Prague: Trdelnik, or a Rolled Pastry
A fun thing about Prague (besides the architecture, the castle, the old streets and bustling squares, the buskers) is an unusual-looking sweet treat. We passed many shops selling a cylindrical pastry called a trdelnik, and on the second day Nath and Sonya succumbed to the tempting aromas that wafted through the streets as we wandered around! These trdelnik (not sure if the plural is trdelniks!) are usually sold hot with the traditional dusting of cinnamon, sugar, and nuts, but many other flavors/toppings are also offered.
The trdelnik is made by wrapping dough around a stick (originally wooden but mostly metal these days) that rotates continuously while roasting the pastry over coals or a low gas fire until golden brown. The name trdelník comes from trdlo, the wooden stake the cake was/is wrapped around for cooking, giving it its traditional hollow shape.
Usually, you can watch part of the process of trdelnik-making when you buy one, as the vendors often sell from open stalls along the street or in squares, and make these pastries fresh as passersby request them.
Trdelník is a traditional Slovak sweet pastry, supposedly originating in the Slovak town of Skalica near the border with the Czech Republic. But, other countries, such as Lithuania, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Romania, have their own versions of a pastry baked on a spit over a fire. Nowadays, trdelník is very popular among tourists as a sweet pastry especially in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The civil association “Skalický trdelník” was founded at the end of 2004 with the goal of keeping the tradition of the original open-fire Trdelník production. I guess that tradition is under threat these days.
Was the trdelnik as good as advertised?
What was the taste verdict for Sonya’s cinnamon and Nath’s poppy-seed trdelnik? Thumbs up! Sweet and a little flaky. A delicious inexpensive snack, washed down with fresh-squeezed lemonade.