One day Josef Nickerl, former confectioner of the reknown Hotel “Pupp” in Carlsbad, came to work for Zauner in Bad Ischl. To mark the start of his new job he decided to refine one of the a recipes and so the famous “Ischler Wafers” came into being.
However the huge success of the wafers caused a problem. Not all of the wafers met the strict criteria demanded by Zauner. Some were uneven in color or slightly twisted or broken. What was to be done with them?
The economic Nickerl did not like to throw away that many products that were fine for consumption but not that good to look at. The shrewd Nickerl chopped upthe broken wafers and mixed with them with nougat, hazelnuts and chocolate. He formed the mixture into small biscuits intended for sale to children. Soon the request:
“Nickerl-Batz for one Kreuzer”
– which is what the children called them – was the most frequently heard order in the shop. And they were even being bought by adults – locals and foreigners alike – not only by children!
Viktor Zauner began to see potential in the ever-increasing demand. He went to Nickerl in the kitchen. They mixed, tested and added new ingredients. They experimented a lot, but they were not yet satisfied. The taste and the consistency, the melting on the tongue – these were all fantastic, but the shape wasn’t quite right.
One day they pressed the mixture into an elongated tin and dried it and cut it into finger-wide slices. That went perfectly. Without breaking, without crumbling. Viktor let a piece melt in his mouth. And he began to smile. “That’s it!” he laughed.
Nickerl shook his head very thoughtfully: “Something is still missing…..” he said. “Why don’t we cover it with chocolate? A thick smooth chocolate covering.”
Viktor Zauner looked at him earnestly and then nodded. “Very good!”, he agreed, “thats exactly what we will do.”
This is how – in 1905 – the “Zaunerstollen” was born – this unique magnificence which quickly grew into a symbol for Bad Ischl and Austrian confectionery skill.