Nicole Shaw-Provillon, a Bergen County resident, brought a little piece of Hungary back to the United States after four years in Budapest.
When Provillon traveled to Hungary with her family in 2013, and tried kürtőskalács for the first time, that’s when she really fell in love with the country.
“I was completely fascinated by this pastry,” Provillon said.
She explained she couldn’t understand why the pastry was not popular in the United States. Upon doing her research, she found a store in Queens and one in South Jersey that offered her new favorite pastry but that wasn’t enough for her.
In September 2021 she opened her bakery Kurly Kürtősh, located in Nutley, to give people the opportunity to enjoy one of Hungary’s most famous street foods, kürtőskalács also known as chimney cake. It’s a not-so-sweet dessert that can be topped with the right ingredients to add just the right amount of sweetness.
“For me, I can’t eat a lot of sweets in the United States because they’re overly sweet and highly processed,” Provillon said. “I was able to go there and eat these pastries without any problem. And then I said to myself, ‘OK, I’m gonna be leaving the country soon, what am I gonna do?’ … and I said I am going to bring this back.”
She said chimney cake is a unique pastry that she spent years learning to make. She learned on the street with locals who did not speak English, and from an authentic chimney cake baker who received a master craft award for making the best in Hungary.
She then traveled with Hungarian and Romanian friends to Transylvania, known to be a main origin of chimney cake.
“I said, ‘If you’re going to learn this, you need to learn it and do it right,’” Provillon said.
She then went on to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park to round out her experience and master the use of yeast.
Provillon brought chimney cakes to the U.S in a unique way. She brought it back as an experience where customers can come to the bakery and see the process firsthand as everything is freshly baked in front of them.
“The culture behind it is amazing when you’re there, not only does it taste good … you see them baking it there in front of you, they customize them with a variety of flavors,” Provillon said. “So it’s almost like, magical, and when you eat them they are like amazing.”
She said a lot of people aren’t aware that Kurly Kürtősh is a Hungarian business, and by offering that experience, it gives them a glimpse into the culture.
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The tagline behind the entire experience is, “unkurl your sweet spot.”
Provillon did market research in Hungary and with the help of friends and a designer, she ultimately decided on the name Kurly Kürtősh.
In 2017, when Provillon returned home with her family, she started baking chimney cakes at fairs and festivals to see if people would be interested in the pastry and if there would be a demand. She then started doing pop-ups at her local Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor and Williams Sonoma to gain clientele for catering.
When COVID-19 struck, she was grounded and in 2020 she decided to rent a small café space in Hackensack where Kurly Kürtősh remained for a year. Word got around and Hungarians were traveling to Hackensack.
In Hungary, the chimney cake is made over charcoal with nothing inside. However, Provillon said Americans aren’t the biggest fans of the plain dessert.
She decided to add an American spin to her chimney cakes and offers a variety of spreads and toppings to the delightful dessert.
The chimney cakes are baked in a rotisserie oven and customers have the option to enjoy it plain or lather the inside with Nutella, maple butter, or a triple berry butter dip. The outside can be coated with cinnamon, Oreos, edible glitter, or a limited-edition mulberry topping and can be enjoyed with a scoop of ice cream.
Aila Jaeromero who has been working at Kurly Kürtősh since April, expressed her enthusiasm.
“I love working here,” Jaeromero said. “Honestly, I think it’s the people that I get to meet here they are all so interested about the product.”
Provillon wanted to create a space where individuals can come with their sweet tooth, their family and good energy. It’s a place that lacks judgment where you can meet new people, have a good time and enjoy a tasty dessert.
She also offers a Hungarian-inspired lemonade which she calls Sparkláde, “a fruit-flavored premium sparkling lemonade.”
When customers enter the bakery, they receive a warm greeting from Provillon and Jaeromero. They ask customers if it’s their first time at Kurly Kürtősh and if they say yes, they brief them on the history of chimney cakes, the culture behind them and how they are traditionally made.
“I live my life on kindness, and I try to make also my space where everyone is welcome, where you can have a good time,” Provillon said.
One of her biggest assignments was catering for the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, D.C. two years in a row. She has also catered for and partnered with Nutella, Google and Citi Global Headquarters.
“While the business is really designed to celebrating and selling Kürtősh,” Provillon said. “We really kind of focus on, we kind of really are in the business of spreading happiness.”
Davaughnia Wilson is an intern reporter for Northjersey.com. Contact Davaughnia at [email protected]
Source: Thanks https://eu.northjersey.com/story/news/essex/nutley/2022/07/02/chimney-cake-kurly-kurtosh-nj-bakery-dessert-near-me/65365722007/