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Category Archives: Holidays
Lentil Stew (Lencse Főzelék)
Posted by Carolyn Bánfalvi on 20 January, 2017 in Cook ,

The New Year is a time rich in superstitions, wherever you are in the world, and many of those superstitions involve food. In Hungary, you’d be doing yourself a disservice for the rest of the year if you didn’t eat plenty of lentils to ring in the new year. And to increase your chances for luck and success in the coming year, you should also eat roasted pork and kocsonya (pork aspic) with your lentils. Since pigs symbolize progress, the pork will bring you luck. As in many other cultures, lentils and legumes—which are round and disk-shaped, resembling coins—will bring you wealth. Whatever you do, just don’t eat chicken (which will scratch away your luck) or fish (which will swim away with your luck). Though I’m not superstitious, I do love the comfort of food traditions (however silly they may sound). So I always look forward to the ritual of eating lentils on New Year’s day (why risk it!). Since the year is still young, and eating lentils shouldn’t be confined to New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, I share this recipe for lentil főzelék. This is the way my mother-in-law prepares lentil főzelék, which she usually embellishes with roasted meat or sausage. Főzelék is a classic Hungarian vegetable preparation (usually served as a main course) in which sour cream and roux (rántás) are added to thicken cooked vegetables. It can be made of practically any type of vegetable, and it’s a frequently used cooking technique in Hungarian kitchens. Whether you are superstitious or not, this dish is perfect to eat throughout the winter.

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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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