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Anna J.Kutor

Anna J. Kutor is a Budapest-born journalist and photographer with a passion for travel and a taste for good food. She loves traveling the highways and byways of Central and Eastern Europe, and documenting them.
The Eater’s (and Drinker’s) Guide to Hungaricums (Part 1)
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 09 December, 2016 in

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You’ve seen shop signs and restaurants touting Hungaricums all around Budapest … but what exactly is a Hungaricum (and can you eat one)? Hungary is proud of the many inventions which its citizens have given to the world (in case you haven’t heard, Hungarian are the brains behind inventions including the Rubik’s Cube, the ballpoint pen, vitamin C, and the hydrogen bomb). They are proud (and fiercely protective) of their natural treasures, outstanding achievements, and matchless flavors and culinary products. In order to shield and preserve these uniquely Hungarian products on a local and international scale, many are protected under the term Hungaricum. The Hungaricum Act was established in 2012 and includes quintessential local products such as Herend porcelain, Matyo folk art, Hungarian grey cattle, and the Hungarian cimbalom. Check out the complete list of Hungaricums (pdf file).

We are not the only ones who think that some of the Hungary’s best assets are edible (or drinkable)—out of the 60 Hungarian treasures which have been declared as Hungaricums, 25 are foods, drinks, ingredients, or dishes. The culinary component of the Hungaricum collection shows off the best of what Hungary has to offer—craftsmanship, distinctive flavors, and a time-honored heritage. Below, we highlight the edible (and drinkable) Hungaricums which display the pure essence of Hungary.

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Pogácsa at Daubner
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 14 July, 2015 in

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Homemade, flaky and rich with flavor—pogácsa is the quintessential Hungarian snack. It’s a beloved pastry staple that shows up at family lunches, weddings, wine tastings, and just about any food-related gathering. Pogácsa, for the most part, is a bite-sized treat which is usually best made by someone’s kitchen goddess of a grandmother. Unfortunately there’s not always a grandmother around to labor over the homemade version when you’re craving a taste for the tender biscuits. So where to turn in Budapest for serious pastry lovers seeking buttery, eat-it-anytime pogácsa that is as good (or better) than the homemade version? It’s a question that sparks much debate amongst locals. Pogácsa is available everywhere around town, but for the best of the best, many swear by the fêted Daubner Cukrászda.

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Sólet at Rosenstein, An Essential Budapest Experience
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 30 June, 2015 in Wine (and Beer) Tastings

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Walking into Rosenstein, Budapest’s most revered Hungarian-Jewish restaurant, two distinct moods emerge. The crisp white tablecloths, chic stemware, dark wood furnishings, and immaculately dressed waiters exude fine-dining elegance. But other details—from the father-son chef duo to the time-honored weekly menu highlighting traditional Hungarian and Jewish meals—lend the familiar coziness of dinner at grandma’s house.

Striking a great balance between traditional and indulgent is the forte of owner-chef Tibor Rosenstein, and now his son and partner, Róbert. What he started as a tiny buffet in 1996 on a side street next to Keleti Railway station (and which is still in operation next to the restaurant today) has grown into one of the city’s finest restaurants, all thanks to his culinary expertise and entrepreneurial chops. Rosenstein’s menu is made up of Hungarian-Jewish specialties, from gulyás to lecsó (stewed peppers and tomatoes), and lamb knuckles with garlic hremzli (potato pancake) to goose leg with red cabbage. But it is his decadent take on comfort foods—such as töltött káposzta (stuffed cabbage) and Brassói aprópecsenye (a dish made up roasted pork, potatoes, garlic, and paprika)—that really stands out.

Hungary, with its robust soup, bread and meat traditions, has also infused its own flavors into the vibrant Jewish cuisine which has deep roots in Hungary, and is undergoing somewhat of a renaissance these days. There are plenty of excellent dishes to try at Rosenstein—which has become somewhat of a pilgrimage spot for visitors to Budapest—including the matzo ball soup. But if you are there, you really cannot miss trying the sólet.

