Restaurant History

In a heart of the city at the corner of Nevsky Avenue and Moika River Embankment on two floors there is the Literary cafe storing traditions of Petersburg of former times. At the beginning of the XIX century on this place there was S. Wolf and T. Brenger's well-known candy store in which known writers met, poets, journalists where there was Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin and from where he went on fatal duel on the Black small river.

The second floor is executed in style of the best salons restaurants of the XIX century, so valued by Russian aristocrats. In the evenings from 19.00 till 23.00 on the second floor of Literary Cafe restaurant for you the grand piano, an accordion, a pipe, a contrabass sounds. In more detail you can examine repertoire in the special section of our site "Musical Program". As for the menu of the second floor, a distinctive feature are refined dishes of the Russian-French kitchen which prepare according to ancient recipes of a Pushkin time.

The literary cafe is a harmonious combination of Russian cuisine and the Russian culture, modern level of service and traditions of Petersburg to its romanticism and the unique atmosphere of old times.

… in the first years of existence of the Northern capital on this place there was a small lodge of the associate Peter the Great vice admiral Cornelius Ivanovich Kryuys.

In 1738 the house passed to the tailor Johann Neumann. Neumann's house came a two-storeyed facade to Moika, and at the Nevsky was looked by the long, quite sad party which not so doesn't have windows. And it emphasizes that to the main, most elegant street of Petersburg to this pershpektivny road was still far. If in the architectural relation the house wasn't something interesting, in the history of the everyday relations of Petersburgers it deserves attention. Here for the first time in Petersburg there was a wax museum. Advertizing claimed: "At us it is possible to see the person of the king of French with the queen, a dauphin and princesses... As all highest surname of the king of English and all most notable ministers... in perfect greatness of their growth, in a dress and with all attire in which they at court went... ". The museum existed only a year, probably, zazyvaniye were more colourful, than wax persons.

In 1743 the German merchant Johann Albrecht in Neumann's house traded in really magic services from a serpantinovy stone, "which don't suffer anything poisonous". For the XVIII century such property of plates and cups had important value. And absolutely the proposal of a certain Frenchman Charpentier to buy from it good powder the whole barrels already funny looked. Even if to consider that women of fashion of that time very much liked to be powdered, such volumes couldn't but discourage. The Dutch dealer Le Roa contained in Neumann's house shop under the loud name "Rotterdam" where sold Seltzer water, excellent chocolate, vanilla and... ink of different grades. At last the house passes to the merchant Kotomin. Once serf princes Kurakinykh, he in twenty years scared together a huge fortune and decided to build the house palace as though competing in beauty with standing on the opposite side of the Nevsky by the kurakinsky house with columns on a place of the ordinary house. Perhaps, it is mere chance, or perhaps and the vain plan defined a choice of this place. And Kotomin that the building belonging to it competed on beauty to the princely house undoubtedly wished.

The architect Stasov decorates the building new under construction with a majestic portico, and on corners of the house creates original four-columned loggias. On that corner of the house of Kotomin which is turned to Moika, one of the best-known candy stores of Nevsky Avenue opened. About it newsdealers wrote as about the delicacy and prodigality temple, as about the works of art created from sugar, chocolate, meringue. Here both figures of knights, and portraits, and busts of the well-known people, figures of various animals and fantastic locks. There was the such culinary and pedagogical alphabet created from exotic sweets. It is now difficult to establish: whether such way helped careless pupils to seize the alphabet quicker.

In the middle of the XIX century in the house Kotominykh the large book-store settled down. And near it Yeliseyev' family, well-known to all Russia, while for them on the same Nevsky opposite to a monument to Catherine II the huge and grandiose building wasn't built traded. In 1846 "for broadening of the sidewalk" loggias were liquidated and the portico is destroyed. The house dropped out at once of a Pushkin era, became bulky and unfriendly. What happiness that years thirty to the house in many respects returned its original state back: restored porticoes with three-quarter columns on height of two floors, returned some details of a decor. It wasn't succeeded to return a portico only. Unfortunately, too narrow was in this place Nevsky Avenue.

Again from a non-existence Wolf and Brenger's candy store returned on the place. Restorers made a lot of things that the situation in it reminded of when in these walls there were Pushkin and his many friends.

And here one of the memorable and mournful events, connected with this house.

