Trdelnik- the Czech Winter Delight

Trdelnik- the Czech Winter Delight

2 minutes to read

As you walk through Prague’s picturesque streets, you will immediately notice the smell of a roasting pastry on an open fire, coated with caramelised sugar and cinnamon... and that's what Trdelnik is about! 

It is not very clear where trdelnik actually originates from, since there are many versions of its story. Even though most people claim that its true origin comes from the Hungarian speaking Transylvania, some individuals have a different story about its origin. It has been claimed that trdelnik comes from the Slovak town of Skalica, and it was brought from Transylvania by a Hungarian retired General, Jozsef Gvadanyi, during the 18th century. 

© Photo: Volodymyr Shtun
© Photo: Volodymyr Shtun

The locals of Skalica improved the recipe, after which the pastry got its name: Skalicky trdelnik. A "trdelnik looking pastry" is very common in many regions of Europe including northern Europe, as well as in Turkey. Let’s put history aside, and really see why trdelnik has become such a popular treat in Czechia and won the hearts of numerous tourists. 

The name trdelnik originates from the word trdlo, which is the wooden stick; these days an iron stick is also used. The dough is wrapped around the stick, and then baked on the fire or coal, while turning until it is baked to perfection. Once taken off the stick, you are left with a roll of hollow dough, hence it is not compact and heavy like other pastries. 

© Photo: Volodymyr Shtun
© Photo: Volodymyr Shtun

You can then choose your topping which is usually, sugar, walnuts or cinnamon. Some people order it with a scoop of ice-cream, especially during the summer days. For many, trdelnik might come across as a sugar bomb, although bear in mind that in its centre, it's just hollow. However, even if such kind of pastries are not your cup of tea, you can always share it with a friend, and enjoy. 

© Photo: artas
© Photo: artas

As the pastry delight is rather filling, you will come across it especially in the colder winter months. The city is packed with stalls selling food and vendors baking trdelnik over an open fire or coal. Since the Christmas season is around the corner, you will be able to find trdelnik on one of Prague’s Christmas markets; in the Old Town Square or on Wenceslas Square. In any case you will find trdelnik in all parts of the city, in more secluded areas, as well as major in tourist spots, such as the Prague Castle.

Old town square
Old town square
Old Town Square, Staroměstské nám., 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Czechia
Wenceslas Square
Wenceslas Square
Václavské nám. 846/1, 110 00 Praha 1-Můstek, Czechia
Prague Castle
Prague Castle
119 08 Prague 1, Czechia
© Photo: rglinsky
© Photo: rglinsky

Make sure that you purchase a freshly roasted piece (rather than reheated), as the taste will alter immensely. After all, watching the vendor prepare your trdelnik from scratch is a rather fascinating experience, and can be a cosy moment as you sip through your mulled wine. 

Cover picture credits ©:adisa

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The author

Masa Mesic

Masa Mesic

My name is Maša, born in Croatia but grew up in Prague. I have a great passion for gastronomy, yoga and languages. Follow my journey, as we travel through Denmark and Czechia.

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