A Hungarian cold plate (“hidegtál”) is a classic way to showcase the wide variety of charcuterie which butcher shops, market stalls, and kitchen pantries are brimming with. When a cold plate is offered on restaurant menus, fancy restaurants will dress it up with slices of foie gras or smoked goose breast. At home it can be as simple as an old wooden cutting board piled with rustic sausages, home-grown vegetables, pickles, or whatever else is on hand. The components are always different, depending on who prepares it, and it can serve as anything from breakfast to a light meal or an appetizer to nibble on while the main meal is being prepared.
No matter where it is served, the hidegtál is a celebration of pork, which is the meat of choice in Hungary. “Perhaps the extraordinary quality of pork in Hungary contributed to the popularity of dishes made with pork, or perhaps it was the other way around,” writes George Lang in The Cuisine of Hungary. “The fact is that what beef is to Argentina and veal to Italy, pork is to Hungary.”Comments