A Coffee and Dessert Tour in Budapest

“We will be visiting some of Budapest’s most grand and historical cafes and also some of the best independent new wave coffee shops” our tour guide told us. What type of coffee do you both usually drink? Long or short?”

Budapest cafe tour

Pumpkin and I exchanged a subtle but awkward glance. I wasn’t entirely sure what the correct answer was but an instinctive hunch was telling me that it wasn’t “Frappucino with sugar-free hazelnut syrup and no whipped cream.”

Taste Hungary Dessert Tour

I may not have been a coffee aficionado prior to starting this tour but three hours later, I felt readier than ever to branch out from my longstanding love of tea. That’s the thing about a great food tour – it reaffirms your love for some things (cake, cake, always cake) and flirtatiously teases you into experimenting with others (coffees, sweet wines and chocolates with tarragon?!)

food walking tour Budapest

The Taste Hungary Dessert and Coffee Tour of Budapest

Within just a few hours of our arrival in Budapest, we happily found ourselves on an intimate Taste Hungary culinary tour, accompanied by one fellow food fiend, a passionate local guide and one of Budapest’s most savvy baristas who was learning the guiding ropes and sharing her oodles of expertise on all things coffee in the process.

All good foodie experiences commence with an aperitif and this one was no different with the delicate taste of Hungarian Tokaj dessert wine served to us by a sommelier in the basement of a fine Budapest wine store, as we all became acquainted with each other.

Budapest wine tasting

And for any regular readers who are wondering if I tasted some, yes I did and I must say, even to the alcohol naïve palate, these amber notes went down a treat. I could easily have indulged in a little more but if I did ever fancy toppling into a state of alcoholic stupor, I certainly wouldn’t do so at the expense of cake!

Tokaj Hungarian dessert wine

But all good things come to those who wait and before biting into the decadent slabs of Hungarian cakes awaiting us, we started off our Saturday afternoon with a caffeine hit, as so many locals do, at one of the new wave coffee shops.

Budapest’s Third Wave Coffee Shops

London is filled with branches planted on every corner by giant international coffee chains and whilst I won’t pretend I don’t occasionally drop in on them, there is something far more refreshing about the smaller, independent tea and coffee houses that represent a different movement altogether. These third wave establishments have an emphasis on artisanal produce, ethically sourced ingredients, the entirety of the journey from coffee plantation to bean to cup and an appreciation of the most delicate and subtle flavours embodied within the drink.

new wave cafe coffee Budapest

The standout drink of the day for me was the Cascara coffee, a drink made from the dried husks of coffee cherries collected after the coffee beans have been removed from them.

Carasca Coffee Cherry Tea
Cascara – the dried husks of the coffee cherry

With a fruity undertone to it, I couldn’t help but raise my glass for another sip every few seconds. I described it to Pumpkin as tasting more akin to a “coffee-flavoured herbal tea” and interestingly, when I read more about it upon returning home, I found that it is indeed often referred to as coffee cherry tea.

Budapest Baristas Coffee Tour

Traditional Hungarian Cakes & Iconic Old Coffee Houses

Wines and coffees aside, however, any sugar monster who books themselves onto a dessert tour is ultimately after one thing and our first dessert hit came in the form of a Sacher torte, which many of you may thought of as being an Austrian classic. Indeed, I tasted Austrian Sacher at Café Sacher itself during my Christmas Market break in Vienna and Salzburg a couple of years ago but we were told the Hungarian version is a little more moist. With my eyes shut, I am not sure I would have spotted a difference and frankly, I didn’t dwell on it for too long before piercing away with my fork. It’s a little like comparing shiny diamond with shinier diamond – one may have the edge but you’re not about to say no to either!

Taste Hungary food tours

The Kremes cake (cream cake) that accompanied it contrasted in colour and texture with decadent, fluffy custard cream sandwiched between layers of melt-in-the-mouth flaky pastry. This, too, reminded me very much of the renowned Kremsnita Cake from Lake Bled, Slovenia so I was starting to see that whilst these nations have their own distinct geographical boundaries, the cake borders are much more fluid.

Kremes Cream Cake Budapest

But where are those traditional Hungarian Dobos torte cakes I hear you ask, the ones you saw so diligently made on the Great British Bake Off with layers of soft sponge sandwiched with chocolate buttercream and topped with caramel and named after a famous Hungarian confectioner?

Central Kavhaz Budapest

They appeared at our next stop, Central Kavehaz, a high-ceilinged iconic coffee-house with old world glamour that once served as a safe and welcome working and meeting space for poets, authors and artists.

Best Cafes Budapest

As we sliced through the stack of creamy uniform layers of our cakes, we remembered that the café, where we now so effortlessly enjoy a late afternoon snack, once held such significance in shaping Budapest’s cultural and artistic heritage.

Central Cafe Budapest

Although the Dobos torte has achieved the greatest fame, there are many other layer cakes filling shelves in cafes all over the city and you must not leave the city without indulging in at least one!

