Have you ever heard of the Channel Islands? It’s an archipelago in the La Manche channel, and one of its bailiwicks is Guernsey. A few years ago a Hungarian gastronomy lover, Rita chose Guernsey as her new home, where she opened up her delicacy selling homemade Hungarian lángos, chimney cake and goulash. The locals seem to love them, which is not a surprise as we got the feel that Rita does everything with passion.
Originally Rita and her partner tried their luck in Great Britain, but it wasn’t what they expected, so they moved back to Hungary after two years.
But they still wanted to have adventures, so they sent their CV-s to an agency in Szeged, who found her a chef de party job in a restaurant, in Guernsey. That was the first time they’ve heard about Channel Islands and they had a go at it.
This story will be 11 years old in June. They only planned on staying for around three years but they were stuck there. Things went well and they fell in love with the magical island. It’s under British authority but is not part of the EU and has its own currency: the Guernsey pound. The population counts around 60 thousand people. In the past it used to be under French rule, that is why you can feel the French style here and the names of the streets and laws are in French.
“It might be the calmness that really caught me. This is a completely different world! Honesty box still works here and people don’t really close their doors or their cars, which they even leave going when they pop into a shop.”
Rita worked in the restaurant where she was offered the job for nine months and then worked in quality control for seven years. But she missed catering, so she decided to bake chimney cakes and show locals how great this Hungarian specialty is. Not to mention that the way it’s made is spectacular and it smells fantastic. Most people didn’t know about Hungary, but they thought that it would attract locals’ attention.
So they brought a chimney cake baker from home, set up a tent in the market and started selling chimney cakes every Friday. Rita used her mother’s recipe and people seemed to really like it. She was quite surprised when she saw herself on the front page of the local newspaper the next morning. They started going to the market but Rita still had her other job and it was hard to manage so she looked up what her options would be if she wanted to do this full time.
She says that it was really easy to start her enterprise: it only took her ten minutes to fill out some documents. The National Public Health and Medical Offer Service told her to tranquilly open her shop and that they would go for a check. It happened 5 months after the opening.
She knew that she wanted a lovely Hungarian truck that attracts attention and that she also wanted to sell lángos. This was 4 years ago; she bought a truck and found a place in a supermarket’s parking lot to sell her specialties. The first days went well but then came a trough of a wave and she thought that maybe it was because she was only open three days a week. She took a deep breath and quit her job to focus on her chimney cake truck full time. However, she realised, with time, that locals weren’t that open to new dishes as she thought they would be, but her partner and family kept motivating her to be persistent.
Rita first sold basic chimney cakes (vanilla, cinnamon, walnut) and lángos (garlic, sour cream, cheese) but then started trying out new stuffed versions and new flavours. She thinks that chimney cake might be closer to locals’ hearts but she also has guests who go back for lángos. She slowly took up savoury chimney cake, hamburger and fresh tortilla to the menu, all in Hungarian style with Hungarian spices.
People came to love her menu and started talking about her. The one meal they’ve all heard about is goulash soup, which is another favourite. Rita always makes festive gingerbread cookies and they even go to festivals in the summer. They plan on trying their specialties out on different events from the next year.
For anyone who happens to be going to Channel Islands: Rita’s Hungarian Delicacy is open from Monday to Saturday by the Alliance Supermarket. She sells lángos and chimney cake for £3.50 which is not much in Guernsey direction. Try out her Hungarian specialties!
A video about Channel Islands:
Copy editor: bm
Source: Daily News Hungary