I tasted many things during my year in Europe. Desserts didn’t come too frequently, since I was traveling on a hitchhiker’s budget. However, after working in Turkey for six months, I had the opportunity to save a bit of money for indulgences on my cycling adventure. The desserts below are nothing fancy: they’re the down-home sweets featured at local restaurants and made in corner bakeries. Treating your sweet tooth needn’t break the bank, so live a little.
Makové rezance in Stříbro, Czech Republic : sweet egg noodles topped with poppy seeds and sugar. I had this dish at a small hotel restaurant, and it still cost only a few bucks.
Käsekuchen in Dortmund, Germany: cheesecake. You can’t go wrong a cheesecake…ever. I’m biased- it’s my favorite.
Chocolate and biscuit bread in rural Hungary: I can’t pretend to know what exactly this tasty treat was. All I know is that the thee men I was with polished off the plate within an hour. On Day 13 of rafting the Danube, we docked at a jetty for the night after seeing a small town and, of course, a pub. Moments later, we were greeted by a man with a bottle of palinka in his hand. After several shots and some awesome conversation, he invited us to his house a few hundred feet away, where we continued our Hungarian drinking escapades and snacked on this delicious dessert, courtesy of his lovely fiancée. They also let us sleep in their backyard that night-an offer we immediately accepted so that we could continue experiencing the pleasure of their company in the morning, in addition to the convenient restroom benefits.
Stroopwafel in Amsterdam, Netherlands: a delicious Dutch biscuit, made from two waffle-like layers stuck together by a caramel-syrup filling. They come in packs, making it easy to share or devour several yourself. Definitely best when dunked in a tea or coffee.
Pfirsich-Streuselkuchen and Erdbeerkuchen in Dortmund, Germany: peach crumble cake and strawberry cake. These were purchased in long strips by our lovely Couchsurfing host (thanks, again!), and cost a few Euros.
Trdelník in Prague, Czech Republic: a crispy hollow pastry made on a spinning cylinder over an open flame; it’s then dusted with cinnamon and sugar. This dessert is traditionally Hungarian, called kürtőskalács, but it’s made it’s way into the heritage of Czech and Slovak cuisine. Trdelník is a popular street food in Prague, and you can watch them be made fresh at the outdoor markets. One piece will put you out of a dollar or two.
Raw cocoa and blackberry cake with a cashew nut frosting dusted with cocoa and cinnamon in Bratislava, Slovakia: I can’t remember the exact name of the dish, but every dessert offered at this raw vegan restaurant was extremely delicious and affordable.
Cold berry soup: technically, this was listed as an appetizer on the menu at Darshan Udvar etterem in Budapest, Hungary. However, it’s a light, refreshing, and sweet dish that probably would have been tasted at its full potential if it had been eaten after the savory meal. A large bowl, which I didn’t even finish, was only a few dollars.
Cocoa and coconut bonbons in Sofia, Bulgaria : Чай във фабриката (Tea House Vegetarian & Vegan Cafe) in the city center offers a handful of these molten-filled bonbons for only a few leva. Pair with a hot drink or enjoy after a tasty meal.