While most don’t want to think about the end of summer, the Finns are celebrating with crayfish and schnapps. From now through October, hotels, tour groups, and restaurants are celebrating huge hauls of crayfish in this singular Finnish tradition. (Finland's crayfish celebrations began in the early 1900's, when monied Swedish and Russian jetsetters took to feasting on the succulant shelfish while visitng Finnish seaside resorts.)
On a trip to Prague last month, I made a sinful discovery—a chewy cinnamon sugar-dusted pastry called “Staroceske Trdlo.” The name of this medieval treat means “old bohemian muff.” Not exactly appetizing, I know, but the tubular confection does bear an uncanny resemblance to the accessory, and if I had my druthers, it would keep my stomach warm—and full—all day, every day.
Bakers wrap a thin coil of dough around a metal cylinder that rotates (either by hand or by motor) over an open flame. The hot pastry is then covered in cinnamon sugar (which gives it an exterior crunch) and served for 35 czk (about $1.50) at street stalls everywhere, especially in and around Old Town Square, the Castle area, and the commercial zone on and around Wenceslas Square. In fact, the busier the intersection the better chance you have of getting a roll hot from the open-air “oven.” Tip: Skip a stall that has a pile of pre-made Trdlo’s—you’ll want one that’s still crunchy on the outside and warm and doughy on the inside. I heard rumors of a chocolate-filled variation but during my week in Prague, but I couldn’t find a single chocolate option, which was just fine by me—the original recipe is more than tasty enough.