This week, as new state of emergency gets under way in the Czech Republic to combat the spread of Covid-19, Prague residents are lining up to get a taste of a “virus cake” that has become the talk of the town.
On Celetná street, in the heart of the historic Old Town district, Prague’s Black Madonna cafe has been selling out of a confection that looks remarkably like the novel coronavirus.
Customers can find the treat in the dessert display case, behind a small card that simply says “virus.” The chocolate-covered dessert with pistachio-and-raspberry filling is about the size of a tennis ball, with virus “spikes” composed of white chocolate and dried raspberries.
“I found a photo of the virus on the internet,” Olga Budnik, the dessert’s creator, told Reuters. “I figured out in detail how to make the dessert – how to make the spikes, what the color would be like, and I prepared it all.”
In normal times, the popular cafe would be bustling with tourists. The cubist-designed space occupies the ground floor of the House of the Black Madonna building, which was designed in 1911 by modernist architect Josef Gočár. The building also houses the Czech Museum of Cubism.
Budnik told Reuters that she invented the dessert to help fight a pandemic-fueled slump in business, just as her country battles one of the highest rates of coronavirus infections in Europe.
Last month, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis admitted that he eased coronavirus restrictions too early in the summer. “I may have gotten carried away,” he said in a televised speech on September 21.
Budnik’s coronavirus-inspired confection has been a huge success, with triple-digit sales each day and rising. “ATTENTION!” begins a recent post on the cafe’s Facebook page that encourages parties of three or more people to make a reservation if they will be ordering virus cakes.
Hoping to parlay one success into another, Budnik told Reuters that she is already brainstorming her next confectionary masterpiece: A Covid-19 vaccination-themed sweet which should taste of citrus and liqueur. “It will be lots of lime with a bit of alcohol,” she said.
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