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5 Retro Places to Drink Espresso in Budapest
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 13 January, 2015 in 100 Essentials ,Drink ,Explore ,

Bambi Eszpresszo Budapest

Budapest has no shortage of cafes oozing that good-old-day feeling. Some have been around for ages and haven’t changed a bit, and some newer ones try very hard to re-create the past. Check out these retro chic places for strong espresso served in glass cups, old-school decor, and classic Budapest coffeehouse charm.

Bambi Presszó
Frankel Leó út 2/4, Budapest 1027
+36 1 212 3171

An oasis of real vintage coolness, this small neighbourhood bar near the foot of the Margit bridge has been a Buda fixture since the height of the Communist era. The interior retains its decades-long charm with red leather seating, crochet tablecloths, and faded checkerboard tiles. And the service remains efficient but decidedly rude. The retro character also extends to the menu offerings, from a simple range of coffees (either in glass cups or polka dot cups), beers and liquors to a handful of traditional nibbles (pogácsa, creamy cakes, frankfurters, and simple sandwiches) to go with them. This place has a loyal long-time clientele, and a patio which fills up on warm evenings with people coming for cheap beer and spritzers (fröccs).

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Kakashere Pörkölt (Rooster Testicle Stew)
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 11 January, 2015 in 100 Essentials ,Cook ,

Rooster Testicle Stew

Horse sausage. Kocsonya (pork jelly). Disznósajt (head cheese). Sound like an episode of Bizarre Food? Maybe. But these are also regular, if slightly unusual, Hungarian food staples which locals love eat. The Hungarian kitchen has plenty of unusual uses of well-known ingredients—poppy seeds on pasta (mákos tészta) anyone? But moist, spongy rooster testicles cooked into a paprika-spiked stew—kakashere pörkölt— is perhaps as offbeat as it gets.

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Objects of My Confection: Budapest’s Modern Sweet Spots
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 08 January, 2015 in 100 Essentials ,Eat ,Explore ,Shop ,

Modern Sweet Spots_-3Breaking the sugary mold with adventurous flavors and modern design, a fresh cast of Hungarian confectioners is paving the way for a high-style take on the classic pastry shop. These patisseries will satisfy your craving for the sweets on any end of the spectrum.

Sugar Design Confectionery Budapest

Creative Confections
For Budapesters with intense cravings for unusual sweet treats: Sugar Design Confectionery (Paulay Ede utca 48, Budapest 1061, +36 1 321 6672) is your salvation. Tucked away on a side street in central Pest, steps away from the tourist hoards on Andrássy utca and Liszt Ferenc tér, the gleaming interior of this dessert outlet draws a gasp at entrance. The audible surprise comes from the sensory overload of the kaleidoscopic collection of cakes and candies set against a radiant white backdrop. It’s a Willy Wonkaesque wonderland, only better because it is real.

Sugar Design Confectionery Budapest

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Kocsonya (Meat Jelly/Aspic)
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 06 January, 2015 in Cook ,

Kocsonya (Meat Jelly/Aspic)

Kocsonya. The mere mention of this savory gelatinous dish takes Hungarian food-lovers back to their childhood memories and Hungarian Christmas dinners past. If your grandmother made this dish for the holidays (or Sunday lunches during wintertime), you either loved it or hated it. But there’s no denying the lingering memory of this shimmering meat jelly.

Ambivelent attitudes towards kocsonya have a lot to do with ingredients used to make it. Traditionally, pork trotters, ears, snouts, and other undesirable pork part which most people wouldn’t dream of eating are slow-cooked together with vegetables and spices, creating a thick broth which is poured into a mold and left to cool into a firm, yet wobbling, aspic jelly. To lighten and diversify the taste, other meat (beef, chicken, and even fish) is also used these days, but pork definitely dominates the home-made varieties. Depending on the cook, there may be just enough aspic to hold the solid ingredients together, or the aspic may predominate, with the juicy parts left suspended in it at intervals. Either way, it’s always served as the main meal or as part of the main meal, presented simply with a sprinkling of sweet paprika and plenty of white bread.

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Balaton Izlelő Highlights Balaton’s Best Products
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 03 January, 2014 in 100 Essentials ,Shop ,

Balaton Izlelő

Farkas Zoltán is a serious fan and lover all good things Hungarian, which is why he is standing behind the counter at Balaton Izlelő (Taste of Balaton), a specialty foods store and bistro stocking a dizzying variety of gourmet treats produced around Hungary’s iconic lake region. Neatly prepared on the counter to the delight of eager customers, the sampling Farkas offers is as colorful as it is mouth-watering: elderflower and quince syrups, basil and pesto-infused cheeses, and chocolate and cinnamon covered pumpkin seeds were being offered on a recent day.