On January 27, 1837, about four o'clock in the afternoon, in an angular entrance where there was a candy store, A.S. Pushkin came. He waited here for the second Danzas. Before fatal duel there was less than an hour. From here he the last time looked at favourite Nevsky Avenue. The meeting took place. The poet drank a water or lemonade glass (Danzas didn't remember). They sat down in sledge to go to the Black small river. Some days later the ambassador of death of Pushkin in a candy store from hand to hand passed young Lermontov's angry verses "On the death of the poet" …

S. Wolf and T. Berange were natives of Davos

Nowadays in Davos remember their famous countrymen who founded in the distant St. Petersburg famous confectionery and carefully preserved in the local history Museum letters, personal belongings and some interior items brought from Russia after the closure of the famous confectionery S. Wolf and T. Berange.

On March 7, 2019, a historic meeting was held at the invitation of the Swiss side representatives of the "Literary cafe" with the descendants of famous confectioners and employees of the cultural center in the Museum, which was organized by Franco Item, who wrote the book" Davos – between the magic of the mountains and the magic mountain " about the outstanding natives of Davos. The newspaper "Davos Zeitung" on March 15, 2019 called this visit historic.

Excerpts from the book Franco Item "Davos-between the magic of the mountains and the magic mountain»

“Do you know where the history of the Literary cafe origin goes? It began in distant Davos. One of the first hotels in Davos was "Fluela". It has survived four eras in the history of the economy of Davos. "Old Davos" of the first era was the place of residence of highland peasants, miners and confectioners. In the second era, Davos became a resort, in the third-a sports recreation center, and in the fourth – turned into a venue for congresses.

If in 1868 two old Davos men met in the buffet of the hotel, it could turn out that they spoke Russian fluently, exchanged Russian jokes and sang Russian songs. This meant that they were former confectioners who had spent their lives in Russia. Then-in the first half of the 19th century – a lot of Davos youth went on a long journey to St. Petersburg, at that time one of the cities of world importance to get there as an apprentice confectioners. They reached about three months, on foot overcoming painful 2500 kilometers. More than 200 confectioners came from Davos, but only some of them achieved fame and fortune. For most of the Davos confectionery was the only way to survive. Far from home. In the dark, close-smelling bakeries. For meager earnings.

There were several reasons for emigration. At that time, life in the sparsely populated Alpine valley became very difficult. It all began with the arrival of the Austrian army, called by the authorities of the Canton of Graubünden for protection from the French. The Austrians were left to support themselves at the expense of the population. So in Davos, which is part of this Canton, the army had to contain the locals. And if the soldiers didn't get what they wanted, they took it themselves, whether it was bread or meat or hay for the horses. Soldiers simply ravaged farms Davos families. They were not even stopped by the fact that the residents themselves had almost nothing to eat, and many children died of hunger, not having survived the winter. When the territory was captured by the French, everything was repeated. At the same time, military luck changed sides many times over the course of four years, beginning in 1799.

Another reason was the expulsion of confectioners, natives of graubünden, from Venice, where the beginning of this craft lies. Back in 1612, more than 400 immigrants from Engadine and Bergel were there guest labor and served the first Venetian coffee shops, and in the winter they were twice as much. Confectionery business in Venice flourished, but in 1766 they all had to leave it as soon as possible due to political differences between Venice and Graubünden. By this time there were 256 stores and worked 958 Graubunden. The economic losses were catastrophic.

The main reason for emigration was the weather. For 300 years, the climate has been getting colder, and climatologists call this time the "Small Ice Age". By the mid-19th century, glaciers in the Alps had grown and began to destroy farmsteads and villages. In Davos, part of the Alpine meadows became icy, summers became shorter, hay and bread harvests were scarce. If in 1803 a child was born, he could not expect much from life. The probability that he would not survive 10 years was very high. Half of the children died, especially high mortality was during epidemics, wars and famine. But Tobias Branger (Tobias Branger), the penultimate child in a peasant family, fate has prepared an unusual future. He became a rich confectioner in St. Petersburg, and after his death, by chance, a pioneer of the resort of Davos. In the house where he spent the rest of his life, the so-called "Bridgeroom the castle" later Board "Strela" (Strela) - stayed first with tuberculosis, priezzheva for treatment at Davos. In a house built on capital earned in distant St. Petersburg.

