The Story of Marvella – a Heartfelt Project

A heartfelt project by Irmgard Querfeld and Wiener Landtmann´s Original Konditorei.

„I came into contact with swallowing disorders by chance and was immediately touched by it. I wasn’t aware that so many people (10% of the population) suffer from dysphagia,” recalls Irmgard Querfeld. She wanted to help and began to delve deeply into the subject of swallowing disorders.

Dysphagia, also known as swallowing disorders, can have very diverse causes. Depending on the severity, individuals may have difficulty swallowing solid foods or liquids, i.e., moving them from the mouth to the stomach. Foods with varying consistencies are particularly problematic. A chicken with mashed potatoes and vegetables? An apple strudel? What’s completely normal for most of us can, in the worst case, be deadly for those with dysphagia.”

Die extrafeine Torte für Dysphagie Betroffene

September 24, 2023

Extensive research

When the Landtmann Confectionery and its associated coffeehouses were closed during the lockdown, Irmgard Querfeld introduced the topic to the family-run business. Together with the staff, they tried to understand what dysphagia means in everyday life and how they can make life easier for people with swallowing difficulties. They also exchanged ideas extensively with doctors, speech therapists, dietitians, those affected, and their families. 'I met a lady who said how sad she was not being able to eat cakes anymore,' Mrs. Querfeld recalls the chance encounter that sparked the idea for Marvella. The Viennese confectionery Landtmann's Original has a long tradition. Cakes are still handmade according to old recipes and adapted to new dietary habits, such as vegan cuisine.

Extra-fine cakes

Irmgard Querfeld and her team had a vision: a cake that tastes at least as good and looks as beautiful as a "regular" cake but can be enjoyed effortlessly by people with swallowing difficulties. The challenge was to make the individual layers consistently and velvety smooth in texture; from the cake base to the mousse to the fruit mirror. However, there could be no compromises in taste and appearance of the cake. "Our pastry chefs worked closely with nutrition experts to find the perfect recipe. It was always a balancing act between taste, texture, and appearance," recalls Irmgard Querfeld of the challenging development period of Marvella.

But the extra-fine cake, lovingly called Marvella in the bakery, was a heartfelt project for the team from the very beginning. In addition to their very high quality standards and a strong focus on safety, the personal commitment of all involved parties is responsible for the more than successful result. The initial feedback was overwhelming. The cakes were well-received by people with swallowing difficulties and their families. Experts confirmed that the texture is very well-tolerated in cases of dysphagia.

A piece of happiness

With Marvella, Landtmann's Original Konditorei has developed a cake that allows people with dysphagia to enjoy without worry and tastes and looks just as good as a "normal" cake. "Everyone who has tried it finds it delicious. It's a special feeling when people with and without swallowing difficulties can once again enjoy the same cake together," says Irmgard Querfeld, delighted with the result they achieved together. All the employees involved in the development are proud of the extra-fine cake from their bakery and grateful for the enriching experiences that Marvella has made possible.

"It's incredible how a small piece of cake can positively impact people's lives," says Irmgard Querfeld. "I hope that we can reach even more people and that our cakes can help people with swallowing difficulties no longer feel excluded."

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