“This is what I like to call the Hungarian ying and yang” says Farkas, before dipping the sampling spoon in the arugula- pumpkinseed paste and handing it to one excited guest. Anecdotes and a deep knowledge of ingredients and producers pepper the conversation as the sprightly salesmen continues the taste test. “The arugula is a documented female aphrodisiac while the pumpkinseed paste is a gentleman’s best friend as it’s really beneficial for prostate health.”

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Magyar Szilveszter ~ New Year’s Rituals in Hungary
Posted by Anna J. Kutor on 01 January, 2015 in 100 Essentials ,Explore ,

As the year comes to a close, we take a look at Hungary’s unique New Year’s traditions and superstitions.

In Hungary, New Year’s Eve is called Szilveszter, named for the Eve of Saint Szilveszter. There are numerous traditions and superstitions connected to rounding out one year and welcoming the next, including straw doll burials, loud street parties and big bowls of lentil soup.

As with many other holidays and celebrations, food plays a key role in the local celebrations. A dinner of roast pork or kocsonya on New Year’s Eve is supposed to bring a bountiful year as the pork’s rich fat symbolizes prosperity and wealth, as do lentils, rice, and millet which are usually consumed the first day of the New Year. To further increase wealth and luck Hungarians also eat rétes and korhely soup (a thick cabbage and sausage broth), which is also a well-known hangover cure.roasted suckling pig

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Taste Hungary’s 100 Essentials List
Posted by Carolyn Bánfalvi on 01 January, 2015 in 100 Essentials ,

Essential Food, Wine, and Dining Experiences 

When in Hungary, be prepared to eat and drink … and then do it some more. To fully experience Hungary there are some food, drinks, and experiences that cannot be missed. We have compiled what we think are the most essential (and tastiest) ones. We could go on…but this is enough to get started! We have stories to match some of these “essentials” (which you can get to by clicking on links in the list below the photos), and in the coming months we will add stories for each one of them. You can download the entire list here (pdf). This list is in no particular order, and will update it from time to time.

1. Lángos | 2. Unicum | 3. Gulyás (Goulash) | 4. Neighborhood Markets | 5.  Pezsgő (Sparkling Wine) | 6. Mangalica (Mangalitsa) | 7.  Nagy Vásárcsarnok (Central Market Hall) | 8.  Római Part (Romai Strand) | 9. Picnics | 10. Coffee: Historic Coffeehouses, Retro Eszpresszos, and 3rd Wave Coffee | 11. Rétes (Strudel) | 12. Nose To Tail Eating | 13. Fröccs (Spritzer) | 14. Zsíros kenyér (“Fatty” Bread) | 15. Szalonnasütés (Bacon Roasting) | 16. Szódásüveg (Soda Syphons) | 17. Michelin-Starred Restaurants | 18. Romkocsma (Ruin Bars) | 19. Dobos Torta | 20. Pálinka | 21. Túró Rudi | 22. Jewish Cuisine | 23. Velőscsont (Bone Marrow) | 24. Tokaj | 25. Indigenous Grape Varietals | 26. Liba/Kacsa Máj (Foie Gras) | 27. Kacsa (Duck) and Goose (Liba) | 28. Szilvás Gombóc (Plum Dumplings) 29. Szörp (Fruit Syrup) | 30. Taste Hungary Tours |31. Étkezde (Lunch Rooms) | 32. Cukrászdas (Patisseries) | 33.  Fagylalt (Ice Cream) | 34. Mák (Poppy Seeds) | 35. Dió (Walnuts) | 36. Húsleves (“Meat Soup”) |  37. Hideg Gyümölcs Leves (Cold Fruit Soup) | 38. Töltött Paprika & Töltött Káposzta (Stuffed Peppers & Stuffed Cabbage) | 39. Palacsinta  (Pancakes) | 40. Furmint | 41. Holiday Traditions | 42. Paprika and Peppers | 43. Disznótor (Pig Slaughter) | 44. Drinking From Unmarked Plastic Bottles | 45. Házi Barack & Szilva Lekvár (Homemade Apricot and Plum Jam) | 46. Hungarian Wine Country | 47. Artisan Cheese | 48. George Láng’s The Cuisine of Hungary | 49. Lake Balaton: Corn on the Cob, Lángos, and Artisan Products | 50. Craft Cocktails | 51. Bogrács (Cauldron) | 52. Savanyúság (Pickles) | 53. Craft Beer | 54. Tökmag (Pumpkin Seeds) | 55. Fresh-Picked Fruit | 56. Meggy (Sour Cherries) | 57. Gomba (Mushrooms) | 58. Halászlé (Fisherman’s Soup) | 59. Házi Fánk (Homemade Donuts) | 60. Krémes | 61. Hidegtál (Cold Plate) | 62. Yeast-Raised Desserts | 63. Flódni | 64. Fried Food (with Homemade Tartar Sauce) | 65. The Tasting Table | 66. Gyula Krúdy’s Novels | 67. Etyek | 68. Budapest’s Natural Springs | 69. Bor Mámor Bénye | 70. Budapest Wine Festival | 71. Sólet (Cholent) | 72. Lecsó | 73. Maximilian | 74. Rozé (Rosé) | 75. Tokaji Esszencia | 76. Rákóczi Túrós | 77. Kürtöskalács (Chimney Cake) | 78. Leves (Soup) | 79. Seasonal Eating | 80. Pogácsa | 81. Red Wine from Southern Hungary | 82. Sörözős and Borozós | 83. Hungarian Breakfast | 84. Kovászos Uborka (Fermented Cucumbers) | 85. Tészta (Pasta) | 86. Paprikás Csirke (Chicken Paprikás) | 87. Lunch at a Butcher | 88. Pork: Sausage, Bacon, and More | 89. Főzelék | 90. Zsír (Fat) | 91. A Spájz (The Pantry) | 92. Home-cooking | 93. Túró (Curd Cheese) | 94. Poncichter Ragu (Soproni Bean Stew) | 95. Pörkölt (Stew) | 96. Bodzalé (Elderflower Juice) | 97. Wine from Somló | 98. Téliszalámi (Winter Salami) | 99. Gesztenyepüré (Chestnut Puree) | 100. Sunday Lunch

