In the midst of the pandemic, Hungarian Christmas delicacy traditions forged on with the annual best of the year szaloncukor (parlor candy) competition. Typically Hungarians purchase a lot of this sweet candy each year and around HUF 9 billion are sold in the Christmas season.
The candy has a unique history as it can be traced back to the 1700s in Lyon, France. From Lyon it was brought to Hungary by a German pastry chef. It was in the 1900s when the popularity of this sweet Christmas treat grew. Traditionally, the most popular flavors are jelly and marzipan filled. The best of the year parlor candy competition creates an opportunity for new and improved concoctions to make the list and grow in popularity.
This year’s competition, for the first time ever, was organized as a civil initiative. Both small and large manufacturers had a chance to compete during these unprecedented times. They had the ability to decide to take part this year or not and how many candies they wanted to enter. The organizers who made this competition possible are Ádám and Gergely Kovács.
This year manufacturers nominated a total of 109 flavors. The winner was the salted caramel flavored szaloncukor. Runner up was a coconut cream candy from Gyula Kézműves Cukrászda. Third place was taken by Stühmer’s pistachio cream candy.
The organizers of the event also had a category that focused on candy for the more sensitive consumers. This year, Sulyán Cukrázda won first place in the sugar free category with their prune, almond, walnut and dark chocolate candy. Runner up went to Stümer’s milk chocolate candy filled with peanut butter, and third went to an almond-chocolate candy from Tesco Finest.
It is expected that less szaloncukor will be purchased this year in comparison to the previous years, due to the epidemic. However, these special treats along with other exceptional hand crafted and artisanal chocolates can be found in shops and mostly online to continue the sweet Christmas tradition.
Photo credit: Origo