Pigs might fly!

Miss Piggy has some serious competition. Who would have thought a rummaging redhead, more interested in food than fashion, or a platinum blonde, frizzed with disarming disco curls, would suddenly dethrone the muppet queen? But that’s show business for you. One day back scratch, the next day bacon! At least that was the case at the Mangalica Festival on the weekend. These extraordinary pigs have a Hungarian heritage as impressive as palinka, the home made hooch so enshrined in local culture that the EU had to exempt the tipple from taxes when the country signed up for the union. But unlike the fermentation of fruit, Mangalica pigs are fabulous for their fat! After 6 months of no-swim, no-bicycle film fanaticism, this is a creature I can feel at home with.

While foodies would have you believe the illusiveness of an olive oil industry turned Hungarians towards fat, nothing could be further from the truth. Fat is flavor. Ask any chef. Goulash thrives on it. Duck on Christmas Eve would be destitute without it. And Nana Fitz, the only woman I ever knew to keep a tin of the recycled rendering on her stove ( and send eggs swimming in it ), would suddenly be vindicated. In a similar transformation back at the Fair, a giant tub of fatty bits would eventually become crackling with the stirring persistence of a patient hand. The line for the latter grossly outweighed the curiosity for the former, in perhaps a sign of things to come.

Sausages and barbecue were the stars of the festival, but another specialty was finessed in the solitude of the sweet tent. Stretch by stretch a lone baker coaxed the pastry until it draped over the sides of his table, a giant sheet of perfect paper-like proportion. All it needed was fruit, creamy white cheese and a warm oven. The distraction of crispy strudel to casting and elusive leading men was complete, and not just for me. Miss Piggy would definitely have approved…!

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22 Responses to Pigs might fly!

  1. Christine Kelley says:

    You are such a brilliant writer Gabrielle!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Lyndl Marshall says:

    Dear Expat,
    I have some larger size slacks should you require them you are having way too much fun.

    Big hugs…

  3. Joy Marshall says:

    Dear Expat, That is my kind of fun, this to me is contentment, a happy tummy, I hope you managed a good ale to wash it all down with. You sound as happy as a pig in poo.!!!!!!! Lovely to hear from you again.

  4. patricia aron says:

    just felt joyfully” cozied-up” after reading and viewing your report, thank you

  5. John Wills says:

    Your wonderful prose & pics put Nigella to shame! With 2 months less weekends & public holidays to go,my mouth is watering to experience your experiences
    Thanks again
    John Wills
    Melbourne Victoria

    Sent from my iPhone

  6. David ord says:

    Dear Gabrielle you are marvellous
    once again you have me motivated
    to travel more, sense more and certainly taste more
    Thank you
    David Ord

  7. Peter says:

    Dear Gabrielle, your description and the clarity of your photographs allows me to imagine being at the market with the cool air and all its smells, produce and people. You have a wonderful ability to tell a story about life, your life. Take care and remember to breathe. Peter.

  8. Pat Furniss says:

    Beautiful pictures and gorgeous pigs. After all the heat here lately (Adelaide) that food, big fat sausages and delicious strudel sounds marvellous compared the this salad I am munching through.

  9. Merlaine Cee says:

    Thank you for bringing back all those wonderful memories of Budapest & my travels there in 2004.
    Had a wonderful time in NY last October visiting some of the places you had written about in the past, thanks so much for sharing. Merlaine xx

  10. Lorna Wilbore says:

    That all looks so delicious and the pigs are so woolly! Thanks for the beautiful photos. Lorna

  11. Terry Lee says:

    Greeting Gabrielle,

    A delight to read and to hear you again on Rod’s Overnights’ Radio program recently. Makes food really fun and much more exotic than our humble Meat Pies from the Kerang Bakery (which I might add are delicious as is their cream buns). The movie making endeavours sound exciting too. Am looking forward to hearing of your upcoming blockbuster soon. Thank you again for an informative, funny and wholly absorbing essay on a part of our World I can on!y imagine.

    Best wishes from a very hot Mallee summertime.


    • Thank you Terry, it is always such a pleasure to hear from you. That town of yours seems to have everything – pies and cream buns, not to mention good coffee and an appreciative audience. I’m looking forward to doing that train trip you have talked about and don’t mind if things don’t cool down before I get there. It is snowing here today, which I love to see, but thanks for sending me the summertime smells of the bush. Keep up the good work!

  12. John Wills says:

    The excitement is building as I retire in < 3 weeks and we depart after Anzac Day.
    Your fantastic reports have stimulated my interest in Budapest.However, recent press indicates a disturbing racist trend there, which is perhaps symptomatic of Europe generally.
    Within reason, I would appreciate your views as our correspondent in residence
    John Wills
    PS Did you know there is a "Fitzrovia"residential area of London near the British Musuem?

    • Hope your bags are packed! Just posted a story about the demonstrations and the state of play here in Budapest. Hope it encourages you to swing by and enjoy this remarkable place. Happy travels and if you get to Fitzrovia, please think of me…

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