Cocó7 – Chocolate shop and exhibition workshop

The magical Bernadett Bretz has been selling her hand-made pralines at this sweet café-boutique in the shadow of the Buda Castle hill since 2016. The pralines come in all colours, shapes and flavours, in-cluding exotic fillings such as Calamondin orange, mango-saffron, ginger and matcha-caramel, and even coffee, whisky, Limoncello and Tokaji Aszú.

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Some mignons, macarons, tartelettes and other traditional French fine desserts are also placed in the displays, alongside cakes richly covered in chocolate. The open exhibition workshop, which offers a look into the making of the pralines, takes up a large space within the store. The shop’s name Cocó is also the owner’s nickname, and she is a mother of seven who has studied the art of making chocolate both in France and the Hungarian Csokoládé Akadémia. If you have a little time to spend, get a hot chocolate, coffee or tea and try one of the sweet delicacies on the spot.

Budapest, District I, 1 Hattyú Street. Open: Mondays to Fridays from 09.00 to 19.00, Saturdays and Sundays from 10.00 to 18.00. Call +36-1-615-0746, or see http://coco7.hu.


At the praline counter of Café Gerbeaud

Gerbeaud is the classic among the Budapest cafés, celebrating its 160th birthday this year. Although many guests visit the honourable house at Vörösmarty square only for coffee and cake, chocolate fans should not miss out on the exclusive selection of hand-made pralines. They come in many dif-ferent contemporary flavours, such as cinnamon, salty caramel, marzipan and cappuccino, and more traditional ones such as raspberries and strawberries. Packaged in wooden boxes or stylish gift boxes made of reinforced cardboard, they make not only a great souvenir for tourists but a real eye-catcher as a gift for any occasion.

On the occasion of the anniversary, the traditional confectionary created, in collaboration with the renowned French chocolate factory Cacao Barry, the “Or Noir 1858“, a bitter-herbal chocolate bar with a cocoa content of at least 71.9 percent. The cocoa beans for this chocolate are sourced from Mexico, Tanzania and Cuba. Elegantly wrapped in golden and blue paper, this fruity aromatic choco-late is something really special for the connoisseurs.

Budapest, District V, 7-8 Vörösmarty Square, Open: daily from 09.00 to 21.00. Call +36-1-429-9000, or see https://gerbeaud.hu/.


The Rózsavölgy Chocolate Factory’s showroom

For all the sugar and cocoa addicts out there, the Rózsavölgy Chocolate Factory has been a secret tip for a few years. When you enter their Budapest city centre showroom, you are immediately greeted by a scent of fresh chocolate. They offer chocolate bars, pralines, bonbons, caramelised nuts, roasted chocolate beans and drinking chocolate, and fruits and coffee beans covered in chocolate.

The operators, Katalin Csiszár and Zsolt Szabad, produce all their own goods without any preserva-tives or flavour enhancers at their factory in Budafok. Some of the hand-made creations are elaborate-ly decorated. Csiszár, a former graphic designer and illustrator, designs and develops everything her-self, from the packaging to the pralines themselves.

Perhaps it was the smart design that helped Rózsavölgy to gain a foothold abroad. These Hungarian chocolates are now exported to numerous places including EU countries, Switzerland, Canada and the USA. Moreover, when you buy a chocolate bar with the label Rózsavölgy, you are helping to conserve gorillas in Africa, because the producers are donating part of their income to this cause.

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Budapest, District V, 6 Királyi Pál Street. Open: Monday to Friday from 10.30 to 13.00 and from 13.30 to 18.30, on Saturdays from 12.00 to 18.00. Call +36-30-504-4294, or see www.rozsavolgyi.com.


At the luxury boutique GHRAOUI – sweet temptation from the Near East

Sandwiched between two designer shops on Andrássy Avenue, you will find this splendid little bou-tique. At first look it’s hard to tell if it really sells chocolate, or rather pearls and diamonds. The deli-cately designed pralines made by Near Eastern producer GHRAOUI are presented in glass showcases. In terms of taste, you can find everything your taste buds would ever dream of, and in terms of design you will find the most beautiful chocolate creations in Budapest. Around Christmastime, GHRAOUI offered its clients numerous hand-painted Christmas figurines made of milk chocolate.

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The company comes from Syria and has a history of more than 200 years. GHRAOUI first imported several kinds of products, and they introduced chocolate in the Near East in the 1930s. It is hard to imagine but this delicacy was so unfamiliar in the region that the producer first had to offer a free gift with the chocolate bars, such as a golden letter-opener.

However, only a short time later, chocolate became a real hit and GHRAOUI became the most im-portant producer in the region. The Syrian civil war ended their prosperous business and after 2012 the traditional company had to temporarily move its production facilities. Last year GHRAOUI was reborn in Hungary. The boutique in Budapest is their first branch in Europe, with another to open in Paris this year.

Budapest, District VI, 31 Andrássy Avenue, open: Mondays to Saturday from 10.00 to 19.00. Call +36-1-398-8791, or see https://ghraouichocolate.com.


At artisan chocolatier CASCA – hand-made chocolate and coffee

People who prefer a little unusual gourmet chocolate should certainly pay a visit here, near Oktogon. The hand-made products of CASCA, which opened in 2015, are making a difference for one thing with their striking appearance: The pralines covered with colourful marbled glaze look like real gem-stones. Different kinds of fillings are hiding under the chocolate shell, with surprising flavour combi-nations such as poppy seed-blueberry, amarena cherries or sea salt-caramel. The establishment also offers all kinds of chocolate truffles, fruits and nuts covered in chocolate and diverse sweet candies.

CASCA prepares its specialty coffee and drinking chocolates with the same attention and care as its pralines. On cold winter days the shop designed in a minimalist style is an attractive place for anyone who would like to warm up a little after taking a stroll along Andrássy.

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Budapest, District VI, 3 Jókai Square. Open: From Monday to Friday from 08.00 to 19.00. Call +36-20-551-4500, or see www.facebook.com/cascacsoki/.


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