At one time, a typical afternoon in Budapest might require an hour at a cukraszda (cafe) sipping coffee over decadent, mile-high cakes or sticky sweet strudel. While pastry consumption has become less of a ritual, the dozens of cukraszdas that line Budapest streets have not disappeared, and neither has the carefully crafted artistry of Hungarian pastry. The clientele has shifted from the masses to older women keeping this sweet tradition going, and tourists in search of local flavor.
The Danube River divides Budapest into Buda and Pest, both sprinkled with famous pastry shops dating to the early 19th century. Buda is the older side; Pest is modern, hip, and cosmopolitan. A plethora of cukraszdas on both sides showcase extravagant and very traditional cakes in glass cases. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.
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