Let's not kid ourselves...after having the last puzzle demolished in a day, Gumbo needed a break and a morale boost—and where better for that than an elegant cafe with rich pastry and world-renowned coffee? In Budapest, for over 150 years, that's mean Cafe Gerbeaud, and that's where Gumbo was. You won't have to guess the sights above; from rear to front they are Szerbo torte, Esterhazy torte, and a Dobos torte, all Hungarian contributions to the world of fine pastry.
MAD Travel Diaries cracked this one, and I think it's fair to believe she's probably had a taste of the pastry as well...Congratulations!
The business was started by Henrik Kugler, son of a dynasty of confectioners. He trained in eleven European capitals, including Paris, before returning home to open a shop which soon became known as the "best in Pest" (although I doubt the Magyar equivalent rhymes so neatly). To the pastry, he added coffees, liqueurs and even candy.
By 1870 he was doing well enough to relocate nearer the center, on one of the main squares of the city, Vorosmarty Ter, and in 1910 to expand into the custom-built location it's occupied since, with its rococo interior and a mix of furniture styles, including modernist styles based on Vienna's Secession movement.
But by that time, it was no longer Kugler's. In 1882, he met Emil Gerbeaud, a native of Switzerland working in Paris, and brought him to Budapest as his associate. Together they expanded the number and kinds of pastries, added butter creams, Parisian styles and hundreds of kinds of shortcakes. In the process, machinery was added that made it one of the most modern bakeries.
Gerbeaud's fame led to his being a jury member at the Brussels and Paris world fairs of 1898 and 1900. At Kugler's death, Gerbeaud set up a new successor company under his name, When he died in 1919, his wife continued the business until after World War II. In 1950, it was renamed for its street, Vorosmarty.
After the end of the postwar regime, it resumed its original name; since 1995 it has belonged to German owners, who had the building restored to its original glory. Gumbo can testify to the quality of the pastry!