Home > Travel > Hungary: “Csoki” and “Fagyi”

Hungary: “Csoki” and “Fagyi”

Sign for home made Fagyi at the local fair

Hungarians love sweets.  Pastry shops, ice cream shops and chocolatiers abound everywhere.  Perhaps more so than anywhere else in the world.  And nowhere else in the world will you find this passion so wonderfully expressed within the language as with chocolates and ice cream.  You will see store signs for “Csoki” and “Fagyi” everywhere.  What do these signs really mean?

The Hungarian word for chocolate is csokoládé (pronounced “tchokolaaday”), and the word for ice cream is “fagylalt” (pronounced “fadylaalt” or “fadjlaalt”).  The words aren’t long or difficult to say by any means – at least not for Hungarians.

But just as we Americans create words of intimate endearment for our beloved people and family members (e.g. Nicky, or Christi, or Jimmy), Hungarians have created words of intimate endearment for their beloved delicacies:  Chocolate and ice cream.  These are not cold impersonal trade names like “Slurpee” or “Icee.”  These are legitimate words, part of the accepted national culture and lexicon that carry with them an intense sense of passion and desire.

Consider the following comparable English examples:

  • “Ricky” vs. “Richard”:  “Ricky” is my close buddy, but “Richard” is an acquaintance.
  • “Chrissy” vs. “Christina”:  “Chrissy” is my little baby girl, but “Christina” is my distant neighbor’s daughter.
  • “Joey” vs. “Joseph”:  The former is a term of endearment much more likely uttered in the heat of passion than the latter.

In the same manner “Csoki” (pronounced “tchoky”) refers to a Hungarian’s intimate friend and craving:  Anything chocolate.  “Fagyi” (pronounced “faadyee”) refers to a Hungarian’s closest pal and desire:  Anything made of ice cream.

So don’t just give a Hungarian chocolates and ice cream.  A real Hungarian needs real “csoki” and “fagyi”, because there’s more to chocolate and ice cream than meets the eye and mouth. it’s a matter of the heart.  That’s why you see store signs “Csoki” and “Fagyi” everywhere.

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