Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Budapest: wine with a side of Goulash

If I could sum up my experience of Hungarian cuisine is that they like to eat a lot of meals consisting of meat and potatoes, so naturally us Brits get on well when we visit.

My first taste of these staple foods was at the International Budapest Wine Festival, held in the grounds of Buda Castle. Upon arrival, we were issued with our very own crystal tasting glass, and, more importantly (and quite frankly the most amazing invention ever), a glass holding bag which hangs around your neck. I know, amazing right?!

With our wine glasses proudly hung around our necks, we proceeded to roam around the grounds of the castle with our tokens purchased at the gate, scanning for what we thought was a half decent wine... let's be honest - it was a wine festival, we would hardly be served a glass of Lambrini. However with neither of us really speaking Hungarian, we were more trying to familiarise ourselves and work out what the Hungarian word "most" meant...

We soon got into the swing of things and after a couple of glasses of wine, we decided it was probably best to get some food in our bellies, and what was on offer? A whole lot of meat and potatoes, and some pickles on the side.

The dish we chose to devour was paprika potatoes with Hungarian spiced sausage. Again the language barrier stepped in here, as apparently this dish wasn't listed on the menu, and despite hours of googling I am unable to give this dish a name.

This humble dish provided us with succulent pieces of pork, slices of spicy sausage, softened peppers and onions and gorgeous fluffy paprika potatoes - every mouthful bursting with mouth watering flavour. This dish although simple, met all my needs and gave a home cooked feeling with a Hungarian taste.

A trip to Budapest would not have been right without tasting their national dish: Goulash! Again featuring the staples: potatoes and meat. It was on our last day that we decided to try this traditional dish and we could not have found a better restaurant: Bonnie Restro Comics. Set on the corner of a street in Pest, you can sit back in the sun to enjoy a nice lemon beer whilst you wait for your soup and plenty of crusty bread to go with. It was tasty as promised and more. Gorgeous tender pieces of beef in a soup of potato, carrot and paprika, which even in the heat of the afternoon sun went down far too well.

Finally there was one last traditional Hungarian cuisine to try: Kürtőskalács, or stove cake. It is a Hungarian pastry, cooked by wrapping the dough around rolling pin style spits over a wood flame until they have turned a beautiful golden colour, and then coated in your chosen topping. It was a delight to watch them be cooked and then hurry away to the nearest bench and unwrap this spiral cake bit-by-bit, tasting the sweet cake with the consistency of a bread, it is one Hungarian treat that you have to try. Although be warned, it is very filling and sweet so probably best to share!

For anyone who isn't always so brave at trying a new cuisine, Hungarian cuisine is definitely one to try. It gives you that home cooked warming feeling with a Hungarian twist. Definite comfort food, and one I will be recreating in my kitchen at home!

Yelly-fi-felly-food-belly x

(Most translates quite simply as now, just in case you were wondering).