Hungarian Dobos layer cake

Some of you may be fearing that the sugar highs of a tour like this will leave you feeling a little queasy in the tummy and overfull but like most well-planned food tours, we were doing so much walking in between stops, taking in the architecture, learning about the history of the city and chatting like a group of friends that we always felt ready for another small bite whenever we reached our next food stop.

coffee dessert tour Budapest

I always find that food tour guides are great people to steal tips from for other restaurants to seek out during your visit. We want food tips from locals. We want recommendations from those who know the city’s hits and misses and consider themselves foodies and when you ask a food tour guide, you’re getting all of that in one go so are almost guaranteed to be pointed toward something special.

award winning chocolate Budapest

Award Winning Chocolate in Budapest

Saving the best till last, the most surprising find of the day came at the end of the tour when we were introduced to a tiny chocolate shop, which has recently received an award at a renowned international chocolate festival.

best chocolate shop Budapest

Run and founded by a husband and wife couple who had a background in graphic design, their fresh and stylish artistic designs are featured on both the packaging and the chocolate itself.

artisan chocolate Budapest

I have never taken to marzipan in the past but the bergamot infused version here was one of the most irresistible pieces of chocolate I have ever enjoyed and they had a clear grasp on innovative flavours that have a chemistry when paired, such as chocolate and tarragon.

Rózsavölgyi chocolates Budapest

 

We were advised on the tour that it is worth returning again during our stay. We took their word for it and had absolutely no regrets. I have previously blogged about my favourite chocolate shops in Brussels as well my top chocolate finds in Bruges but this little artisan chocolatier has some of the most creative chocolates I have ever come across.

best chocolates Budapest

On my last visit to Budapest a decade ago, I must admit I took very little notice of the foodie scene, which is something I cursed myself for as I got older and increasingly heard rave reports about the quality of the cuisine out there so for anyone with a penchant for the life’s sweeter treats (or really great coffee), an experience like this will certainly help to avoid that FOMO when you get home.

award winning chocolate Budapest

 

Disclaimer: We were guests of Taste Hungary during this tour but I firmly believe that no one should waste calories on bad desserts (!) and would only ever share my own opinions. As for my own cakes – there’s no sharing. Period.

If you love exploring local flavours on your travels, read more about this great food tour in Ljubljana, an authentic Marrakech food walk or a dessert tour in London.

Are you more for the savoury or the sweet foods in life?

42 thoughts on “A Coffee and Dessert Tour in Budapest

  1. Coffee and cake = two of my favourite things! This sounds like a lovely food tour, Shikha! I love it when food tours end up showing you a different side to a city/a scene you may have not discovered yourself. I think I’ll need to get back to Budapest to taste some of these coffee treats!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 28, 2016 — 6:04 am

      Oh I didn’t realise you were a coffee lover Kasha – then you’d definitely love this tour!! I was so impressed at some of the fabulous artisan coffees they had in cafes there – it got me Googling similar places in London!

  2. I would never have thought of Budapest for the food but now I’m dying to go just to try all this cake!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 28, 2016 — 6:09 am

      I know what you mean Ayla. It’s not necessarily somewhere that would cross people’s minds at first thought when you’re top foodie countries around the world but Hungarian cuisine is actually really yummy & Budapest is full of delicious restaurants & beautiful grand cafés where you kind of *have* to enjoy a piece of cake! Very close to Austria where coffee and cake culture is huge too but often people forget that it’s similar in Hungary too!

  3. I like the fact that they asked you how you liked your coffee at the start! I’d definitely have to check out that chocolate shop and the wood flavoured chocs!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 28, 2016 — 6:10 am

      Honestly Suze, no exaggeration, it did some of the most creative, delicious chocolates I have ever tasted & that’s despite trips to Belgium & Switzerland!! (Plus just a tiny husband and wife team so a really fantastic little business success) ☺

  4. yummy! I remember some great cakes from Budapest!:)

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 28, 2016 — 6:11 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed them too Tanja! Loved their layer cakes!

  5. Wow what tasty looking treats! I soo need to get to Budapest soon! 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 28, 2016 — 6:13 am

      Oh yes! Your sweet tooth will not be left lacking in Budapest Becky, that’s for sure!

  6. I’ve never been to Budapest, but those cakes could easily persuade me to go. The layer cakes look amazing.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 28, 2016 — 6:14 am

      It’s a great foodie destination Mette. I knew about Dobos Torte before I went but had absolutely no idea they have so many different types of layer cakes – not sure how I missed all this on my first visit there! :mrgreen:

  7. THIS IS GETTING ME SO EXCITED! Ahem :

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 28, 2016 — 6:15 am

      Hehe, there are cities and then there are cake cities! You know firmly which one Budapest & Vienna are Emma! 😁

  8. Wow. What a stunning tour. I love visiting your blog but it does ignore my wanderlust and chocolate cravings to ridiculous levels!!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 28, 2016 — 6:17 am

      Haha, my blog apologises profusely to the craving centres of your brain Mandy! :mrgreen: It was a delicious tour actually & as much as I loved the delicious cakes & chocolates, it was the unusual coffees etc that I was most surprised by as I really wasn’t expecting to like them!

