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Túró Rudi: The Story Of Hungary’s Trademark Sweet Cheese And Chocolate Bar

2015.09.11.

The earliest form of Túró Rudi appeared in Russia under the name Cырок (Syrok meaning curd sack), a rectangular bar of curd, butter and fat mixed together, covered with dark chocolate coating. Its coating is thinner and the filling is sweeter. It is widely acknowledged that Túró Rudi was based on it as design and production began after a study trip to the Soviet Union (presumably by Antal Deák). Sándor Klein, a teacher at the Budapest University of Technology, gave the product its name, which raised a bit of controversy as people thought the name was vulgar and had pornographic associations. But the name stayed, and throughout the 1970s, turned out to be very successful. Production moved from Budapest to Mátészalka and eventually grew to several additional factories throughout the 1980s.

 

The history of the “Pöttyös” (“Spotty”) Túró Rudi bar dates back to 1954, when a group of three dairy industry experts visited the Soviet Union for a two-week field trip, where they were shown the Soviet product that was the ancestor of the present-day Túró Rudi. In all probability, this experience lent the idea to develop a product specially to suit Hungarian tastes.

Practical tasks concerning the development of the product were assigned to Rudolf Mandeville, an overseer at a Budapest dairy plant who is often falsely believed to have inspired the bar’s name. Production began in Budapest in 1968, but was shortly moved to the country’s northeastern Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, where it remains until this day. Hungary’s trademark sweet cheese-and-chocolate bar is composed of a thin outer coating of chocolate and an inner filling of “túró” (curd). The “Rudi” in the product name comes from the Hungarian “rúd”, which translates to rod or bar (and is also a nickname for the given name Rudolf). Túró Rudi can be made in different flavours and sizes.

The basic (plain, “natúr”) bar is by far the most popular amongst Hungarians and comes in two sizes: the classic 30-gram bar and the larger (“óriás”, giant) 51-gram bar. There are also less popular differently-flavoured varieties of the bar, like apricot or peanut butter. The plain bar can be found with dark chocolate outer coating.

The “pöttyös” (spotty or spotted) theme is part of the marketing scheme of the bar, and the distinctive red polka-dots are readily associated with Túró Rudi by regular consumers. Friesland Hungária, Inc. (which claims to be the manufacturer of the “original” Túró Rudi) released its product in Slovakia, Romania, Spain and Italy under the name DOTS in 2003. The version sold in Western Europe is said to be sweeter and comes with a milk chocolate coating to suit the taste of locals.

Its first public appearance was in a Hungarian family film, “Kismaszat és a Gézengúzok” (roughly translated to ‘Little Smear and the Scapegraces’) in the 1980s.

photos: belvaros.wordpress.com and Instagram