- 21 Sep 2023 12:29 PM
What is chimney cake?
Loosely translated as chimney cake, kürtőskalács is a spit-baked dessert originally from medieval Transylvania, in particular, Székely Land. Made of a sweet yeast dough, it is spun around long rods and then rolled in granulated sugar and basted over hot charcoal. The dough can then be flavoured according to your wishes – cinnamon is a standard if popular choice.
In recent years, kürtőskalács has enjoyed a resurgence and stalls are always a main feature of any Christmas market. You can also find any number of outlets around Budapest all year round, the sweet treat easily pulled apart and devoured as you walk along.
This year also marks the 20th anniversary of an older culinary celebration, Vitéz Kürtős, which coincides with the main event and allows organisers to take a look back at the previous delights and bring back everyone’s favourite flavours and varieties.
Some that you may have forgotten will be reintroduced – the Chimney Cake Festival team have delved into the records and picked out the best-selling products for each year. Based on their research and collective sweet memories, they’re bringing back a number of old names, so look out for the Kürtős Csapágy, the Kürtős Zserbó and the Meggyes-mákos kürtőskalács.
Of course, the classics won't be left out, and this year's star, the pistachio, will be given pride of place at the festival. Additionally, you can enjoy the Ízbombák, Édes Mackó kürtőskalács-dessert specialities, on display at 10 kürtőskalács stands and two stages throughout the entire Zoo area for guests.
There will also be a Do It Yourself tent, with gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan chimney cakes available.
Another special guest, Lehel Kürtősház from Székelyudvarhely, will be here to offer traditional, large-sized kürtőskalács, authentically produced.
The performers at the festival also echo the theme of nostalgia, with returning guests including Ildikó Keresztes, Réka Farkasházi and Tintanyúl, Éva Bolba and JAZZterlánc, along with a few surprise appearances.
Storytellers and puppeteers will be on hand to entertain younger visitors at the small stage on the side of the Holnemvolt Vár, the Once Upon A Time Castle.
Words by Peterjon Cresswell for Xpatloop.com
Peterjon has been researching the byways of Budapest for 30 years, extending his expertise across Europe to produce guidebooks for Time Out and his own website liberoguide.com