'Szaloncukor': The Origins of Hungarian Christmas Candy Explained

  • 6 Dec 2021 6:25 AM
'Szaloncukor': The Origins of Hungarian Christmas Candy Explained
Hungarian Christmas trees would not be complete without Christmas candy (szaloncukor), a local specialty. This delicacy, which comes with different fillings, covered in chocolate and wrapped in colourful foil, is a real Hungaricum.

The origin of this confectionery, similar to bonbons, is fondant sugar from France, which became popular in Hungary in the 1800s.

Wealthy families welcomed their guests in their parlour (“szalon”) with small bowlfuls of this delicacy. Hence the name “szaloncukor” (salon sweet). There are various manufacturers in Hungary that still make this delicacy with the utmost attention and care. Let’s see who they are.


At the beginning of the 1930s, Mátyás Szamos learned the art of making quality marzipan from a famous Danish patissier. Since then, Szamos has been one of the best-known family businesses in Hungary, and is famous for its excellent Christmas candy as well as its first-class marzipan.

It is worth stopping at one of their cafés or patisseries, where good coffee goes hand in hand with a selection of delightful cakes and pastries. 


The story of Szerencsi chocolate goes back to 1923. The chocolate manufacturer based in the town of Szerencs has been in business since that year. In addition to great szaloncukor and chocolate bonbons, it produces a variety of other traditional sweets, such as fudge or the chocolate confectionery better known as “cat tongue” (macskanyelv).

Its chocolate-covered cognac cherries, handmade to this day, are a favourite classic among Hungarians for a very good reason. Although the manufacturer does not have a standalone shop, its exquisite delicacies are widely available in most shops.


Stühmer, Hungary’s very first chocolate manufacturer, was founded 150 years ago and has been producing Christmas candy ever since. Its sweet shops around Budapest offer a selection of exclusive varieties, with fillings made with cinnamon and orange cream, pálinka, champagne cream, mulled wine, gingerbread, and even the famous Gerbeaud slice.

They are well worth visiting for a full selection of different szaloncukor varieties, delicious cakes and other flavours evoking bygone days. 


Most shops also stock Christmas candies prepared by Milka. Although the company has no particular ties with Hungary and started making this traditional Hungarian delicacy just a couple of decades ago, their version is among the best available on the market.

Source: Budapestinfo.hu

MTI Photo: Zoltán Máthé

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