallest details such as use of specific ingredients, determined quantity and dosis of butter, sugar, concrete dosages about blends, special secrets of processes of preparation and gave his father all that.

 The Hotel Sacher in that period was living some financial problems and to find a solution to solve its problems decided with operations of marketing, merchandising and publicity to create a brand with the name Original Sachertorte promoting it in leaflets and fliers.

That launch of product created a giant trouble between those two contenders endured for many years with fierce clashes in courts and tribunals

The Pastry House claimed the paternity of the Sachertorte while the Hotel always denied the theft of patent. After continuous problems those two Entities finally found a peaceful and clever diplomatic solution solving all that with a mutual agreement. 

The final resolution was that the Hotel Sacher kept the name of the legendary Austrian cake while Der Demel had the privilege and duty to decorate that glorious and famed chocolate cake.

Today that establishment does not offer just that tastefully product but in that emblematic Viennese site you can also taste the delicious and typical Austrian Strudel and to buy elegant Chocolate gift boxes packaged with classy style.

Vienna is a city which is undoubtedly one of the most enchanting capitals of the world, everywhere you are in a multitude of its urban corners including in the most remote streets of the historic centre, that metroplis  inspires an incomparable appealing class, nostalgic times and an indisputable fascination.

I added some links below if you are planning to visit  that beautiful central European Capital and once there enjoying all its beauties and marvels do not hesitate to spend a pleasant time sitting at a table of that legendary establishment breathing the special air of that iconic site.

Der Demel is a part of the history of a former charismatic former Empire and of the most refined pastry industry in a beautiful environment reminding the glory and finest traditions of the hospitality service  born to delight and satisfy every customer.

A slice or maybe more than one of  Sachertorte accompanied by a coffee or a hot chocolate is  mandatory, it is also in its kind savouring and enjoying a sweet taste of Viennese centuries in a place which never lost its charm.

After that pleasant break with that great flavour in the mouth you can continue to discover the endless beauty of that incomparable city, the majestic Hofburg in all its splendour, magnificent charm and fascination is just two steps from that site waiting for you in a stunning, unique scenery to remember forever.

Francesco Mari