Coronavirus-shaped dessert a hit at central Prague cafe

The Black Madonna's new dessert, modeled after a coronavirus particle, has been so popular guests need to book it in advance

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky
Published on 08.10.2020 11:17 (updated on 08.10.2020)

With tourism in Prague down over 90% this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic according to the Czech Statistical Office, businesses in the city's historical center that traditionally rely on tourists have been hit particularly hard.

One of those venues is the cubist House of the Black Madonna on central Prague's Celetná street, an impressive early-20th century building designed by Josef Gočár that is now home to a cubist museum and cafe on its ground floor.

The Černá Madona (Black Madonna) cafe has taken a darkly humorous approach to draw in new customers: by turning the deadly virus into a delicious cake.

Created for the cafe by Olga Budnik earlier this year, during the first wave of the epidemic, the coronavirus cake has gone viral on social media over the past weeks along with the surge in COVID-19 infections in the Czech Republic.

The Prague venue now requests that patrons in groups of three or more book the dessert in advance if they'd like to try it, so the cafe can ensure they have enough coronavirus particles on hand.

POZOR❗️ Prosíme vás, pokud přijdete ve skupince tří a více lidí na náš Virus dezert, vytvořte si rezervaci na č....

Posted by Černá Madona on Friday, October 2, 2020

“I found a photo of the virus on the internet and I figured out in detail how to make the dessert – how to make the spikes, what the color would be like, and I prepared it all,” Budnik recently told Reuters.

Those glycoprotein spikes on the dessert are made from dried raspberries and attached to a hard chocolate shell, dusted with cocoa powder, with creamy white chocolate.

Inside the coronavirus particle is a pistachio ganache and raspberry puree.

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“The coronavirus crisis has meant a huge drop for us, in tens of percent, like for other gastro enterprises,” the Černá Madona's marketing manager, Vojtěch Heřmánek, told Reuters.

“But at the same time it was a chance to bring out the coronavirus cake which is a symbol … showing that not everything is lost.”

While the coronavirus-shaped dessert may prove distasteful for some given the current COVID-19 epidemic in the Czech Republic, the country's sweets have a history with darkly humorous connotations.

Other traditional Czech desserts include věnečky, which translate to "wreaths", and rakvičky, or "coffins".