Túró Rudi: Hungary's Chocolate-Covered Cottage Cheese Candy

Hungarian cuisine is known for its goulashes, liberal use of paprika, and a rich history of winemaking. The street food in Hungary is also notable, which includes a range of savory fried bread-like lángos, topped with sour cream, to the sweet kürtöskalács,  a yeast dough that's baked into a unique sugar-coated tube shape that you unroll as you eat. Yet Hungarian snacks are perhaps lesser known, especially in comparison to Japanese Kit Kat flavors like matcha or other imported candies like Kinder eggs.

However, there's one Hungarian candy bar that deserves a little more attention: enter the Túró Rudi, a chocolate bar that contains a filling similar to cottage cheese. The Túró Rudi is a "Hungaricum," or an unique Hungarian product that nearly every Hungarian knows and loves, and is also popular in surrounding countries like Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Slovakia. Here's everything you should know about this sweet treat.

History of túró rudi

For over fifty years now, Hungarians have been enjoying túró rudi, which translates roughly to curd cheese stick. The beloved treat was inspired by a 1954 visit to the Soviet Union by three Hungarian dairy experts, where they stumbled upon a chocolate bar in a rectangular shape filled with curd. The Hungarian version used a thicker chocolate coating and a less sweet filling — but these adjustments to the recipes took a long time, as it didn't launch into production until 1968.

A literal translation of the name is "cottage cheese rod"; túró (cottage cheese) and rudi (rod). However, rod can also be a nickname for the name Rudolf. Initial marketing efforts for the túró rudi sparked a bit of controversy because some thought the name to have vulgar implications, but now there's only two companies that can legally use the name. One of them is FrieslandCampina, who owns the Pöttyös brand. Pöttyös' túró rudi comes in iconic white packaging with red polka dots, and according to the managing director at FrieslandCampina, Pöttyös is a more beloved brand by Hungarians than Facebook or Coca-Cola.The other brand that manufacturers turo rudi is Mizo, which underwent a brand renewal in 2022.

What a túró rudi is made out of, variations and taste

The filling that took over a decade to perfect is a Balkan cottage cheese (made exclusively with Hungarian milk) that is covered in bittersweet dark chocolate. Variations of túró rudi include dark, milk chocolate, hazelnut, or walnut flavors available. Pottyos makes a sugar-free version, which uses stevia, as well as fruit flavors with a strawberry jam layer added, and another version with a salted caramel layer. More health-focused flavors include versions with added calcium and zinc, and newer flavors also include raisins, peanut butter, praline, and an ice cream version.

Another iteration of the túró rudi uses marzipan and poppy seed, which was a flavor combination that Hungarians voted to bring back in 2017. In 2022, the brand Mizo also made a major update to its version of túró rudi and updated to using real dark chocolate. Despite the fact that cottage cheese and chocolate are two flavors that most people have tried already and are familiar with, the specific combination delivered in a turo rudi bar isn't commonly found, and thus more special. According to Taste Hungary, the bar is "one of those acquired tastes, but once acquired, impossible to shake."

Where to buy túró rudi

If you happen to be in Hungary, most grocery, snack stores and supermarkets will carry turo rudi — you just need to look for the white and red packaging. Unfortunately for Hungarians abroad, sourcing the chocolate-covered cottage cheese candy bar is a bit more difficult. Certain online snack stores, like European Products, offer worldwide shipping of the candy bars, which have to be delivered in specially insulated packaging. Freezing your túró rudi stash is recommended so that it keeps for a few months. 

In other countries, versions of Túró Rudi exists underneath different names: there's the Austrian Landfrisch rudi, the German Quarki Bar, Estonia Vanila Nija, and in China there was a version called Turo Kiityy. But if you want to taste the original version or if you want to make a Hungarian friend happy, find them a classic Túró Rudi bar — for them it'll be a taste of home.

Make your own túró rudi

For túró rudi fans who are hankering for a taste of the candy bar treat but can't get their hands on it, there are a few recipes out there to make your own túró rudi at home. To make a homemade version, you need to have on hand: flour or semolina, curd cheese, lemon peel, vanilla, sugar, butter, dark chocolate, and optional jam for filling if that tickles your fancy. You can watch a helpful video demonstration on Hungarian Guy Cooks Youtube channel here. Like the store-bought túró rudi, the homemade version can be made in bigger quantities and then frozen for a few months. If you're keeping them fresh, they'll keep for about a week in an airtight sealed container. 

To make a homemade túró rudi that may even taste better than the classic, use high-quality ingredients when you make the Hungarian candy.