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Budapest’s Rooftop Bars: Drinks with a View
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 25 June, 2015 in

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There’s so much to-do when visiting Budapest: checking out the historic buildings, taking in the unforgettable views of the city’s skyline (which has appeared in so many Hollywood films these days), and, most likely, exploring the colorful and crazy nightlife scene. Why not check all of these boxes at once by grabbing a drink (or two) at one of Budapest’s buzzing rooftop bars?

In a city where the often underground and quirky ruin bars have grabbed the spotlight, high-rise watering holes are relatively new and stylish additions. Taking full advantage of the many historical structures and the fair summer weather, elevated bars add a touch of glamour and exclusivity, not to mention a front-row seat to sweeping big city views that can change dramatically from day to night. And now there’s a Budapest rooftop for every taste: ritzy or relaxed? Elegant or edgy? Buda or Pest? Here are our favorite venues in the city where you can get a taste of the high life, paired with vibrant atmosphere, heady drinks, and exceptional views.

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Food & Wine Event Guide: May 2015
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 02 May, 2015 in
Budapest Pálinka Festival

Budapest Pálinka Festival

Our month-by-month guide to the best food and wine events in Budapest

Whether you want knock back some craft Hungarian beer, tuck into some pastries, or learn about sparkling wine, here’s everything you need to know about the culinary festivals held in Budapest this May. Hopefully you have some free weekends, because there’s plenty on the calendar for May!

Food Truck Show Budapest
May 7-10, 2015

Get ready for some serious mobile munching, as Hungary’s leading food trucks join forces and roll out their culinary creations at the Dürer Garden’s Picnic Park during this three-day food show. Expect all the forerunners (think Zing Burger, Pasta Station, and Berlin Canteen) as well as some fresh newcomers such as S’nwich Chef (who recently welcomed chef Viktor Segal to their team) and the barbeque creations of Befaló Bill. The fare will range from gourmet gazpacho to grilled cheese, burgers to burritos, cupcakes to caffeinated drinks, and fresh pastries to pulled mangalica pork sandwiches from an on-site smoker.

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Third Wave Coffee in Budapest
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 12 April, 2015 in

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Hungary’s love of coffee is grounded in history, with many of Budapest’s grand coffeehouses still flourishing, but gourmet java lovers also have a number of new-wave cafes where they gather to sip their favorite bitter brew.

Thanks to a strong Turkish and Austro-Hungarian influence, by the dawn of the 20th century, the coffeehouse was deeply embedded in Hungary’s cultural psyche. Often synonymous with the idea of ‘sanctuary’, coffeehouses were a center of social interaction where writers, poets, artists, and politicians gathered to read, observe the world, exchange ideas and philosophies, or plot rebellious acts. In Budapest, the heyday of coffeehouses—between 1890 and 1940—saw the establishment of many legendary cafes, including the Centrál Café in 1887, New York Café in 1894, and Múzeum Café in 1885. Luckily, many of these venerable establishments still hold strong today, drawing a consistent clientele of tourists and returning local patrons.

Budapest third wave coffee

But young Budapesters, in unison with many others around the world, are taking to coffee as a lifestyle statement. No longer are city slickers happy with just a strong cup of hot coffee—these days, we all want a captivating, consistently high-quality yet cost-effective cup of coffee served in a stylish, fashion-forward setting. First to enter Budapest was the Western-style ‘on-the-go’ coffee craze that brought with it branded coffee chains such as Starbucks, California Coffee, and Costa Coffee, where caffeine addicts can always score non-fat grande macchiato with a dash of cinnamon or even an organic, Fair-trade triple Italian-style espresso. And while these chains are popular (and ever-expanding), a new wave of independent cafes focusing on the sights, smells, sounds, ambiance, and emotions that come with the coffee experience have been gaining momentum in the Hungarian capital.

Whether you’re on the lookout for a cafe with artistic decor, searching for a rare bean from Columbia, or simply craving some mouth-watering treats to pair with your caffeine fix, you’ll find many unique third wave coffee shops to suit your taste. Here are our picks for the best artisanal coffee shops in Budapest.

