I love surprises in life and occasionally, even in my food. How about you? So recently, when I saw what looked like plain white dinner rolls, I didn’t think much about them until I took my first bite.
Inside the tender pastry, there was a sweet surprise, a delicious fruity plum filling. In Czech, buchta means a small roll or cake. It is made from a sweet yeast dough and is like a jelly donut, but even better with fillings such as cheese and raisins (tvaroh), poppy seeds (mák) and fruit including plums (povidla) or apples (jablko). Now when I see buchta, I don’t need to know what’s inside, because it’s likely that I will enjoy any of the sweet or salty fillings. Buchta can be eaten any time of day including breakfast or as a tasty snack between meals.
But perhaps you haven’t seen any buchta in Brno?
Well, it’s possible because this Czech specialty is often made and consumed at home or in school canteens. Many families use their own recipe for buchta and I’ve included some delicious recipes and helpful videos so you can make it, too.
But if you would rather not prepare your own, I have good news. While you can find buchta at supermarkets, it can’t compare to the home-made buns you can find at the local shop Kolonial, or in the café, Buchta B. They feature traditional varieties of homemade buchta baked fresh daily with the perfect balance of sweet pastry and a taste of filling in every bite.
In addition to buchta, have a look for buchtičky, a similar sweet made from the same pastry but without the filling. Buchtičky may be smaller than buchta and is traditionally served with a thick, creamy vanilla sauce. I hope to try it soon so if you know about a local source, please share your tips.
Watch another recipe for dukátové buchtičky, sweet buns with vanilla custard, here.
Part of the Czech culture
Buchta has another surprise as this special food is a distinct part of the Czech culture. From an early age, children learn about “ranec buchet” in fairy tales when a bundle of the sweet buns is packed as food when people leave for adventures.
Later in life, the expression “to je hezka buchta” may be spoken informally among men to compliment a beautiful woman. In addition, the expression “pekáč buchet” is used to compare shapely abdominal muscles (e.g. six-pack abs) with a pan of buchta.
But be advised that nutritionally, buchta doesn’t offer much beyond energy from the sugar, butter, flour and filling. So, while strong on flavor, the frequent consumption of buchta is highly unlikely to result in shapely six-pack abs!
I hope you will try some buchta and share your thoughts about this local favorite.
Many thanks to my local contributors Zlata Kapounová, Veronika Spáčilová, Natalia Nikitenko,
Martin Krobot and Ondre Haska
Victoria Hawk is an American Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with more than 15 years of clinical and research experience. She is living in Brno with her husband Jon, who is working here on an expat assignment. Victoria enjoys learning about local foods and plans to share her experience through this blog series.
Picture by peknevypecenyblog.cz