Hungarian sweets and chocolates

Sweet Things: 13 classic Hungarian candies

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Sport szelet és Balaton szelet, szőlőcukor és krumplicukor. Hogyan mutatnád be jellegzetes magyar édességeinket angolul? Olvass róluk itt!

If you happen to have foreign guests or you just would like to be able to present our traditional sweets to foreigners here is an assortment of them coveted by Hungarian kids and adults for generations.

1.Szőlőcukor Pasztilla

With its name meaning “grape-sugar (dextrose) pastilles” in Hungarian, this is one of the healthiest sweets on offer – the package states that “regular consumption of grape sugar tablets is good for children, athletes and heart patients.” That’s all well and good, but do these slightly chalky pellets satisfy sweet tooth? The answer is yes, with the mint variety offering a quite refreshing taste after a meal, while fruit-flavored szőlőcukor options like lemon and strawberry provide a pleasant guilt-free treat.

2. Negro

Hungary is not a very politically correct country; were these soothing lozenges marketed in Great Britain or the USA, protests would surely follow at retail locations within a few days. However, this widely popular Hungarian-made hard candy – infused with honey, mint, or fruit – is actually named after Italian confectioner Pietro Negro, who invented it in Hungary while living here during the 1920s; meanwhile, the suspiciously dark-tinted figure on every package is supposed to represent “the chimney sweep of the throat.”

3. Tejkaramella

“Milky caramel” is pretty much what it sounds like – a creamy type of fudge that tastes like soft toffee, which may be a little dry when first chewed, but soon the sugary goodness melts across the palate and smiles follow. While a few Hungarian confectioneries create cubes of this crowd-pleasing treat for mass consumption, the best tejkaramella is prepared at the homes of Hungarian grandmas nationwide; considering that the recipe only calls for sugar, milk, and butter, it’s not a difficultdo-it-yourself sweet.

4. Téli Fagyi

Hungarians aged over five years old generally react with revulsion when offered this strange confection – with its name translating to “winter ice cream”, this unrefrigerated sugar bomb mainly consists of cocoa-flavoured mousse topped with a thin layer of chocolate within a typically stale cone, creating a cloyingly unpalatable texture and taste that often inspires expectoration soon after the first bite. Nonetheless, this Hungarian-made specialty is still found by the checkout counter at many supermarkets.

5. Balaton

The biggest lake in Hungary (and Central Europe) is honoured with this namesake candy bar that is simple yet scrumptious, made of wafers pressed together with cocoa-cream layers and then coated in milk chocolate or dark chocolate. With its sunshiny wrapper imagery showing bright beams illuminating shimmering water, one bite of this omnipresent delight evokes memories for Hungarians who grew up going to Lake Balaton every summer, buying one of these candy bars anytime they could cadge a few coins from their parents.

6. Maci

With its charmingly retro wrapper emblazoned with a drawing of a cute little bear (“maci” is Hungarian for “teddy bear”), along with Budapest’s name proudly added at the top, this peanut-infused milk-chocolate bar is not only a fairly tasty goody, but it also makes a great cheap gift for visitors to bring home to family and friends after a trip to Hungary’s capital. The chocolate itself is nothing special, but since each bar weighs in at a hefty 100 grams, a single Maci is perfect for splitting among friends.

7. Vadász

“If you want something really good!” says the label of every Vadász bar, and considering that every Vadász bar is made with a generous portion of alcohol, the manufacturers can’t be accused of false advertising. With its name meaning “hunter” in Hungarian, this tasty tidbit is available in either the “sweet and bitter” flavour with dark chocolate or the “black forest” variety with milk chocolate, and both options are filled with cherry cream and a noticeable splash of booze, making it an excellent wintertime treat.

8. Krumplicukor

Generally reviled as the country’s least-desirable candy, the name of krumplicukor is Hungarian for “potato sugar”, and things don’t get much better from there. Like szőlőcukor, krumplicukor is marketed as a relatively healthy indulgence, but most people that watch their weight would probably prefer to skip sweets altogether rather than bite into this odd-smelling concoction left over from Communist times. If it’s really fresh, krumplicukor is in fact edible – but if it’s gone stale, it becomes a flat jawbreaker.

9. Dunakavics and Francia drazsé

As the Hungarian answer to M&M’s, this duo of palatable pellets encased in a candy shell remains beloved here ever since its creation in Budapest 50 years ago. However, these two types of candies appear and taste dramatically different; Francia drazsé are simple spheres of chocolate, while Dunakavics are roasted peanuts with a lumpy sugar coating that, at a quick glance, can kind of resemble a hardened piece of already-chewed gum. Regardless, both of these multicoloured confections are popular with very good reason.

