There are plenty of myths about that, which is hardly surprising. Clara and Jancsi were the sex symbols of the era despite the fact that he was rather wiry and somewhat stooped and she was quite plump by today’s standards. But for the time their looks, especially hers, were considered bewitching.
Tales of hours-long trysts — punctuated by spates of intense violin playing — swirled about the cafés of Europe. It’s been said that it was during one of these that Jancsi left their bedchambers to entice a famous Parisian/Viennese/Hungarian pastry chef into creating the famous cake. Others say he created it himself, imbuing it with his black gypsy magic. Both make great stories but are certainly just that — stories. I’ll tell you one thing, though, they sure moved some cake!
Back in those days pastry chefs were always creating new menu items based on whatever was famous or trendy. Rigó Jancsi cake was probably created in Hungary, probably in Budapest, where tales of Jancsi’s exploits were greeted with a collective WOOT! by much of the populace. A penniless nobody from Hungary steals away the wife of a prince and the consort of a king? That’s my boy!
Indeed Jancsi himself liked to tell his own story about his first meeting with Clara, only in his version his gypsy looks and charisma draw Clara’s gaze away from Leopold himself. Talk about a boon to Hungarian masculinity…if the least among us can do THIS…
No wonder they named a piece of ultra-rich, triple chocolate decadence after him. Men would order it brazenly, and women blushingly, for decades.