A harsh childhood
When young orphan Henri arrives in Brussels from his native Ardennes, he has just one goal: success. He starts his apprenticeship in a bakery and weds Marie. In 1910, he opens his own “modern bakery” on the Place du Grand Sablon, a popular area at the heart of Brussels that beats to the pulse of its market and the sound of Frisian handballs.
Birth of a dynasty
Henri and Marie work hard, reinvesting every single penny earned in the family business. Their son Henri inherits a prosperous commerce and marries creative and hardworking Yvonne who will first come up with the idea of selling tarts. The Wittamer desserts are born.
In the country of the rising sun
Wittamer’s success takes off internationally when, in the late nineties, Japanese bakery owner Mr Hyané enters the shop. He soon becomes friends with Henri II and opens the first franchised patisserie in Osaka.
Respect for tradition – Passion for innovation
Since the late sixties, their son and daughter team runs La Maison Wittamer, blending their respective talents to form a perfect synergy allying modernity and tradition. After a formal pastry training in Switzerland, Paul (born Henri III) joins forces with Myriam, whose passion for art and creativity blows a constant wind of novel ideas in the atelier. Myriam’s acute business sense and Paul’s passion have carried La Maison Wittamer into the 21st century.
Fresh products & ideas
Technological developments in the sixties give wings to the patisserie industry. Henri and Yvonne invest in cutting-edge machinery that will translate every one of their ideas. Their creativity takes flight! In the 80s, in line with the new notions of the Nouvelle Cuisine, La Maison Wittamer starts making increasingly modern and innovative products, paving the way for a new generation of pastry chefs and chocolatiers. La Maison Wittamer was the first to use colours in its chocolates, including the House signature bright pink, Myriam’s favourite colour. Today, Myriam’s heart still beats with unmatched excitement when she creates new desserts for numerous cultural and historical events.
4 generations of powerful personalities
Ambitious Henri and courageous Marie create the bakery, building a prosperous business through tenacity and hard work. Henri II successfully takes over the reins of the family commerce with vivacious wife Yvonne, a lover of all things sweet who opens the door to pastries and patisserie. The team made up of their son Henri II (known as Paul) – renowned pastry chef – and daughter Myriam – the visionary artist – has taken the reputation of La Maison Wittamer beyond the seas, perpetuating the artisanal tradition whilst instilling creativity. Myriam’s daughter Leslie singlehandedly manages the Wittamer Café, the House tearooms.
The decorator. British born Michael Anderson is the highly skilled artist who designs the dazzling décors of the Wittamer creations.
The pastry chef. As every day breaks, Christophe Roesems takes the commands of the Wittamer atelier to create La Maison Wittamer’s delicacies and carry out the many orders.
A life dedicated to a passion
Every generation of Wittamer has devoted life and soul to the success of the family business. Behind the colourful displays filled with magical gems and delicious creations hides an endlessly frantic atelier fed by continuous investment.
Crowbars and whisks
Few designs require as much precision as tiered cakes, which measure at most 80 cm, the width of a door. One day, as Paul and his team deliver a tiered wedding cake at a client’s house after having removed the monumental creation from their van, they find themselves faced with an unexpected constraint. Entering the house, they realise that a wall stops the door from opening fully. Paul quickly comes up with a radical solution and… grabs a crowbar! Since that day, the Atelier Wittamer only make cakes of 70 cm wide. Wise choice!
Royal Warrant Holder of Belgium
In 1999, Wittamer is entrusted with the great honour of designing and making the wedding cake of crown heirs Prince Philippe and Mathilde. After having tried a wide selection of confectioneries, the future King settles for a cake reminiscent of his childhood. On 4 December 1999, the Royal Wedding captivates the entire country. At the Royal Palace, time has come to present the gâteau-au-chocolat-amer-farci-d’un-concassé-d’agrumes-confits-à-servir-avec-une-crème-anglaise (bitter chocolate cake filled with crushed candied citrus fruit served with an egg custard). Paul and Michael carry the huge wedding cake with two other men. As they progress through the three rooms, subjugating the guests, an emotional Michael approaches the Princess, puts his foot on her train and without a second thought for protocol, murmurs a “You are very pretty”, which greatly amuses Mathilde. Since that day, Wittamer was awarded the title of Certified Royal Warrant Holder of Belgium.