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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Booth

The Budapest Betty's

I'm always game to try local delicacies when on my travels, and if those regional delights come in the form of cake, what's not to like! A magnificent white edifice with an impressive dining room containing marble top tables, ornately tiled floors and chandeliers was the setting for my most recent overseas ritual. Feeling somewhat underdressed in shorts and t-shirt, the waiting staff were courteous enough to turn a blind eye to my lack of formality.

A browse of the menu revealed an impressive array of tarts, gateaus and desserts, all of them tempting in their own way. Curiosity of the competition satisfied, I had in truth already made my choice before entering the historic Cafe Gerbeaud in the centre of Budapest - it could only be the Gerbeaud Cake. Layers of shortcrust pastry smothered with apricot jam and crushed walnuts topped with a thin covering of dark chocolate.

Accompanied by a strong cup of americano, the historically famous confectionary slice looked impressive on arrival at the table, each layer symmetrical and designed with a deft level of precision. Anxiety hit me as to how I could prolong the tasting experience. The dessert fork easily passed through the stratified square of calorie naughtiness and on first taste it wasn't hard to decipher why this tried and tested recipe had been in existance since 1884. Five or six precision cuts later and it was all gone.

My mother Susan enjoying the famous cafe's surroundings.

At around £10 equivalent a slice, it is one of the most expensive pieces of cake I have had the pleasure of eating. However, there is no accounting for taste and given the setting and the quality of the delicious item itself, the experience will live long in my memory.

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