Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe & beyond...join me!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

a meatier kind of Christmas our guest.

If you like meat, the Budapest Christmas market is the place to be! Located just steps away from the Danube, in the old city, the market is intimate and delicious and ever so inviting.

Every Christmas market visit, whether you're in Germany, France, Hungary or Finland, starts with Glüwein, Glögg, or Forralt Bor...whatever it's called, it's always a yummy must! Mulled wine (in Hungarian it's called forralt bor = boiled wine) is very common in pretty much all northern European countries during the cold winter.

Personally, I love it, and it makes standing in the cold just plum wonderful. It is usually made by warming red wine, along with a mixture of cloves, sugar, sticks of cinnamon and slices of oranges. In Hungary, it is most commonly made using Egri Bikavér, a popular locally-made red wine.

Toltott kaposzta or Cabbage Rolls, to all of us English speakers, is a mainstay of most homes and restaurants in Hungary, and there's a reason why...they are delish.

Almost every stand at the market had heaps of meat, grilled, boiled, skewered. A true meat-lover's paradise.

And there were almost as many goulash soup booths, scooped out of heavy ceramic cauldrons and served in sourdough bread bowls. Goulash soup is the most popular Hungarian dish made outside of Hungary, and on this night, it was the perfect warm meal for us.

A Classical Hungarian Goulash Recipe (Alföldi Gulyás)

Ingredients (for 4 persons)
  • 600 g beef shin or shoulder, or any tender part of the beef cut into 2 x 2 cm cubes
  • 2 tablespoons oil or lard
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 carrots, diced
  • 1 parsnip, diced
  • 1-2 celery leaves
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1 tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 fresh green peppers
  • 2-3 medium potatoes, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika powder (sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway seed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ground black pepper and salt according to taste
  • water
    (Recipe source: Budapest by Locals)

The pig-on-a-spit is a Christmas market staple throughout Europe, but in Hungary this is the meaning of BBQ. The meat is served alongside grilled vegetables or inbetween two sides of a bun.

What I found most interesting was the beautiful presentation of the food. Large flat ceramic dishes were filled with freshly grilled or sliced meats, vibrant paprikas and other veggies sauteed on long open grills and huge pots sat waiting with steaming hearty soups, stews or wine.

Everything is displayed directly in front of the visitors' noses, homemade and fresh to be as enticing as possible. It is like being a guest in the cook's kitchen.

And of course, in Budapest, instead of ornaments, sausages hang on the tree (well, on this one anyways.). Merry Christmas and all the best for the coming year!

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