  9. I should not look at this kind of posts when lunch is approaching! O gosh, the places look so beautiful and the food… yuuuummyyy!

    Aria

    https://pandaonavespa.wordpress.com/welcome/

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 28, 2016 — 6:19 am

      Aaaww thanks so much Aria for commenting! But I know exactly what you mean as nowadays I try to make sure I’m reading blogs after my meals and not before for the exact same reason! :mrgreen: Budapest is such a pretty city yet full of delicious food and cakes!

      1. Ahaha! Reading after the meal is actually a very smart idea =) I totally agree: Budapest is sooo beautiful!!

  10. What a fab idea for a tour and the chocolate shop looks so cute.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 28, 2016 — 6:20 am

      It really worked Angie as the coffee breaks & all the walking helped to prevent the tour feeling too rich or sickly sweet. But the little chocolates were just divine – a handful of flavours only but each one I tried was flawless!

  11. Looks like an afternoon incredibly well spent! I’d love one of each cake please and the begamot-infused marzipan too, thanks 🙂 xx

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 28, 2016 — 6:22 am

      Hehe, coming right up! Don’t you think we should totally extend our London cake date to a Europe city break cake weekend?! :mrgreen: I was really surprised by the marzipan as it’s not usually my thing but with the bergamot – just wow!!

  12. I read your artickel with big pleasure-
    Yes,our gastronomy became more multiple in the last decade, but the cake-culture was continuosly very strong.The new artisan coffee shops and cafe are the big flash in Budapest life,what in the first time I drunk in London in Workshop Cafe and I was very surpriced.
    I hope you enjoyed your journey and wish all the best from Budapest-Zsanett

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 28, 2016 — 6:26 am

      Thank you so much for reading & for sharing your experiences Zsanett! I think I was so busy sightseeing on my first visit that I didn’t stop to appreciate the cuisine (and the cakes!)during my previous visit all those years ago so I tried my best to make up for it this time & the food & desserts were so delicious! You live in such a beautiful city! Absolutely 💜 Budapest!

  13. We spent 3 months in Budapest last year and it’s one of our favorite cities, primarily for cultural reasons; the thermal baths, the historic coffee shops, and the ruin bars. We actually found the cost of the Taste Hungary food tour prohibitive and did our own version, visiting all there stops (including a nap in between because you get filled up fast on Hungarian food. I don’t know if you had a chance to eat a langos).Great time.
    Sounds like you also had fun 🙂
    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 29, 2016 — 6:18 pm

      You know what, I missed out on a langos as they weren’t on every corner when I was there though a couple of locals told me they’re much more prevalent at Christmas and winter time but I was disappointed not to have tried one and will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled if I return! How nice to have spent so long out there – it’s one of my favourite cities and I can completely see why you like it so much ☺

      1. You’re right, they’re not everywhere. We found a good one at the Central Market Hall (actually the same one Taste Hungary visits on one of their tours).
        A lot of people compare Budapest and Prague, another city we love (we’ve spent a total of 4 months there and always make it back). They’re actually quite different: Prague is gorgeous and much more impressive. But Budapest is a place where you can live, never get bored, and where you don’t have to navigate the tourist hordes in the summer the way you do in Prague. We love them both but for very different reasons.

  14. Sounds like a mouthwatering tour. Chocolate and tarragon – need to try that sometime 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 29, 2016 — 6:19 pm

      It really works Suzanne! Close call between that one and the bergamot marzipan as far as my favourites go! ☺

  15. OMG, you know I cannot be impartial to desserts and this post made me drool a little for those decadent chocolates and delightful cakes. Yum!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 2, 2016 — 8:34 am

      Hehe, I think when you and I eventually meet, it is going to be a SERIOUS dessert fest!! Time to bring on the stretchy pants 😀 The chocolates were my absolute favourite – a tiny little husband and wife business with a small shop and they’ve gone on to win awards in the international chocolate world – oh to be a judge on that panel!!

      1. Oh yes, I already can’t wait to meet up!!! 🙈💕

  16. looks decadent and delicious!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 2, 2016 — 8:34 am

      A bit too decadent Andy – I stayed well away from the scales for a few weeks after this trip! 🙂

  17. Ladies what travel May 31, 2016 — 2:03 pm

    This looks like it was so much fun (anything that involves cake is fun to me!). I managed to visit a few of the cafes during my trip earlier this month but wish I’d done a tour like this. I will definitely book one when I head back – I loved the city so much I plan to return ASAP!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 2, 2016 — 9:47 am

      You and I are two of a kind Keri! Budapest is a great cake city isn’t it, actually it’s a great city generally and I’m so delighted to hear that you loved it as much as I did and managed to visit a few of the cafes. There aren’t too many cities in Europe where I find myself wanting to return over and over again but even after a couple of trips there now, I still want to go back! My family are going later in the year after I persuaded them and I’m honestly tempted to hop on board again 😀

  18. Budapest has been on my list for so long this just put it higher on my list!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 2, 2016 — 9:54 am

      You must go Binny – you’ll love it and did I mention, ALL of the cake?! 😀

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