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Like a local #8—Minus11, Cioccolatte, Bon Dia

A perfect summer day can have a lot of features—warm, sunny weather, light breeze, good vibes and refreshing delicacies. But even in a heatwave, we cannot go wrong with a good ice cream. The domestic ice cream scene has been dynamically growing in the past years, so it’s hard to choose a favorite, but we’ll give it a try and present new favorites every month. Let us take you to Hűvösvölgy, the Pozsonyi Street and downtown!


Minus11

1028 Budapest Máriaremetei Road 70b

1039 Budapest Kossuth Lajos Beach128.

It’s always interesting to emerge in the world of languages. It’s especially exciting to observe new words being created, such as ‘ice cream tourism’. Ágnes Németh started her career as a Hungarian-Russian teacher, and never could have imagined she would leave the classroom behind to become a language reformer. Joking aside, at the beginning of the 2010s, she found that she couldn’t find neither quality cakes, nor premium category ice cream. She found that particularly upsetting, so she figured she’d be the one to create them.

The location of Minus11 was a conscious choice, she didn’t want to be part of a noisy, unequal competition in the hustle and bustle of the city center. She believed if the quality and location were right, people can go with the ice cream experience not only physically, but mentally, as well, and it would be worth the trip for them. The parlor was also designed in this mindset in 2018, for example, the Pozzetti counter with the different flavors is covered and recessed, you can’t see what you can ask for, just the menu board and Ági or one of her staff members. That shouldn’t make anyone feel uncomfortable, though; the service is definitely A+, nothing distracts us, we have time to taste and inquire, and leaving without buying ice cream is also perfectly fine, although that hasn’t happened before.

The connection is very important to Ági, not only to people, but to food, as well. Besides, ice cream making is constant research, where she keeps looking until she finds the perfect ingredients and combinations, whether it’s Piemonte nuts, white chocolate or sudachi, as she knows these are the sources of genuine tastiness, not sugar or flavor enhancers. She considers them as pieces in a jigsaw puzzle, where every little bit counts, basically creating simple, but unconventional flavors consisting of 1 or 2 components, in 17 variants, 10 out of which usually make it to the counter. They are stored at -11°C and the result is incredibly creamy and clear, but not overpowering.

This consciousness and intelligence permeate the whole Minus11 world, for example, she told me that when she and her husband invent a new ice cream, they always consume a whole scoop, testing how intensely and in what order the flavors decompose, and if she changes a single gram of an ingredient in the recipe, she re-tunes the whole thing. We could sing their praises all day long—the XL chocolate is made with goat milk and field-selected dark chocolate, which is particularly exciting compared to cocoa. Cream fudge evokes a childhood favorite, the molasses in muscovado are both coffee- and fudge-like, while tonka-ricotta has different nuances, from marzipan to cinnamon. Respectively, the fruit-flavored products don’t show much at first glance, but we can taste the essence of ingredients in an incredible way.  This is the ultimate ICE CREAM, we can now try them not only in the Buda hills, but in Római Part, as well, in a second parlor opened in 2021, so it’s worth a trip, one way or another.

Minus11 | Facebook | Instagram


Cioccolatte Gelateria

1137 Budapest Pozsonyi Street 7

1117 Budapest, Buda-part Square 3.

Pozsonyi Street offers more and more high-quality catering units, but there’s a tiny shop that often has people lined up before it, especially in good weather. This is Cioccolatte Gelateria, one of the finest ice cream parlors in Budapest and probably in Hungary, guaranteed by the professionalism and creativity of founders Szilvia Soresina and Giuliano Dallaporta Xydias. They share what might be considered a classic story, they fell in love with ice cream when they were considering changing paths, started working with an Italian supplier, but had to think it over due to several complications. They started over in 2018, going ‘all in’—they knew they could only provide the quality expected from them if they put on the chef’s coat and take the ice cream scoop into their own hands.

