Trdelnik: A Traditional East European Pastry

Trdelnik: A Traditional East European Pastry

Trdelnik is a popular street food in East Europe especially in Prague. For me, it is one of the most delicious pastries that I have tasted in Europe. Traditionally this taste is more associated with Prague however it is a shared recipe among East European countries.

Trdelnik is getting very popular within Europe as a street food and it is possible to encounter it in many other European cities. So far have encountered it in a couple of Christmas Markets in Germany and Austria.

What is the story behind Trdelnik? What makes this taste so attractive for tourists?  The delight and popularity of this traditional pastry increased my curiosity over it.

Why is it called Trdelnik?

Trdelnik is called in a certain way based on the way it is cooked. Trdelnik is a Czech word which comes from “trdlo” which is the spindle where the dough is wrapped. Trdelnik actually has a very simple recipe, yet an addictive taste. The dough is made by mixing wheat, flour, butter, sugar and then grilled over a fire on a wrapped spindle.

Trdelnik: A Traditional East European Pastry
Taste’n Travel: Trdelnik stands on the street corners of Prague.

There are many different flavours, both salty and sweet. The most original version is sweet, cinnamon flavoured cake glazed with caramelised sugar. Filling inside with ice cream is also a popular way of preparing it.

Where is Trdelnik originated from?

When you talk about Trdelnik, the first place that comes to mind is Prague. Today, Trdelnik is very much linked with the city’s bohemian spirit even though, it has recently become popular in Chekia. Many old Czech people do not know about the existence of Trdelnik.

The way it is promoted as a marketing gives impression that it is Traditional Czech Recepie. However, the way it is prepared is a common way of cooking. According to the experts, it existed since the Neolithic Times from the way it is baked. It was one of the ways to cook dough even before the ovens existed.

There are various views about the history of this pastry that it is believed to be originated from Hungary, Slovakia or Sweden. There are also claims that Trdelnik recipe was brought by Hungarian General Jozsef Gvadanyi in the 18th century. Here is an informative web article about the history of Trdelnik.

Trdelnik: A Traditional East European Pastry
Taste’n Travel: Trdelnik stand in a Christmas Market in Vienna.

 

Being a common pastry among many Eastern European, Trdelnik is called differently in other countries. In Hungary it is called Kürtőskalács, in Romania it is Colac secuiesc, in Germany it is Baumstriezel and in Turkish it is Makara.

Despite the shared tradition, the Czech version of Trdelnik is the most popular in Europe. Furthermore, Czechs have their own unique recipe for Trdelnik which makes it a traditional Czech food.

Where to try Trdelnik in Prague?

You can encounter many Tredelnik stands in Prague and as a visitor, it is highly recommended for you to taste it at least once during your visit. You can easily get addicted to this delicious taste in a short time.

A number of places are available in old town of Prague however not all of them make good quality food. Make sure that you don’t end up in a tourist trap. A good place to taste Trdelnik is Good Food.There are different type of Trdelniks (Chimneys). The Tripadvisor rating for Good Food is 4,5 out of 5. Click here for the official website and also the menu.

I would recommend trying the different versions of Trdelnik, both sweet and salty. For sweet you can try the ones such as with ice cream or Nutella, for salty the one with cheese is quite delicious. My favourite is the most classic one, with cinnamon and sugar.

If you want to try Trdelnik at home, here is a good recipe for it.

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