Artisan chocolates, handmade candy, boutique chocolatiers and chocolate courses in Budapest
Hungary's obsession with sweets has already produced a number of delicious cakes like Dobos torte and Esterházy cake, great confectioner dynasties like Szamos and Auguszt, and the world famous dessert wine Tokaji. Nowadays, boutique chocolatiers are popping up all over Hungary, handcrafting the finest chocolate bars, truffles, candies and bonbons you will ever taste. Made from fresh ingredients, using no preservatives, these sweet treats are gaining popularity among chocoholics and candy lovers. Handmade candies and artisan chocolates make for a lovely gift. Here are some of the best places to satisfy your chocolate cravings when visiting Budapest accompanied by some 'sweet' photos from the 2012 Budapest Chocolate and Candy Festival.
Rózsavölgyi has a full line of exceptional sweets, including truffles, 'bean to bar' chocolates, chocolate bars and hot chocolate mixes, but it's their richly flavored and beautifully crafted bonbons that truly stand out. In 2011, their fine chocolate bonbons gained international recognition from the Academy of Chocolate in London, where chocolatier Katalin Csiszár was awarded both a silver and a bronze medal. Their traditional favorites, like vanilla truffle or almond chocolate are must-tries. For a more exotic flavor, go for the hot paprika or pálinka (Hungarian fruit brandy) infused chocolate bars. The sweet treats come in all shapes and sizes, from flowers and tools to small sculptures. Rózsavölgyi's artisan chocolates are made from fair trade cocoa beans from Venezuela and Madagascar.
Flagship store: Királyi Pál utca 6, District 5
Hours: Monday - Friday: 10:30 am to 6:30 pm, Saturday: noon to 6 pm, Sunday: closed
Chocolatier Bea Wagner opened her chocolate shop in 2007. Today, Keserédes sells about 40 different types of handmade truffles, bonbons and pralines, a variety of chocolate bars, along with hot chocolate and coffee. Made from the best Belgian, French and local ingredients, with no preservatives or additives, Keserédes creates delightfully fresh and distinct flavors. House specialties include Sea Salt Caramel, Tokaji Bonbon and Rose Truffle. Creamy fillings, rich caramel, fruits, nuts, flower essences and unusual flavor combinations make Keserédes a local favorite. Besides the freshly made treats the shop also sells organic honey and it stocks all ingredients for chocolate making, should you fancy to try it on your own.
Flagship store: Katona József utca 22, District 13
Hours: Monday - Friday: 11 am to 7 pm, Saturday: 10 am to 2 pm, Sunday: closed
If you thought that candy making was a lost art then you have to visit Cukorka. Owner András Gerzsenyi, who comes from a family of candy makers, revives a dying tradition. Cukorka handcrafts premium candy using only the finest ingredients and traditional candy making techniques. The tiny shop, which also serves as a workshop, is always full of sweet smells. Visitors can get a sneak-peek of the art of candy making throughout the day. Sugar candy comes in all shapes, colors and flavors here, including an array of lollypops. Trendy ingredients like chili, lavender, rum and gin add a modern twist to traditional candy making. Cukorka is also a great place with kids.
Flagship store: Múzeum krt 7, District 5
Hours: Monday - Friday: 10 am to 7 pm, Saturday: 10 am to 3 pm, Sunday: closed
This family-owned small bonbon manufactory uses only natural ingredients to create a line of top-notch chocolates. Zangio's artisan bonbons are a mixture of fine chocolate and fresh ingredients like ginger, mint and juniper. Products come in chic boxes and there are over twenty flavors to choose from. The 'fruit-garden' bonbon selection includes flavors like, cherry, raspberry, passion fruit and lemon while the 'spicy-numbers' have creamy fillings like coffee, mint, tea and poppy-seed. Owner and creator Zoltán Pap mastered the bonbon-making technique in France at the famous Valrhona and Lenôtre chocolate factories.
Flagship store: Wesselényi utca 6, District 7
Hours: Monday - Friday: noon to 7 pm, Saturday & Sunday: closed
One of the great names of Hungarian chocolate and pastry making, the Szamos confectioner dynasty, has been around since the 1930's. Best known for their delicious marzipan creations, Szamos remains a classic with several locations throughout the city. Their flagship store offers all sorts of delectable cakes, pastries and macaroons along with a huge variety of marzipan bonbons, including their signature piece, the marzipan rose. The tiny chocolate factory on site reveals the secrets of chocolate making. Chocophiles can even sign up for a chocolate making course. Szamos marzipan is a great gift for anyone with a sweet tooth. You can't go wrong with 'Szamosgolyó', a chocolate coated marzipan bonbon with orange, plum, hazelnut, peanut, cherry or fig filling.
Flagship store: Szamos Gourmet Ház, Váci utca 1, District 5
Hours: Monday - Sunday: 8:30 am to 9 pm
Chefparade Chocolate Factory
Ever wondered how chocolate is made? With Chefparade's hands-on chocolate classes anyone can master the technique of making delicious handcrafted bonbons, truffles and other chocolate treats. You can prepare your own chocolate creation and learn about the history of chocolate. It's a fun and delicious event with lots of chocolate tasting and chocolate making.
Address: Sas utca 21, District 5
More info & sign-up: Chefparade Chocolate Making Course
Other noteworthy Hungarian artisan chocolate labels include ChocoMe and Hegyközi. They don't have flagship stores, but their products are widely available in Budapest. Finally, the best place to meet Hungary's premium chocolatiers and taste fine, homemade chocolate is at the annual Chocolate and Candy Festival held in September.
Want to know more about Hungarian sweets? Sign up for a Sweet Budapest Culinary & Cultural Walking Tour.
Photos by Márk Mervai