Do you have a sweet tooth?

You hear it from everywhere – left, right and center – people stuff themselves with sugar and then they get obese. Yeah, yeah, yeah… but can you resist? Hardly 🙂 This article is obviously not going to be one of those preaching nutritious diets, although I’m personally all for healthy lifestyle. However, when it comes to candy, I’m willing to bend the rules a bit. We’re gonna take a look at which goodies are the most popular in Slovakia, I’ll even put in my two cents’ worth and tell you which ones I’m addicted to, and we’ll also clear up a misinterpretation regarding the name of one superpopular cake.

Abundance is the word that springs to mind when I think of all sorts of food available to us nowadays. Whatever you feel like eating or have a craving for, you can get right away – in the local supermarket, through food delivery services or in a restaurant. There are simply no limits. However, in Slovakia the 80s or 90s of the last century were not so lavish, as far as I can remember. And speaking of candy, the world was definitely not your oyster – you couldn’t find just anything you wished on store shelves, as it is at present. There were no imported goods from western countries, so people had no idea about Snickers, Milky Way or M&M’s. But in my humble opinion, it wasn’t for the worst. We had our own biscuits produced in Slovakia, or former Czechoslovakia, and thank goodness they’re still made nowadays. Of course I’m talking about Horalka (the name is derived from the Slovak word for “mountains”), Mila, Kávenky (with a coffee flavor), Kakaové rezy (with a cocoa flavour) or Mäta (with a mint flavor). They’re so simple and yet so good! I bet you wouldn’t find a Slovak who doesn’t love at least one of them. They consist of wafers layered with chocolate cream and provide a nice crunch with every bite. They’ve kept their original quality and even the wrappers haven’t changed over the years, so they can undeniably be considered our traditional sweets.

Let’s go more international though. What’s the kind of candy that people love not only for its taste and broad variety of flavors they can choose from, but also for the fact that it cools them down on hot summer days? Sure it’s ice cream. This yummy cold food, originally from Italy, is very popular all over the world, and I suppose even more popular in places with hot climate. In Slovakia, when rainy falls and freezing winters strike, we rather steer clear of it in order to avoid a sore throat, but once warm spring and scorching summer are back, streets are teeming with ice cream lovers licking up the sweet delicacy. You don’t need to worry about flavors – if the fruit ones are not really your bag, there’s still chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, coconut, punch, stracciatella, coffee, mint, caramel, tiramisu… you name it, they’ve got it. And although I get that it’s very tasty and has this cooling effect, I must confess I’m not so psyched about it, personally. Yeah, I have one or two cones a summer, but that’s it. If you’re looking for a country which is one of the greatest ice cream consumers in the world, you should direct your attention to the United States. I believe this information does not take you by surprise. In every other American movie you can see people wolfing down tons of ice cream. And forget the cones – it comes in tubs and buckets so you don’t run out of it at an inopportune moment. See, for the Americans, ice cream is actually not just candy. It is consolation food, as well. Whenever they feel blue because they’ve been dumped or given the boot at work, there it is – waiting for them in the freezer, ready to soothe their pain. If you’re from a country which has a similar, moderate climate like Slovakia where ice cream is not so widely available during the cold months, and you love cold, sweet treats, you still may opt for ice lollies, a.k.a. popsicles. The advantage is that no matter what the weather is like, they’re up for grabs in every local grocery story or supermarket, all year round.

Now, I know people who are not so pumped about biscuits or cookies. I’ve also heard others saying they don’t care for ice cream and popsicles at all. But I honestly don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like chocolate. I must admit, however, that I’m completely biased here – chocolate is my addiction, my weakness, my all-time favorite candy – no matter in what form it comes. Its divine taste, the way it slowly melts in your mouth and the state of relish it leaves you in – it simply sends me over the moon.

First off, chocolate bars. They’re available literally everywhere, you just need to decide which brand you prefer and which type of chocolate is up your alley – dark, milk or white. Nowadays you can even go for a chocolate which has some nice little touches in it, such as nuts, Oreo cookies, caramel or smarties. To my liking, that´s too much. Plain chocolate with no gimmicks does the trick for me.

Then there is a myriad of cakes throwing themselves at you in every single cafe and from behind every candy store window. If you’re one of those do-it-yourself guys, you can make your own cake. The Internet is bursting at the seams with the recipes. In case you prefer to bake a cake as a whole, you may want to try chocolate fudge or brownies (I could kill for this one; no matter how much of it I eat, I can never get fed up with it). Or you could choose to make miniature cakes like cupcakes or muffins – ingredients-wise they’re very similar, but cupcakes often have icing on top and muffins tend to contain small pieces of chocolate chips or fruit inside.

And speaking of cakes, there’s a kind of cake that has gained in popularity over the past few years in Slovakia, but its name is, mostly by older generations, often misinterpreted. The cake I’m talking about is cheesecake. It is presently quite well-known and people are pretty familiar with it, but in the time it was introduced in our country, many used to confuse it with a totally different sort of cake due to the translation. When you put “cheese” into Slovak, you get the word “syr” and when someone says “syr”, you get a mental picture of food that is either hard or soft, yellow or white, but anyway, the taste you associate it with is salty. Yet the concept of cheese is much broader in the English language. The word covers more types of cheeses, even the one we call “tvaroh” in Slovak (curd/cottage cheese) and which is an essential ingredient of cheesecake. That’s why the name of the cake was, and sometimes still is, a bit misleading.

Obviously, we could spend hours and hours listing all possible kinds of candy, but I believe I’ve made you slobber just enough for now.. Go have your cake and eat it 😉

Glossary:

have a sweet tooth – byť maškrtný

stuff yourself with something – napchávať sa niečím

bend the rules – prižmúriť oko

goodies/treats – dobroty, maškrty

have a craving for something – mať na niečo chuť

the world is your oyster – mať nekonečné množstvo možností

it wasn’t for the worst – nebolo to na škodu

a biscuit – keks

a wrapper – obal

cool down – schladiť (sa)

steer clear of something – vyhýbať sa niečomu

It is not my bag – nie je to moja šálka kávy

you name it – všetko, na čo si len spomenieš

a cone – kornútok

something takes you by surprise – niečo ťa prekvapí

wolf down – zožrať, hltavo zjesť

you run out of something – niečo sa ti minie

consolation food – jedlo, ktoré je útechou

be dumped – dostať kopačky

be given the boot – dostať padáka

a.k.a. (also known as) – tiež známy ako

be up for grabs – dostupný

don’t care for something – nemať niečo rád

be biased – byť zaujatý

all-time – najlepší, absolútny

be over the moon – byť neskutočne šťastný

up your alley – podľa tvojho vkusu

touches – malé drobnosti, vylepšenia

it does the trick – splniť účel

It is bursting at the seems – praská to vo švíkoch

get fed up with something – prejesť sa niečoho

a mental picture – predstava

misleading – zavádzajúci

slobber – slintať