It really is quite amazing how quickly these days and months are trailing by! At the start of this month we left our cozy little beach-front apartment in France and headed to our first stop for the month of April: Budapest. This definitely was not a place that I had even considered visiting but as we began to look at our travel plans for the month it came came to mind because of the interesting history of the city and country as well as some of the beautiful architecture and sights within the city. Of course one of the first things that I looked into was scheduling a culinary walk through the streets of Budapest to learn more about the history and culture that it had to offer.
I teamed up with Taste Hungary for their Culinary Walk through the city. What really interested me about this tour was that it would end with a sommelier-run wine tasting at their adorable Tasting Table wine shop. If wine is involved you can almost always count me in! The tour definitely offered a really diverse selection of flavors and now has me frantically searching for a place to buy the legendary Tokaji Aszú wine back home.
Our tour began at the massive Great Market Hall in Budapest, a beautiful building filled with produce and meat vendors and so much more. We met our guide, Lilla, and began the tour tasting an alcohol that Budapest is known for….and one that I’m not-so-fond of: Unicum. This is a Hungarian herbal liquor that is a favorite amongst locals and if you like Jagermeister then you might like this as well. We also enjoyed Lángos, which is like a funnel cake topped with cream cheese and grated cheese (yum!), 6 different kinds of sausage (horse, anyone?), pickles, and a sweet snack called Túró Rudi which is basically a chocolate coated piece of cheese. The cheese is a softer, sweeter cheese, much like the ricotta filling in an Italian cannoli. And we hadn’t even left the market yet!
From the market we strolled the streets of Budapest getting a short history lesson before stopping off at Belvárosi Disznotoros for lunch. Yep, a full-on lunch. There are 2 locations of this shop in the city and I learned that they both serve different foods so keep that in mind if you visit one and try to get the same thing at another location. We dined on soup, crispy duck leg, sausages, fried pork, pasta, cabbage…..you get the point. Everything was amazing and certainly offered a really great taste of local flavors. But then it was time for dessert.
We ventured over to Central Cafe & Restaurant and I was blown away at how beautiful this cafe appeared. Gorgeous light fixtures and table settings and the restaurant itself has been open since 1887! We sat down and were treated to coffee and a tasting plate of 3 classic Hungarian desserts including 2 sponge cakes, delicately layered with mousse and a tasty hazelnut mousse. They were almost too beautiful to eat!
We ended our tour at the Tasting Table for our wine tasting. Hungarian winemaking is not new, but only recently has produced better wines since the end of communism. They have 22 different wine regions throughout the country with the most famous being the Tokaj. Many wines come from this area but the most notable is the Tojaki produced from grape affected by noble rot. Yep, rot. The result is an amazing and smooth dessert wine. I’m not typically a fan of dessert wines but this one is quite amazing!
If you’re interested in learning more about Hungarian wines, Taste Hungary offers daily crash courses featuring 6 different Hungarian wines and a tasting of the Tokaji wine. We were lucky enough to take part in one of these tastings during our time in Budapest and were happy that we did…but also sad that their production isn’t quite large enough to offer shipping to the US. We will certainly be on the lookout for some of these wines when we return.
Taste Hungary does an amazing job of pairing history lessons, food culture and wine together in an collection of experiences. They even do day trips out to the various wine regions if you are interested. Be sure to check them out if you are ever in Budapest for an excellent food tour or a fun night out at their Tasting Table where you have the chance to enjoy some delicious wine with new friends from around the world!
Special thanks to Taste Hungary for providing both the Culinary Walk and wine tasting during my visit to Budapest! As always, all opinions are my own.