The former Karol Hagenhuber Confectionery

And there was a confectioner's shop. After our final exam, we used to go to eat cream pastries. I wonder how we could handle all of this... these cream pastries after graduation.

John Paul II

Karol Hagenhuber opened his confectionery shop at the corner of the market square, at number 15, before World War II, in 1936. He was from Vienna and came to Wadowice from Brzesko. In a small town, east of Cracow, his business did not go well because of a shortage of customers. Meanwhile, in Wadowice, which was a thriving administrative, judicial, military and educational centre, there was a great chance to gain many customers. The confectioner brought with him the secret of baking cream pastries, which quickly gained recognition of local gourmets. Hagenhuber's confectionery opened in the town centre and quickly became known for its excellent pastry products. 

Halina Królikiewicz-Kwiatkowska, a friend of Karol Wojtyła's from the amateur theatre circle, described Hagenhuber's cream pastries as delicious cakes. They were made of two layers of puff pastry melting in the mouth, with a wonderful yellow, creamy, light and fluffy filling between them, with a delicate, vanilla flavour. Contrary to rumours, they did not contain a drop of alcohol, and one piece cost fifteen groszy.

Karol Wojtyła was a colleague of the confectioner's son, who was also called Karol. Both boys studied in one Wadowice middle school, although not in one class. Meanwhile, Karol Hagenhuber Senior, who was strongly involved in the cultural life of the town, undertook to prepare the make up for the students who took part in the theatrical performances with his collection of moustaches, beards and glues to attach them. He is said to have learned the art of stage make-up in his native Vienna, where he worked in the local opera house, and the artistry with which he performed his creations in Wadowice aroused the admiration of the local community.

Since 1937, the graduates of the Wadowice middle school have been following a new trend. After successfully passing their secondary school final exams, they celebrated this event in a nearby confectionery. And so the secondary school graduates from the “papal” year went to eat cream pastries. At the Hagenhuber's cafe, they made a bet to see who would eat more cream pastries. Lolek bet that he would eat at least 10 cream pastries, and he did eat even five more, but then he didn't feel so good. Due to the fact that the boy's stomach failed him, Wojtyła was ranked second in this competition, and the first place on the podium went to his colleague from Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. The fierce rivalry, which took place then, was later remembered by the Pope John Paul II on the market square in Wadowice on 16 June 1999, accompanied by his famous smile. Following this event, the local bakers and confectioners decided to serve their own versions of this popular pastry.

“This” famous confectionery ceased to operate already in 1945, and presently in every confectionery in Wadowice one can taste a papal treat.