Where to Find the Most Delicious Christmas “Bejgli” Rolls in Budapest?
If you asked two Hungarians, they would definitely disagree on what the ultimate Hungarian Christmas dishes were; some would opt for the traditional fish soup, some others on turkey and there are also those who would choose stuffed cabbage. It is commonly assumed, however, that 'bejgli', the traditional walnut or poppy seed roll is an indispensable element of the festive menu.
I remember well my suspicion when I was observing first the filling inside the rolled up pastry. Walnut was familiar to me but poppy seed is not something that would be widely used in the UK.
Bejgli - Traditional Hungarian Christmas Rolls
History of The Bejgli
Bejgli is esteemed today to be the speciality of all Hungarians. Nevertheless, some say that the dough was used first in Jewish cuisine; other resources claim it to be a German, and again some others an Armenian invention.
The dough of bejgli, as we know it today, was brought to the tables from pastry shops in Bratislava thanks to the Pressburger poppy seed and walnut crescents. The crescent-shape pastry soon became a roll, keeping the walnut and poppy seed filling of the original concept.
By the end of the 19th century, Hungarian cuisine has integrated the rolls or beigels. To illustrate the extent to which bejgli is also considered abroad an organic part of Hungarian gastronomy, the following infographic represents well the different Christmas specialities of countries around the world.
Nándori Pastry Shop is The Place to Find The Classics
At this shop, in Ráday Street (Ráday utca) bejglis are made with special care: for the walnut roll they use ten different types of walnut, candied and grounded orange zest and raisins whereas the poppy seed filling is mixed with raisin paste and a drop of plum jam. One of their specialities is the walnut-poppy seed bejgli crown that could be a real jewel of a nicely decorated Christmas table. They also make rolls with chestnut, plum jam and cocoa filling for those who wish to have a traditional desert with a special flavour.
Tasty Raw Vegan Bejgli, The Healthy Choice - RepaRetek
RepaRetek is a vegan food delivery company in Budapest. They banished the white beet sugar and many additives from the kitchen and they use different cereals and seeds, fresh and dried fruits to create delicious dessert.
Their vegan raw walnut bejgli is a real specialty: this cake contains nothing but fruits and seeds. Those who do not consume animal source food should try this Christmas rolls.
Try Out The Delicate Bejglis of Zsolnay Café
At first, the orange or plum filling might sound a little bizarre but you would definitely miss out on something great if you don’t give it a go. It is worth to try out their walnut or poppy seed bejglis as well, especially because they are also available in a diabetic version. (But my favourite tastes are sour cherry-poppy seed and orange bejgli.)
These masterpieces are made based by the original, copyrighted recipes of György Bechmann, master confectioner of Zsolnay Cafe at Radisson Blu Béke Hotel, creator of a well-famous gingerbread house as well. It would be a mistake to believe that bejglis are the only attractive delicacies here. It is worth to pop by every day, and try to resist to the temptation. Speaking of experience, it will just not happen!
For The Amateurs of Traditional Jewish Cuisine, Let Me Recommend Tortaszalon (“Cake Salon”)
The shop is managed by Ráchel Raj, an outrageously young lady compared to me. She used to study fashion design; that is why she started to be interested in custom-made design cakes. Like mother, like daughter, Noé Pastry Shop used to be actually managed by her mother before.
Ráchel Raj designs her cakes herself and the decoration and figures are made using marzipan, sponge cake and pastry cream. But besides the cakes, flódni (a traditional Hungarian Jewish apple, walnut, and poppy seed pastry) and of course walnut, chestnut and poppy seed bejglis also merit a mention. They didn’t forget about those either with special diabetic dietary needs and bejglis are made especially for them as well here.
Delicious Bites for Lovers of Vegan Cuisine in Édeni Vegán.
I have discovered this place behind Batthyány Square (Batthyány tér) a couple of years ago. I found there a restaurant with a friendly atmosphere that is not pretentious at all. Édeni Vegán offers bejglis for Christmas made with traditional sugar and with Xylitol as well, and all for an accessible price. If you are bored of walnut and poppy seed filling, try out the chestnut-sour cherry rolls!
If Once I Am on Buda Side, I would Never Miss Daubner Pastry Shop
This is the only place in the city which offers marzipan-sour cherry-blueberry flavour and Gerbaud Rolls as well. This latter one is a real treat: the dough is filled with walnut-apricot jam filling and the whole roll is covered in chocolate. By the way: instead of bejgli ask for “tekercs” (roll in Hungarian) because this is what they call here the indispensable Christmas dessert.