Legendary confectioneries – the Hauer
I remember that the shop-window of confectionery Hauer on Rákóczi Road preserved its upper middle class feature even when it was faded and abandoned. Many times and many authors wrote about the Rákóczi Road: how it lost its pedestrian nature, after the construction of the underground and the disappearance of the tramway. In its present form, it is rather a highway, especially between Keleti railway terminal and Blaha Lujza Square. Who would like to ambulate and watch shop-windows beside such a busy road? In fact, there is not much to see indeed. However, its heyday was not very long ago; it was considered a real commercial centre in the 1970s – just think about the department stores Verseny, Csillag, Lottó, and Corvin. However, its earlier golden age was after the inauguration of Keleti (eastern) railway terminal in 1884, when apartment palaces, tenement houses, restaurants, hotels and confectioneries were built one after the other. This week we are evoking the history of confectionery Hauer, the emblematic place on Rákóczi Road.
A confectioner dynasty is born
Hauer was regarded as a rival of Gerbeaud for a long time. It was founded by Nándor Kasselik in 1890, and consisted of only one room back then. After Kasselik’s death, his widow married Rezső Hauer, who took over the management of the confectionery, and it was operated under the name Hauer as of 1899 – so the history of the dynasty started.
Hauer’s custard cake and parfait cake
Later – feeling the demand of the era – he purchased the other rooms of the building, in order to extend the shop and the workshop with further products; thus the firm was completed with a chocolate- and a bonbon manufactory. Machines helped the confectioners’ work: they used high-performance refrigerators, cocoa bean processing machines, whipped cream squeezers and coffee percolators. This is how they made the legendary Hauer’s custard cake and the marzipan-pineapple pastry. After Gerbeaud’s death, Hauer was elected honorary life chairman of the confectioners’ trade-corporation. The wonder lasted until 1949, when the factories employing more than ten persons were socialized – and Hauer employed 110 employees then. The machines were overtaken by the newly established state company called Confectionery Factory. The workshop was extended towards nr. 47 Rákóczi Road in 1953-55, and it could not avoid a name change either: it continued operation with the name Erkel Confectionery. As of 1970, the East-Pest Catering Industrial Company ran it under the name Hauer again. The confectionery preserved its upper middle class atmosphere even during this period. What happened to the family? They took the name Hámor and received a small confectionery – perhaps as a recompense – next to Szent István Park, where they could profit by their proficiency.
The famous multimillionaire jazz-drummer
How many people know who that character in the famous Hungarian rock and roll band Hungária’s song is, who “works in a confectionery in the morning, twirling the egg-beater devilishly”? It is the world famous confectioner Rezső Hauer’s grandson Rezső Hámor or Rudi. Although he did not boast with that, always everyone knew everywhere who he was. Especially because he helped out at the confectionery since the age of five. After school, he went home and gave a hand in the confectionery that his parents hired near Szent István Park. But where did music come from into his life, he talked about it this way:
“I went to musical school with Fenyő, he learnt to play the piano, and I learnt to play the violin. But when Laci Nemes got a drum set, he gave it to me to learn to play the drums, in exchange for the tape recorder that a borrower ruined. Thus, I started beating the drum at home and soon decided that it was better than the violin. That time the Beatles and Rolling Stones came, and I tried accompanying the hits sitting next to the radio. Finally, I managed to play twist, and then I told Miki to make a band.” This is how Syconor was born and how the Hauer grandson changed the eggbeater for drumsticks.
The confectionery has been operating again since 2017, but legal debates, fancy inaugurations and silent shutdowns coloured its history. We hope that reopening will be successful this time, even if it is without the family’s leadership.
Translated by Zita Aknai