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About The “Tasting Notes” Blog
Posted by Taste Hungary on 01 January, 2015 in About ,

Here at Taste Hungary our days revolve around food and wine. Whether we are talking about it, writing about it, researching it, dreaming about it, traveling for it, or eating it or drinking it … it is always at the forefront of what we do! It is long overdue that we have a place where we compile our thoughts, experiences, and recommendations about food and wine. On our Tasting Notes blog we will bring our experiences from the field to you. Here you will find recipes, essays, reviews, food issues, travelogues, and informative writing on all manner of food and drink in Hungary (and occasionally beyond).

Our mission here is to highlight the food and drink culture in Hungary and the region, and the experiences that are vital in order to understand these foods and drinks. We will focus on the people and businesses who are dedicated to producing great food and drinks. We hope our Tasting Notes will be a useful and inspiring resource for you, whether you are a first-time visitor to Budapest or you live here.

Tasting Notes is primarily written by Carolyn Bánfalvi and Anna J. Kutor, journalists who have been writing from Central Europe for many years. Independent writing is in our blood, so rest assured that whatever we write is based on our own opinions and has been tried and tested by us. We don’t take advertisements here, and if a post is based on the rare free or discounted meal we will let you know.

We look forward to hearing your feedback. Drop us an email at hello@tastehungary.com.

Carolyn CAROLYN BÁNFALVI is an author and journalist specializing in food and travel. She is the author of Food Wine Budapest (Little Bookroom) and The Food and Wine Lover’s Guide to Hungary (Park Kiado). Based in Budapest for more than a decade, she writes frequently about food, wine, and travel in the region. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Saveur, CNN, Afar, Olive, Frommer’s, Four Seasons, Gastronomica, Wall Street Journal Europe, Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, Washington Post, and Globe & Mail. Carolyn is currently honing her wine knowledge in the WSET Diploma program. She is the co-founder of Taste Hungary.
Anna ANNA J. KUTOR is a Budapest-born journalist and photographer with a passion for travel and a taste for good food. Reporting on adventures along the highways  and byways of Central and Eastern Europe for over a decade,  her work has been published  in-flight magazines such as Brussels Airlines,Qatar Airwaves, WizzAir and Air Baltic, alongside  a variety of online publications. When not on an assignment, Anna hones her Hungarian cooking  skills and turns her lens towards urban street life and human journeys.

 

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