Confectioner Ludwig Dehne opens his confiserie across the now former Royal and Imperial Hofburgtheatre, quickly developing into a success story. Soon after, the establishment is in charge of the Hofburgtheatre and is appointed to be Royal purveyor.
Heir August Dehne hands over the business to his first journeyman, Christoph Demel. 10 years later, his sons Joseph and Karl take over the now eponymous confiserie, Ch. Demel’s Sons.
Moving into the Palais on Kohlmarkt
Due to the imperial urban refurbishments, the brothers move their premises to the ‘Palais am Kohlmarkt’, for which the most fashionable interior architects of the day, Portois & Fix, were commissioned to decorate the vault. The rooms were predominantly in Rococo style whilst the furnishings were in Regency style.
Demel's Powerful Women
When Carl Demel dies (Joseph had already passed), his widow, Maria Demel, né Griensteidl, a famous café owner's daughter, led Demel's operations for twenty years. After her death, their son Karl took over, continuing operations together with his sister-in-law, Anna Demel and her sister Hermine Siding. Even the third sister, actress Flora Siding lived in the house on Kohlmarkt with them. Her daughter Klara, who had hailed from an unhappy affair with Hungarian magnet Nikolaus of Szemere, was eventually adopted by Anna Demel and thus, became the - so far - last woman to devote her life to in service of the Demel; traditionally, like so many other women who had contributed to Demel's fate.
Anna Demel - pioneer & patron of the famous Anna Cake
After the fall of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy, Demel appeared to have no concept of time. Anna Demel strictly whatched over Demel's operations, assuring that the old order and practices would be fulfilled - a lord would remain a lord at Demel and the loyalty to the impoverished aristocratic prewar-clientele would remain intact.
Regardless of bans and penalties, Anna Demel refused to the cafés title as K.u.K. Hofzuckerbäckerei. Even after her death in 1956, Anna Demel continues to be referred to as a pioneer, having been the first ever woman to receive the title of "Councillor of Commerce" (1952). Today, guests can enjoy the atmosphere which she made sure to preserve and the delicious cake that was later named after her, the Anna Cake.
The Last Romantic
After Anna’s death, her adopted daughter, Clara and her husband, Baron Federico of Berzeviczy-Pallavicini take over the family business. It was the highly talented artist Federico v. Berzeviczy-Pallavicini who, with tastefully designed show cases and aesthetic-artificial packaging, set the tone which still prevails at Demel today.
A wacky phase begins at Demel, when Berzeviczy-Pallavicini sells the family business which is soon taken over by enfant terrible Udo Proksch, then known as Serge Kichhofer, who also owned 17 different phone-numbers, 38 military-styled coats and various different birthdates.
Proksch launches ‘Club 45’, which resided on the second floor, and was frequently visited by important politicians and media representatives. 20 years later, Demel is again passed on to new owners, when Proksch is prosecuted for purposely sinking the ship ‘Lucona’.
DO & CO - New horizons, old traditions
Demel is acquired by the internationally renowned Austrian event- & catering group, DO & CO, which takes heed to operate the establishment according to its tradition.
Particularly Friedrich Ludwig Berzeviczy (who – after his emigration to Italy in 1938 – took the name Federico von Berzeviczy-Pallacivini) was a substantial and continuous breath of fresh air to the rather conservative establishment across the Viennese Hofburg.
The impoverished scion of Hungarian-Italian nobility had gone to school and studied in Vienna. In the early 1930s distinguished architect Josef Hoffmann (1970-1956), who valued his artistic talent, led Bezevicvzy-Pallavicini to Demel. Upon seeing one of the striving young artist’s many sensational interior designs, Hoffmann declared Berzeviczy to be “the last romantic”. Federico Bezeviczy-Pallavicini commenced with a series of innovative store display designs that had previously been unknown to the Viennese. A 1:1 model of Demel’s store display was situated in his office on the third floor, which he used for rehearsals of upcoming pieces before realizing them in the downstairs’ storefronts.
Up until he sold the confisserie in 1972, Berzeviczy-Pallavicini created spectacular fairy-tale orchestrations using exquisite materials and elaborate designs, for various seasons and festivities. To him, the store displays were the “theatre of the street”, which he arranged for the entertainment of passerbys for whom a visit at Demel deemed unaffordable.
To this day Demel’s seasonal store displays are highly influenced by Berzeviczy-Pallavicini. Particularly successful exhibits are then stored at Demel Museum in the confisserie’s basement, where they are displayed for visitors.
Demel's reputation is not restricted to coffee and cakes, but extends to their world famous artistic story displays which were originally established by Federico Berzeviczy-Pallavicini and have continued in his style ever since.
The continuous replacement of current displays with new designs, depending on seasons and occassion has become a tradition, if not ceremony.
Those who want more than a peek at the current display and gain insights into the magnificent history of Demel, can descend into the vaults which harbour some of the "best ofs" of display artworks, as well as valuable historic objects originating from the very beginnig of Demel.
Opening hours: every friday from 10.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m.
You will be accompanied by two Viennese guides.
Entrance p.p.: € 4,-
Dive into the fabulous world of Demel, the confectioner's art, the history of the Demel family. The house harbours the most exquisite surprises!