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Hot Wheels – Food trucks in Budapest worth chasing down
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 20 March, 2015 in

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Hungary’s street food scene has generally traditionally been limited to the lángos, palacsinta, and kürtöskalács variety. But the international trend for pop-up food experiences from mobile devices has sped its way into Budapest. Still in their first years of operation, trucks selling gourmet burgers or Mexican comfort food are now feeding office workers and the late-night party crowd throughout the city. As these mobile food vendors set off on a roll, offering a variety of wallet-friendly eats and drinks—from gourmet burgers to innovative cheese and pasta dishes—we take a look at some of the city’s best. Read More

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Madártej (“Bird’s Milk”)
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 18 March, 2015 in

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Growing up, Sunday lunches where always the time for special desserts in my family. My mother always spent extra time making a decorative cake, trying out a new cookie recipe, or satisfying the family’s recurring request for madártej, our favorite. It may have been a frugal indulgence, but a labor-intensive one at that, as the creamy custard and light-as-air egg-white dumplings would have to be prepared a day in advance. The giant bowl of deliciousness was instantly inhaled by all.

A direct descendant of the French floating island, madártej (literally “bird’s milk”) is a deceptively simple looking dessert of fluffy meringue floating on a sea of vanilla custard that has become a staple of the Hungarian culinary lexicon.

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Old-School Hungarian Sweets
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 02 March, 2015 in

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Remember when an after-lunch snack meant having to choose between roasted peanuts covered in colorful lumpy sugar (aka Dunakavics), chocolate-mousse filled ice-cream cones (téli fagyi), or a cocoa-filled wafer bar (Balaton)? If so, there’s a good chance that you are over 40 and lived your youthful years under the Communist regime in Hungary. Good news: in their original or modernized packaging they are all still widely available (although some you may never want to taste them again). From creamy caramel fudge (tejkaramella) to “potato sugar” (krumplicukor), here are some retro candies that are sure to take any Hungarian for a trip down memory lane.

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Food & Wine Event Guide: March
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 28 February, 2015 in

Our month-by-month guide to the best food and wine events in Budapest

VinCe Budapest Masterclass

A Masterclass at VinCe Budapest

Don’t forget, we organize our own food and wine events @The Tasting Table. Check our calendar for what we have in the works!


As the calendar inches towards Spring, Budapest sees a variety of food & wine events to bring a spring back in your step.

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Drinking-In The Ruins: A Guide to Budapest’s Ruin Pubs
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 16 February, 2015 in

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The pre-war edifice may be crumbling—with nearly all the battered, raw-brick surfaces covered in graffiti. And the courtyard may be overrun with weeds, but that hasn’t stopped the pleasure-seekers from packing in the place at all hours of the night. What may look like a squatters block party at first glance is just a regular weekend night at a romkert (ruin bar) in downtown Budapest. Deep inside the history-filled rubble of District VII, the Jewish Quarter, a coterie of wildly disheveled ruin bars have turned abandoned buildings, old cellars, and derelict public properties into bastions of Bohemian cool. Ruin bars have become one of the great Budapest attractions—intriguing places with unexpected layers of detail which you could easily spend a few hours taking in.

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The Wine-Lover’s Guide to The Fröccs
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 23 June, 2015 in

When the weather gets hot in Hungary—and stays hot for months—there’s nothing like a cool, fizzy fröccs. Fröccs (which translates as “spritzer”) is a mixture of soda water and wine, which refreshes (and gives a mild, long-lasting buzz). It’s the ultimate summer go-to drink in Hungary, and there are plenty of places in Budapest to explore the drink in its many variations. Wine puritans may scoff at the idea of diluting wine, but in Hungary and the rest of Central and Eastern Europe fröccs drinking is the rigeuer de jour once the sweaty season arrives. For all its variations and new-wave popularity, this fizzy refreshment is imbibed by men and women of all ages and social classes. In short, fröccs is Hungary’s best prescription to beat the heat.

Fröccs varieties

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