Hidden throughout Budapest in metro stations, among the stalls of markets and many storefronts, are fantastic bakeries filled with delicious baked goods. I love going to the bakery. There are so many unique baked goods that I had never seen before, and for the most part, they taste delicious with all sorts of interesting combinations of flavours mixed into the bread. My favorite, is the pogácsa.
I don’t remember how I discovered these. I think someone had bought some and let me try one. I was easily hooked. It was buttery with the perfect amount of salty or sweet. It is one of things I miss the most when I’m not in Hungary. Last time I visited, one of my Hungarian friends gave me a box with homemade pogácsa as soon as I arrived. Needless to say they didn’t last very long.
Essentially a pogácsa is like a mini scone. They’re crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside. It is light and fluffy, with many layers, almost like a croissant.
In fact, the process of making pogácsa mimics croissant making where you fold the dough over itself multiple times. If a scone and a croissant had a child, it would be the pogácsa.
There are two main bakeries that you will spot in the metro station: Fornetti and Princess. Outside of metro stations you’ll spot other bakeries, but essentially they are more or less variations on the same thing. In the city, you’re never more than a couple hundred meters from a bakery – they’re everywhere. Like the Starbucks of Budapest.
During the rush hour and constantly at main connection points, you’ll spot long lines of people waiting to get their baked goods.
These little nuggets of baked goodness are my favorite way to start my day. They’re best when they’re warm and straight out of the oven. Otherwise a couple seconds in a microwave goes a lot way.
They come in sweet and savory fillings like cheese (sajt), ham (sonka), pizza, apple (alma), chocolate (csoki), sour cherry (meggy) and the Hungarian favourite flavour, turó, which is a kind of cheese. My favorite are the sajt kreme (literally cream cheese, but its slightly salty), and spenótos (spinach).
You can’t decide what you want? Mix and match. Tell them how many you want of each and they’ll pack em up for you. If you’re trying to learn Hungarian, this is the perfect way to practice numbers and foods. I always consider it a success when I managed to get what I want using only Hungarian.
A Hungarian will always tell you that the ones purchased in these bakeries are commercialized and are no good. They’ll assure you that homemade is best and in particular their mother’s, but for those just visiting, these little pockets of deliciousness will have you craving more and more. Perfect for breakfast or as a side with your lunch or if you need an afternoon pick me up. I really miss these and need to figure out a way of making them myself!
Have you tried these before? Did you fall in love like I did? Do you know of other baked goods that look or taste similar?