My interactions with elderly Viennese men have thus far been limited to two of my neighbors, one of whom is polite but reserved; the other, well… Herr Staud, on the other hand, is now my absolute favorite elderly Viennese gentleman ever. Charming, witty, effusive, and he even kissed ladies’ hands as we ended the tour!
This week I had the enjoyment of a factory tour of Staud’s, the Austro-Hungarian Empire era jam company, led by none other than Herr Staud himself, great-great-grandson of the company’s founder.
I have become a purveyor of Staud’s since living here, not just for their jams and marmalades but for a number of their preserved vegetables, and can easily make an entire meal of Staud’s pickled chili peppers, a wedge of good English cheddar from Naschmarkt, and a baguette. Staud’s is that good.
This was no ordinary factory tour, though, with prepared visuals and the usual cattle-herding mentality. Herr Staud’s assistant presented us with the Rules of Conduct, after which we were stripped of jewelry and cameras, and all other photo taking electronics (securely stored); and provided sterile coverings to wear over our hair and street clothes.
Once our hands were sanitized, as well, the tour proceeded within the actual production facility! On our visit the team was preparing plum compote; though a considerable portion of the jam process is done more-or-less manually, there were some interesting innovations to observe, including the “Jam Cam,” to allow the employees to monitor the cooking process inside the tank.
Herr Staud stood at the ready to answer any and all questions, including, “What is the secret to Staud’s?” In response, he answered charmingly, “My farmers, my people, and my nose.” He also shared a shopping secret that I will be most happy to share should you visit.
After the tour he guided us to the Staud’s Pavilion at the nearby Brunnenmarkt, its location since 1947. Winking at the clerk, he announced that he was using his 100% employee discount to treat us to samples of some of Staud’s most popular preserves: marillen (apricot), himbeer (raspberry), and blutorange (blood orange).
Even sweeter than the samples, upon learning my favorite Staud’s preserve flavor is marillen (and Herr Staud’s, as well), he offered me a jar of the delicious preserves as a gift! Danke schöne, Herr Staud!
A few interesting Staud’s tidbits:
Staud’s products are all without artificial components, but Herr Staud feels no need to change the labels on his offerings.
Staud’s X-Ray device, to detect unedible particulates like glass, hair, and rocks, is the most advanced in the whole of Austria.
60% of the fruit is Austrian in origin, and of that, 100% arrives in Vienna (or Burgenland, the other factory) with a couple of hours of being harvested.
Staud’s is a diverse workplace! Herr Staud proudly noted that he employs 70 people from three continents and 8 countries.
Staud’s products are available in the U.S., but at a Dean & Deluca premium. (Sorry, American friends.)