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By Joann Plockova in Prague—
To experience one of Prague’s sweeter sides, head on in to one of the city’s myriad number of sweet shops. Called cukrárna in Czech, which stems from the word cukr, meaning sugar, these tasty little shops offer cakes, pastries, (what the Czechs call) “mini-desserts” and ice cream. The shops also serve a variety of warm and cold drinks, including coffees, teas and even alcoholic beverages.
It’s possible to take your treats away, or enjoy them in-house. The latter is an excellent idea as many of the sweet shops offer some of the city’s best atmospheres and in several cases a little piece of history with your cake.
The history of the cukrárna dates back to the first half of the 1770s when there were a number of coffee shops where it was possible to sit and enjoy cakes and other sweet goods. However, it wasn’t until the turn of the century and beginning of the 20th century when the true cukrárna made its mark.
Praha 1, Nové Mesto
In 1910 František Myšák opened what would become one of the most popular establishments of the First Republic, the legendary Myšák cukrárna on Prague’s vibrant Vodickova street. The shop actually still exists today–a restored version–which just opened in 2008. Boasting a cubist façade, the interior was renovated to resemble the original version, with a modern twist.
Two years later, a coffee shop with a confectionary located in the cubist, House of the Black Madonna opened, followed by the Berger cukrárna, which, like Myšák, was also located on Vodickova street.
Milady Horákové 56
In 1937, another legendary First Republic sweet shop opened its doors: Erhartova Cukrárna. Like Myšak, it still exists today, having reopened it doors in 2007 to reveal a perhaps even more authentic version to the original. Besides its unique functionalist interior, the shop is known for the quality and attention to detail it puts into it sweets. I can attest. When I was there I had a piece of mascarpone cake, which I have not stopped thinking about ever since.
Praha 1, Nové Mesto
In the 1970’s, the first fruit cukrárna opened in Prague in an arcade just off, once again, Vodickova street (apparently a hot spot for sweet shops). Sharing the same name as the art house cinema that is next to it, Svetozor today sees people lining up in the summer for its fruit sorbet. Along with fruitcakes, cream-based cakes and other sweets, the shop’s completely glass outer wall offers the opportunity to indulge in people watching along with your sweet treat. Enjoy!