They both started studying in Italy and became ice cream masters, which is something only a few can say in Hungary. They trained themselves and practiced in Milan. It was a great experience for them to be in a professional kitchen instead of among semi-prepared powders, where they learned all about the confectionery side of things, such as how ripe the fruit is (because of the fructose) and the ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fat in the product. And they brought the quality and experimentation expected there back home with them—where ‘artisanal’ is not just a fancy label, but a reality you can feel after one lick. It’s not just the temperature that matters, for example, but the feel of the temperature and how quickly or slowly the flavor fades, which is why the ingredients are key. Szilvia and her husband work with the best, from pistachios from Bronte, hazelnuts from Piedmont, and real fruits.

One of the greatest experiences for me was the Sweet Escape campaign a few years ago: it was a real Covid project, where we could travel with flavors, if we couldn’t travel in real life. We wandered to different countries every week: we were taken to Greece with tzatziki and ciossaka ice cream (which means moussaka /eggplant/ chocolate), to Israel with pomegranate with mint and za’atar, to Cuba with Cohiba cigar flavored one and we even tried some domestic ones, including an icy and creamy dessert evoking the taste of lecho and eggs (a Ratatouille-like Hungarian dish—the Transl.). We could even buy a passport that entitled us to several tastings; it was a flawless, exciting, lovable campaign. But besides unconventional flavors, the traditional selection offers some delicacies, as well, even in ‘free’ versions, my all-time favorites are the vegan, slightly salty rosemary almond and the celery green apple.

It was even better to see that close to the Kopaszi Dam, in the emerging BudaPart, a larger shop was opened, where desserts such as tiramisu and cannolo are made in front of our eyes, and are available, as well as the much-loved real Italian roast coffee. With an unbroken spirit of experimentation and a strong emphasis on personal presence, you’ll probably find them behind the counter—ask questions, taste at any time, they’re happy to be at your service.

Cioccolatte Gelateria | Facebook | Instagram


Bon Dia

1075 Budapest Madách Imre Road 3

‘Have a nice day!’ says the sign in Madách Square, next to My Little Melbourne. What makes a nice day varies for everyone, but whichever door you walk through, you can’t go wrong, if only because they’re both linked to the same couple. Péter Balázsi and his wife, Dia were practically the first ones to establish the specialty coffee culture in Hungary, this is where their admiration of Australia found a home and where they convinced countless people that good coffee isn’t bitter or sour, it’s rich in flavors. Bon Dia was created with a similar concept, just as they couldn’t find a coffee to their liking in the past, they also missed the much-loved soft serve ice cream. Although the Hungarian public is familiar with the days of the “twisted ice cream,” when vanilla and chocolate were both rolled around the cone, they were not moved by nostalgia. In London, they saw that it could be done well, and thought why not?

As neither of them is from a family of caterers (Péter is a gym teacher, Dia used to work for a multinational company), they dared to be brave and untraditional here, as well, and to use the space and the brand as a playground. They always have a cream-based (called White Flower) and a vegan option, such as Panna Rosa (raspberry, lychee and rose), named after one of their daughters. They can be served in different sizes, with different toppings, in a cup or a cone. They can also be combined with affogato al caffe for the more daring customers, and they even came up with a brand new combination in Hungary. We can also try coffee soft serve, which is popular abroad, and means freshly ground coffee and Mörk chocolate on top.

From previous experiences, you might first think that the cone will be something sweet and watery, but this is far from the truth: you’ll get a soft, creamy ice cream with a pleasant flavor, and we can only give ourselves a sugar rush if we get a little carried away when choosing the toppings. The tastes and the vibe all invite you in, fun fact that the whole shop was invented and created by them, which is why it’s so authentic. It has the lightness of a Catalan siesta and the coolness of Australian surfing, which makes the sun shine inside even at a rainy hour.

Their aim is hospitality rather than automatic service, so it’s easy to become a fan. Of course, they’ve got more ideas on the go, and they don’t rule out franchising Bon Dia one day (interestingly, a similar shop will open in Cascais, just outside Lisbon, but called Bom Dia), but their big dream is to have a shop that doubles as a motorbike store and café. In the summer, you’re more likely to find the Péter and Dia on two wheels, or near their mobile, cross-country Melbourne Coffee Tour van—wherever they roam, good coffee (and maybe ice cream) is sure to be served.

Bon Dia | Web | Facebook | Instagram

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