2 OF 12
Photo_2H.jpg

Photo by George Konkoly-Thege


He called the collection the "Dobos Memorial Gastronomy Museum," in reference to the most prized possessions: personal papers, photographs, letterhead, inscribed books, and baking equipment that belonged to József Dobos, the great 19th-century Hungarian cookbook author and pastry chef who created the Dobos torta, a fancy layer cake stuffed with chocolate butter-cream and topped with a layer of crispy caramel.
Carolyn Banfalvi explores mementos of Hungary's culinary past at
A Sweet Museum You'll Never Find
3 OF 12
Photo_3H.jpg

Photo by George Konkoly-Thege


Elias started his collection at age 6, when he accidentally broke the glass door of his mother's antique coffee grinder.
Carolyn Banfalvi explores mementos of Hungary's culinary past at
A Sweet Museum You'll Never Find
4 OF 12
Photo_4H.jpg

Photo by George Konkoly-Thege


He vowed to replace it for his angry mother. "You can't find such things anymore," she said to him. But he searched, and over the next 50 years amassed a collection that is arguably the biggest and best of its kind in Hungary, even bigger than that of the Hungarian Museum of Commerce and Catering, all the while searching for that little glass box.
Carolyn Banfalvi explores mementos of Hungary's culinary past at
A Sweet Museum You'll Never Find
5 OF 12
Photo_5H.jpg

Photo by George Konkoly-Thege


"Every piece tells a story," Elias says.
Carolyn Banfalvi explores mementos of Hungary's culinary past at
A Sweet Museum You'll Never Find
6 OF 12
Photo_6H.jpg

Photo by George Konkoly-Thege


About a year ago, this sweet little museum, which was such a labor of love for Elias, shut its doors.
Carolyn Banfalvi explores mementos of Hungary's culinary past at
A Sweet Museum You'll Never Find
7 OF 12
Photo_7H.jpg

Photo by George Konkoly-Thege


Elias sold the cafe, along with his beloved collection to a buyer who, he said at the time, "has the money and interest necessary to improve the place."
Carolyn Banfalvi explores mementos of Hungary's culinary past at
A Sweet Museum You'll Never Find
8 OF 12
Photo_8H.jpg

Photo by George Konkoly-Thege


Elias was so deeply attached to the museum that he previously turned down offers from people wanting to buy individual pieces because he believed they'd lose their meaning if they existed out of the context of the whole collection.
Carolyn Banfalvi explores mementos of Hungary's culinary past at
A Sweet Museum You'll Never Find
9 OF 12
Photo_9H.jpg

Photo by George Konkoly-Thege


Elias sees the collection as part of the Hungarian national heritage.
Carolyn Banfalvi explores mementos of Hungary's culinary past at
A Sweet Museum You'll Never Find
10 OF 12
Photo_10H.jpg

Photo by George Konkoly-Thege


Sadly, so far there have been no signs of the place re-opening.
Carolyn Banfalvi explores mementos of Hungary's culinary past at
A Sweet Museum You'll Never Find
11 OF 12

Photo by George Konkoly-Thege


An old woman walked into the café a few years ago with a bag full of what might have looked like junk to anyone else but Éliás. "I heard that you buy every kind of rubbish," she said, and pulled out that little glass box which had eluded Éliás for so long. "After 44 years the coffee grinder finally met with the drawer again."
Carolyn Banfalvi explores mementos of Hungary's culinary past at
A Sweet Museum You'll Never Find
12 OF 12
Photo_12H.jpg

Photo by George Konkoly-Thege


Now, if only we could once again see all of these mementos of Hungary's culinary past.
Carolyn Banfalvi explores mementos of Hungary's culinary past at
A Sweet Museum You'll Never Find