Sweet Temptation – a Graubündner Café in Wrocław

For centuries, men and women from Graubünden emigrate for economic reasons. They work as chimney sweeps, resin collectors, plasterers, glaziers or mercenaries. Many of them find their livelihood – and some even wealth – in a sweet occupation: confectionery.

There were Graubündner coffee houses and confectioner’s shops in several hundred European cities and towns. In addition to coffee and pastries, the confectioners also offered sparkling water, liqueurs and beers. What such an establishment looked like is revealed by a gem on view in the Palazzo Castelmur near Stampa: on a glass mosaic, the interior of the "Barth & Cloetta" confectioner's shop in Wrocław, Poland, is depicted in minute detail.

The glass mosaic, which is roughly half a metre wide and about 10 cm deep, was created by the Silesian artist Georg Gottlieb Kuhnt around 1848. At that time, Barth had long made a name for himself in Wrocław: the Engadin native had opened his first confectioner's shop in Breslau around 1830, and a few years later he formed a partnership with his compatriot Cloetta. On a side note, the glass mosaic fits perfectly into the Palazzo Castelmur. It was also built by a confectioner – and consequently the Palazzo houses an exhibition dedicated to this sweet occupation.

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