Rigó Jancsi

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Rigó Jancsi, the Hungarian cake named for a Gypsy violinist, is literally the stuff of legend. Dazzling stories surround it, but few details of its creation are known. What is certain, however, is that this luscious torta (cake) was the result of an affair that began in 1896 Paris. Rigó and an American millionairess from Detroit, Clara Ward—by marriage the (Belgian) Princess Caraman-Chimay—met in Café Paillard, one of the grand restaurants of the boulevards. Some say on that occasion, with music the food of love, the Gypsy virtuoso played his violin to irresistible effect. Others characterize the princess as an adventuress ready to bolt. Whether one or the other is the case, or both, the two ran off together, divorced their respective spouses, and, in time, married.