10. Eredeti Szerencsi

Anyone allergic to nuts should steer clear of Eredeti Szerencsi candy bars – their primary ingredients include hazelnut cream, chopped almonds, honey-flavoured cashews, and peanuts. However, folks who enjoy these hearty kernels will definitely savour this old-school delight that also contains a thin crispy wafer and is liberally covered in dark chocolate, and still wrapped in golden foil like some delicacy delivered from Willy Wonka’s factory. Its easy-to-hold contoured shape is especially appreciated.

11. Sport

Although it’s not as strong as Vadász, this alcohol-flavoured chocolate bar is a major presence in candy aisles at shops all across Hungary. A layer of dark chocolate envelops a light cocoa-fondant filling enhanced with the essence of rum, making it a pleasant pick-me-up... but contrary to its name, this doesn’t seem like the most beneficial snack that athletes could possibly nibble on. Nonetheless, the compact-yet-satisfying size of Sport bars can be perfect for assuaging a passing craving for something sweet.

12. Medvecukor

People who really like licorice might just become fans of Medvecukor – meaning “bear sugar” (don’t worry, no ursine beasts are involved in the creation of this candy) – but even people with a predilection for this root-based flavour will probably find the texture off-putting, to say the least. Sold in long semi-gelatinous strands, the first couple of bites are agreeably chewy, but soon it dissolves into slippery shreds of rubbery treacle, until the process of actually swallowing it presents a test of endurance.

13. Kojak

Named in honour of the iconic TV detective with an affinity for Tootsie Pops played by Telly Savalas in the 1970s, this cocoa-coated vanilla sucker has continually been a cherished sweet among Hungarians for decades. The chocolate tastes somewhat artificial, and the dense vanilla centre has a tendency to get stuck between teeth, but for those patient enough to let the entire glob literally melt in the mouth, Kojak pops present an easy way to sate a sweet tooth without purchasing an entire candy bar.

source: welovebudapest.com

And now back to international brands. Can you match the sweets and their description?

1. M&M

a.  chocolate-covered candy bar

2. Milky Way

b. a chocolate-covered wafer biscuit bar

3. Bounty

c. finger-shaped crunchy biscuit topped with caramel and coated in chocolate packaged in pairs

4. KitKat

d. a chocolate candy covered in a hard layer of an artificial colour with peanut or chocolate centre

5. Twix

e. a coconut filling enrobed with milk chocolate (which is sold in a blue wrapper) or dark chocolate (which is sold in a red wrapper) and there are two pieces wrapped in one package

 

Key:

1. d

2. a.

3. e.

4. b.

5. c.

Vocabulary

assortment

válogatás

to covet

sóvárogni valami után

consumption

fogyasztás

chalky

krétaszerű

pellet

pirula, golyó, pasztilla

to have sweet tooth

édesszájú

soothing

csillapító, enyhítő

lozenge

pasztilla, cukorka

protest

tiltakozás

suspiciously

gyanúsan

dark-tinted

sötétre festett, sötét színezetű

chimney sweep

kéményseprő

throat

torok

fudge

karamella

to chew

rágni

to melt

elolvadni

palate

szájpadlás

confectionery

cukrászda

do-it-yourself

csináld magad

revulsion

ellenérzés, viszolygás

unrefrigerated

hűtés nélkül tárolható

layer

réteg

stale

állott, száraz

cone

(fagyi)tölcsér

cloyingly

émelyítően

unpalatable

élvezhetetlen

texture

állag

expectoration

kiköpés

checkout counter

pénztár

namesake

névrokon

scrumptious

pompás, remek

wafer

nápolyi

sunshiny

napsugaras

wrapper

csomagolás, csokipapír

beam

sugár

shimmering

csillámló

omnipresent

mindenütt jelenlevő

to evoke

felkelteni

to cadge

kéregetni, legombolni

coin

pénzérme, fémpénz

emblazoned with

valamivel ékesítve

hefty

meglehetősen nehéz

to split

elosztani

to accuse of

gyanúsítani

tidbit

nyalánkság

booze

alkohol

to revile

leszólni, ócsárolni

indulgence

élvezet

to watch sy’s weight

figyelni a súlyára

odd-smelling

furcsa/rossz szagú

concoction

készítmény

edible

ehető

jawbreaker

nagyon kemény cukor

palatable

ízletes

encased in

beburkolva

roasted peanut

mogyoró

coating

bevonat

hardened

megkeményedett

to steer clear of sg

távol tartani magát valamitől

chopped

darabolt

kernel

mag, csonthéjas gyümölcs bele

old-school

régimódi

easy-to-hold

könnyen megfogható

beneficial

előnyös

to nibble on

majszolni

to assuage

csillapítani

craving

sóvárgás

licorice

medvecukor, édesgyökér

predilection

részrehajlás

off-putting

kiábrándító, elkedvetlenítő

shred

foszlány

rubbery

gumiszerű

treacle

melasz

swallowing

lenyelés

endurance

szívósság

affinity for

vonzódás

cherished

kedvelt, dédelgetett

to get stuck

beragadni

glob

massza

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