European Festivals: Hungary

Hungary loves its festivals.  There are festivals throughout the country and throughout the year.  There are reasons nearly every month for Hungary to celebrate with a festival. Fall is a very big season for festivals, including the Wine Festival, the Folk Festival, or the Sweet Days Budapest, chocolate festival.

szentendre festival

In autumn, the town of Szentendre celebrates local artistic talent with an annual art festival.

basket making

A wonderful memory to take home is a hand crafted item you watched being made.

hungarian wood carver

At European festivals you will find artisans and incredible food. In winter you will find  Christmas markets pop up around Hungary and they are filled with local food and handcrafters, such as the Hungarian wood carver  pictured above.  What a great celebration of the season.

chimney bread

A staple at Hungarian festivals is Chimney bread, as pictured above. Chimney bread originated as a treat made from leftover dough.  At festivals, dough is baked on a rod over a wood fire. The hot dough is then brushed with butter and covered with toppings, including cinnamon and sugar, dusting chocolate, and cinnamon and nuts. It is truly delicious.

hungarian handcrafts.jpg

At most European Festivals and Hungarian festivals  you will see beautiful handcrafted lacework. This photo captures a display of hand embroidered Hungarian seals as well as hand crafted lace items.

Easter

Hand painted Easter Eggs in Budapest.

Religious festivals are prevalent in Hungary, starting with the countrywide festivals at Easter and continuing throughout the year with holidays such as St. Stephen’s Day in the fall. St. Stephen’s Day is one the most celebrated days of the Hungarian year with processions, an outdoor mass,  a festival atmosphere and fireworks.

St Stephens procession

No matter which season you visit Hungary there is sure to be a festival in which you can experience the warmth of Hungarian culture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Bounty of Plums in Hungary

As summer winds down I walk past plum tree after plum tree weighed down by plump, delicious fruit. The trees bounty can’t hold the weight of the plums; everywhere I see ripe delicious plums lying on the ground. For me this is how I came to know Hungary. When I moved to Hungary last summer plums were abundant, and this year the pleasure of plums has returned.

plums
Plums Photo Credit OliBac

Two Hungarian favorites include Szilva Torta (Hungarian Plum Cake) and Szilvas Gomboc (Plum Dumplings) Both are found throughout Hungary during plum season. Hungarian Plum Cake is filled with plums, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and other delicious ingredients.

Hungarian Plum Cake Photo Credit: Renee S Suen

I never thought much about Plums before moving to Hungary. I ate one occasionally, but that has changed. Living in Hungary has taught me to enjoy the bounty of late summer and flavors I never before appreciated.

Lángos; Hungarian Food and Culture

One of the interesting aspects of moving to a new country is learning about the culture and the food of the country. In my first weeks in Hungary I had an opportunity to try Lángos. Lángos started as a baked flat bread made with bread dough baked in a brick oven. The word comes from, lang meaning flame in Hungarian. Today with fewer brick ovens Lángos is now a flat bread fried in oil. I’d best describe the dough as similar to an elephant ear from carnivals. The dough is made with flour, water, salt, sugar and sometimes milk. Some Lángos have yogurt, potato or sour cream added into the dough. The toppings of a Lángos are a little like pizza with a twist.

making Lángos

Lángos

Lángos
A warm Lángos served with sour cream and smoked cheese in Budapest.

When I tried Lángos it was served warm with a giant dollop of sour cream spread over its surface and about a third of a pound of an amazing grated smoked cheese. It was rich in flavor, heavy, and calorie laden. It’s definitely something to share among a few friends. I couldn’t eat very much, it was too rich, though the flavor of the smoked cheese continued to tempt me. The sour cream that topped my Lángos is a Hungarian staple. Hungarians put sour cream on everything, even on specialty pizzas, as a sauce. It’s known as tejföl and it’s very prominent in the grocery isle.

*Information about Lángos came from Wikipedia.

Somloi galuska: Sponge cake soaked in vanilla sauce, chocolate and rum

 

 

 

In the name of research I spent an hour having lunch and trying a Hungarian dessert called Somloi galuska. It was a delicious surprise and of course calorie free…

This particular dessert took me by surprise. I expected a sponge cake soaked in a vanilla sauce, and covered with a rich chocolate mousse, what I didn’t expect was the kick of rum it contained! This local Hungarian favorite is delightfulhungarian dessert, dessert,