National Selections: Report

Leopold Forsthofer has won the Austrian selection for the World Chocolate Masters

The Club of Vienna Coffee House Owners and master patissier Herwig Gasser organized the 5th Patisserie Grand Prix in the Vienna Hofburg on February 8, 2007. Thirteen patissiers and confectionery professionals from Austria and Germany applied their creative skills to the theme “New York meets Vienna” and presented remarkable works of chocolate artistry symbolizing the fascinating city of cities to a renowned panel of international experts. The overall winner of the competition, who thus earned the title of “Austrian Chocolate Master”, was Leopold Forsthofer from the Kurkonditorei Oberlaa for his work of art entitled “Let’s dance!”

Brigitta Schickmaier, a native of Upper Austria representing the Konditorei der anderen Art, came in a strong second with her masterpiece “Die Welle des Eindruckes”. Anton Holzgruber, who also works at Kurkonditorei Oberlaa, placed third with “Bridges between the cities”.
More than 560 kilograms of Callebaut chocolate were handcrafted in more than 14,000 man hours by the contestants. Their chocolate artworks were up to 90 centimeters high and extremely intricate. The core element was a Grand Marnier tartlet. Taste, quality, visual appearance, degree of difficulty, processing of materials, artistic design and theme relevance were all critiqued by the esteemed jury of experts. Maximilian Platzer, the Chairman of the Club of Vienna Coffee House Owners, was enchanted by the creativity the young chocolate artists displayed and noted that the international profile and extensive media coverage of the Patisserie Grand Prix encouraged the promotion of young talent and strengthened the handicraft of fine patisserie.

While the expert panel, consisting of Dr. Paulus Stuller (Head of the Federal Guild of Austrian Confectioners), Ewald Knauf (Chamber of Crafts and Trade of Cologne), Werner Gruber (Author), Kurt Gutenbrunner (owner and executive chef of Café Sabarsky, New York), Guillaume Buisson (Grand Marnier), Dietmar Fercher (Café Konditorei Fercher) , Helmut Wenschitz (Maitre Chocolatier), Josef Angelmayer (Konditorei Angelmayer) and Hofrat Prof. Dr. Franz Zodl (Judenplatz Hotel & Restaurant College) adjourned to anonymously determine their ratings for the artists, several thousand spectators and visitors wandered through the exhibition, which was open to the public free of charge, and marveled at the many masterpieces ‘you could sink your teeth into’.

The awards for the top-ranked artists and the “Austrian Chocolate Master” were presented in the evening on the same day in the magnificent Hofburg palace. The following day the 50th Viennese Kaffeesieder ball took place and the chocolate masterpieces were again showcased for the more than 5,000 people who attended the evening gala.

1st Place: Leopold Forsthofer, Kurkonditorei Oberlaa
2nd Place: Brigitta Schickmaier, Konditorei der anderen Art
3rd Place: Anton Holzgruber, Kurkonditorei Oberlaa
4th Place: Barbara Auer, Andreas Daurer, Gerhard Eder, Landtmann´s feine Patisserie
5th Place: Martin Studeny, Ulrika Küchen GmbH
6th Place: Christian Schaberreiter, Konditorei Fuchs