In 1818 – a year after the great famine – fifteen-year-old Tobias Branger went there from Davos. On foot, almost three months to learn confectionery. 15 years later-in the mid-1830s-the once poor son of a Davos peasant was already an established man in the multimillion-dollar city of St. Petersburg. And called themselves French elegant "Beranger". At that time, more than 150 years ago, St. Petersburg was the new York of today. The world of big politics, trade and art – and right in the center of it all are Davos confectioners with their literary cafe. Together with the former 4 years younger than his Salomon wolf (Salomon Wolf), also a native of Davos, Branger led the best cafe in St. Petersburg! Literary cafe wolf and Beranger.

Salomon wolf, still a young man, expressed in verse his longing for his beloved in Davos. And in the end had to marry the daughter of a Swedish merchant.

I will not write much,
I'm the lies and deceit of the enemy.
Then, who loves honesty,
I am the best friend. And so,
When the chosen one is yours
After reading the letter with you,
The question asks, kissing:
"Who was he?» «He...?"And you,
Finding each other for a long time 
And, padkone, me finding.
Hearing the question again:
"Who was he?» Say so:
"It was the Friendship itself
And with a heart like mine»
I'm only five words 
I'll tell you now:
"Farewell forever 
And remember me»

St. Petersburg 20 March 1827
Salomon Wolf

This love letter is unusual. Until today, little is known about what the emigrated Davos confectioners thought and felt: The one who remained poor quickly fell into oblivion; he became rich – like Salomon Wolf – his wealth was in the center of attention.

In 1827, when Salomon Wolf sent this love letter from St. Petersburg to Davos, he was about 20 years old. Why does Salomon write his great love in Davos farewell lines? Did the 20-year-old Salomon even then assume that he would never return to Davos? A few years later he married the daughter of a Swedish merchant.

The popular Literary Cafe, located in St. Petersburg on Nevsky prospect, 18, once belonged to the confectioner from Davos, Johannes Wolf, who did not have his children. He was the uncle of the author of the love letter Salomon Wolf, as well as the aforementioned Tobias Branger.

In 1834, Salomon wolf and Tobias Branger rebuilt inherited from his uncle's cafe in the Cafe Chinois (Café Chinois). It is possible to assume that money for it got to them too from the uncle.

Another source of funds could be a profitable marriage. And such a "marriage to a dowry" had to be staged. In 1834 Salomon wolf invited 192 guests to his wedding in St. Petersburg! Among them were many of the Davos confectioners: Branger (Berenge), Isler, Danger (Dönier), Nadir(-x), Kaufmann, Prader, Meiser, Accola, Ambühl, Cinci, Michel.

Johannes Wolff returned to Davos and donated money for a new Church organ in Glaris – along with a wealthy pastry chef Andreas Ambühl – the future father-in-law of Alexander Spengler. Wolf died in 1839, at the age of 54 years.

The organ of wolf and Ambul still sounds in the small Church of Glaris-for 180 years, Sunday after Sunday, Recalling the peasant teenagers from Davos, once went to St. Petersburg to escape poverty.

Wolf and Beranger faster than Tsar Nicholas

If you ask the locals in the center of St. Petersburg, where the "Literary cafe", you can quickly get the right answer. Because the cafe, which belonged in the past Davos confectioners Wolf and Berange, is now known among the cafe-confectionery address.

"Literary cafe" is now as popular as 200 years ago, when Davos teenagers went on foot to St. Petersburg, on a journey of 2500 kilometers. To escape the poverty that reigned in their valley and try their luck in distant Russia. In the mysterious world of coffee, pastries and chocolate, the exact recipes of which were known only to confectioners of the mountain valleys of graubünden.

The cafe went down in history not least because of Alexander Pushkin.

In the 1830s he was a regular At the literary café wolf and Beranger. Now the figure of Pushkin sitting at the entrance to the cafe.

The last time he was here was around 16: 00 on January 27, 1837. After that, he went to a duel, as was customary in those days in resolving conflicts among people of honor. Pushkin was mortally wounded and died. He was then only 37 years old.”

Guide restore "Literary cafe" expresses appreciation to the author Franco Item for the donated book "Davos-between the magic of the mountains and the magic mountain».