|Paprika in the making|
For me, no trip would be complete without sampling the host country's local culinary delights. My trip to Budapest was no exception. I feel as though I ate my way through the week.......and it was so good!
Paprikas Csirke with Galuska
Hungary is known for its paprika so I made sure to sample a few of its paprika laced foods. We have all heard of goulash and I had eaten it a few times before my Budapest trip. Earlier versions had always been thick like a stew. The goulash I ate in Hungary was different; it was more like a spicy beef stew. It was better than the earlier versions I had tasted. The infamous paprika chicken was pretty darn good. Being a carb lover, it tasted even better when served on top of a pasta dumpling. What was even better however, was hortobagyi palacsinta, a chicken filled crepe smothered in a peppery cream sauce. My friend Laura introduced me to this at 21 Maygar
and it was probably the best dish I ate during my trip.
Spring is asparagus season. I have yet to find fresh asparagus in Albania. I haven't seen it in the markets and the Albanians I've asked don't know what asparagus is. I have found asparagus in the freezer case of Conad where it is imported to us from Italy. The few times I've tried it I have been so disappointed that I have stopped buying it. Because of this I was so happy to discover that asparagus is abundant in the spring along the Danube River. While in Budapest I enjoyed several meals of steamed asparagus. Straight up and unadulterated by sauces, fresh asparagus is a gastronomical delight.
|Making Kurtos Kalacs at a neighborhood market|
I've found that street foods are often my favorite meals while traveling. Kurtos Kalacs, a hollow honey cake cooked over hot coals, was my Hungarian discovery. One long strip of dough is wrapped around a wooden spindle then baked over the fire until brown. Dipped in sugar or cinnamon it was a tasty snack. The fact that the woman cooking them was dressed in traditional garb only added to the experience.
And let us not forget the drinks and desserts. I was introduced to Hungarian wines by friends from the Hungarian Embassy here in Tirana. I'm a fan of Cabernet Sauvignon and those that I sampled did not disappoint. My other favorite beverage is coffee. Yes, there was a Starbucks next door to my hotel but I found myself preferring local coffees. Much to my delight, the first cappuccino I ordered outside of Starbucks arrived as a drink layered with foam, coffee, hot milk, and local honey. It was a surprising combination but I loved it. And it was pretty too.
|Bite sized treats are so easy to eat|
Within a weeks time span I ate too many fruit and cheese filled strudels. They were all bite sized, which made them all the easier to consume. (It was a good thing I did as much walking as I did). Fruit seemed to play a large role in most desserts and pastries since in addition to the above mentioned strudels, I sampled a strawberry shortcake type dessert with a vanilla custard cream and crispy wafer accompanying the fresh strawberries. The biggest hit for this chocolate lover, however, was a crepe filled with chocolate sauce and sour cherries. Now that was a great way to end a meal.
Post a Comment