April 12, 2017
Note: This article originally appeared as a guest post at SlovakCooking.com.
This Thursday Bratislava empties out. You don’t want to be on the road, on a train, or even on a bus out of town on Thursday afternoon, because it’s going to be standing room and bumper to bumper. It’s more crowded than other times of the year. Each weekend brings heavy traffic as well–Bratislava empties out on Fridays and fills again on Sunday evenings as people return from their ancestral villages. However, Easter is an even greater extreme. Many, many people leave town and do so all at once – on Thursday afternoon.
Easter is an important family holiday in Slovakia and “hrudka” is an Easter staple in Eastern Slovakia. I’ve been lucky over the years to spend Easter with close friends and family in Slovakia. I have not been able, however, to spend Easter with a family from the East, meaning that while I have heard of this food called hrudka, for 8 longs years I have only been able to theorize about what this elusive food might taste like. Until now.
Over the last three weeks, I have been intensively asking people I encounter from Eastern Slovakia about hrudka. I did not expect the answers I received, but I should not have been surprised. To this point, I have not found one household that makes hrudka precisely like any other household. Despite its simple base recipe, the variations on this basic recipe are virtually endless.
Generally, hrudka, also known to some as “syrek,” is made to taste salty. In some cities in Eastern Slovakia, however, the tradition is to make a sweet hrudka. Some families make their syrek very salty, akin to some very salty cheeses. One family I know of even makes hrudka that contains both a generous amount of salt and a more generous amount of sugar.
Any way you make it, hrudka tastes good. Below are two versions of hrudka that you can try at home.
Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.