The best thing about living in heaven is that you really know you’re alive. As is the Hungarian empire, where a culinary coup is currently establishing a new world order. The British Bakeoff may have a touch of ( Paul ) Hollywood but here in Budapest we have budding confectioners shaping the most flavoursome of bouquets, vintage blood lines making wine that is deliciously unpronounceable – even before you take a first sip, and we have the Butter Brothers!
All things dairy hold court at markets throughout the city, with superbly salty cream cheese, silky smooth yogurt and butter… butter! The Great Market Hall sells this golden treasure out of giant tubs, so creamy it is scoopable into big glistening butterballs. Not to sound too personal. But regardless, this is where the revolution begins. It means cream the butter is an oxymoron in Hungarian cookbooks, and that bakers form part of the new guard. For the intrepid soldier of fortune, where there is butter of this splendour, there must necessarily be splendiferous pastries. Like the croissants plump with chocolate mousse or vanilla cream that create landmarks along the winding backstreets to the reigning court of The Butter Brothers. Their pastries flake like the Parisians but have the crunch of filo, crackling around succulent fillings of fresh banana & nutella, or white chocolate with fresh raspberries. Help is at hand with coffee that will start your heart as quickly as the pastries will slow it down. And the brothers even bake their own bread with free classes to show you how. Who would expect to find such generous hospitality in an adopted city? But then Budapest is full of surprises.
Bull’s blood is one of them. This blend of red wine varieties can carry the same cultural angst as Kangaroo Tail does for epicures from Down Under. But a very sophisticated wine gallery in the centre of town – appropriately called Cultivini, sets the record straight with a guided tour of tastes and terrains from all 22 wine growing regions in Hungary. A digitised dispenser will respond to your credit card and appetite, as the educator does to your taste, affecting the discovery of new varieties from vineyards as small as 2 hectares, with some wines coming from just one slope on one hill within that tiny garden. So specialised and so special. But none like the queen and the culmination of the night. After finding new favourite dry whites like Harslevelu and Furmint, the Royal Essencia from Tokay was showstoppingly divine. Numbered to indicate how many baskets of the preciously shrunken fruit were used to make one barrel of nectar, this wine not only required a gloved hand to pour, but a special glass to savour. It was indeed a little taste of heaven…
Yum! How delectable and super special! I like the combo of pastries coffee ice cream and wine! Delicious 😋 xoxoxo
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Lovely to be able to enjoy your writing and life again gabrielle. Peter loves croissants, though the cheese and ham kind. Xx
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OMG! Just looking at those items has put on weight!!!! Yummo G xx
Sounds like heaven yummmm
Your descriptions are so mouthwatering I’m sure I put on weight with just the reading!
That sounds amazing and the pastries just wonderful.
Yummmmmmm so hungry now!
Wonderful, thanks so much !!
Gabe – I found a photo of your Morris while going through old photographs! Don’t know if you will get thisW Gail
The wine bull mug is truly astonishing transfusion please.
I would love to taste the lot!!