The “Mozartkugel”, a prototypical Austrian confectionery, is known for most as a souvenir after a vacation in Austria. The winning combination of an innovative, delicious product with a sticky name was not the work of a multinational branding firm, but of an ambitious confisier in the Habsburg empire. The product most people get in airport duty free shops these days is however neither original nor handmade, but an exemplar of mergers and acquisitions.
The “Real Mozartkugel” by “Mirabell” is a product in a portfolio including “Miracle Whip” and “Macaroni & Cheese”, owned by Kraft foods – previously owned by Philip Morris, the cigarette company which changed its name to “Altria” and spun out Kraft to its own (Philip Morris a.k.a. Altria) shareholders after having merged it with Nabisco (makers of Oreo and Ritz cookies) and General Foods (of Jell-O fame, a company they acquired in 1926 when still operating as “Postum Cereal” before acquiring General Foods and its name in 1929). In 1993, Kraft-General Foods acquired Jacobs Suchard, itself a merger of German coffee company Jacobs with Interfood, which itself was a merger of Swiss chocolate manufactureres Tobler and Suchard.
But fortunately, and amazingly, there is still the original Mozartkugel, made just as it was made back then in 1890. The original has survived both the industrialization of sweets and the vicious acquisitions of the 20th century out of a simple reason – the creator, Paul Fuerst, cared more for making delicious sweets than for securing the names for his creations. Therefore there have been no mergers and acquisitions of this familiy-run Cafe-Konditorei, and the original Mozartkugel is still produced according to the original recipe. It is handmade from fresh ingredients, delicious, and perishable. It is a bit hard to get, unless you pass by in one of the 4 outlets of Confectionery Fuerst in the city of Salzburg, where it was originally invented in 1890 by Paul Fuerst, an accomplished confectioner in the Habsburg empire who learned his trade in Budapest, Paris and Nice.
(Not original, but very good and handmade Mozartkugeln are available from three other confectioners in the area – Petrik and Engljaehringer in Salzburg and Dallmann in St. Gilgen.)