Eating and Drinking in Hungary

You can sometimes tell the history of a country through its cuisine. The Central European nation of Hungary does have a very chequered history, at one stage forming one of Europe’s greatest empires. The Kingdom of Hungary existed for 946 years, and throughout its history it has conquered other lands, been invaded and conquered, traded and raided with neighbours and has influences and been influenced much of Europe and Asia, and it is those influences that are very obvious in the food and beverages that are popular in Hungary.

To get a true taste of the country, here are some of the Hungarian delicacies you should try when visiting:

Goulash: Yes, who hasn’t heard or tasted Hungarian goulash, one of the most popular European dishes of all time? In the past goulash was made by the shepherds of plains. It was a rich and filling food they needed to get them through a hard day. Authentic Hungarian goulash is made from potato, beef, paprika, spices and sometimes Hungarian gnocchi too. It is made like a soup, but has the texture of stew.

Paprika: Not a meal in itself, but an essential ingredient. Hungary is a major source of high-quality paprika, in grades ranging from sweet with a deep bright red colour to rather spicy with a brownish orange colour. Paprika is an important ingredient of dishes like goulash and sauages. The two main paprika producing regions are Szeged and Kalocsa.

Szamos Marzipan: The gourmet marzipan/chocolate of Hungary. The Szamos Marzipan Museum and Confectionery in Szentendre is Hungary’s first marzipan museum.

Palinka: This is the alcoholic drink made only from fruit in Hungary and some parts in Austria. No additional ingredient accepted by the law except clear water. Pálinka is smooth and fruity and the alcohol content is around 40%. There are hundreds of types of Pálinka, depends on the type of fruit. Best distilleries are Agárdi, Gyulai, Zwack, Brill, Márton és lányai, Panyolai, Tarpai, Bestillo.

Bull’s Blood of Eger: In Hungary Egri Bikavér, is a mixed red wine from the Eger Wine Region. According to the legend the name comes from when Turkey invaded Hungary and tradition said that castle defenders became stronger as they drank red wine. The Turkish soldiers believed the red liquid was bull’s blood. Now Bikavér is a very popular wine and has its own festivals and fans.

Hungarian cakes: Yes, Hungarians love their cakes and here are some of their traditional varieties; Somló-style sponge cake is a popular Hungarian dessert, made of sponge cake, it is covered with fine chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Dobos cake (Dobostorta) is a layered sponge cake filled with chocolate and nuts, glazed with caramel. Makówki (Mákos Guba) is also a typical Hungarian dessert, made of crescent covered with poppy seed.

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