Panoramas / Tradition craftsmen

Kütőskalács baking

Cernatu de Sus

The kürtőskalács (kurtoshkalach) is one of the specialties of the Szekler kitchen, an important gastronomic symbol of the region. Nevertheless it is more likely that the representatives of many European nations would feel familiar with this delicacy in vogue, served at a Szekler wedding. Beside the Transylvanian Saxons, the Swedes, Lithuanians, Polish, Germans, Austrians, Czechs, Moravians, Slovaks from Skalica and French from the Pyreneans also make sweet cakes baked on spit for major festive occasions.

The Hungarian name refers to the basic part of a duct connecting an oven to the chimney, which resembles to the shape of a fresh, steaming cake. When the cake is taken off from the spit in one piece, it gets the shape of a 25-30 centimeter long vent.

The first known recipe of kürtőskalács originates from Transylvania, included in the 1784 cookbook of Countess Mária Mikes of Zabola. By the end of the 18th century, kürtőskalács had become popular in all Hungarian speaking regions, but in the middle of the 20th century it was baked almost only in Szeklerland.

On the eastern edge of Hungarian speaking regions, on the periphery of the Szeklerland, baking tools in the form of fireplaces survived all along till the end of 19th century. Such open fires, or the front part of bread baking ovens, made it possible to stick to the practice of baking kürtőskalács over cinders.