Bread and blossom

The royal rouse to ‘let them eat cake’ was not the last time someone would lose their head over a serious miscalculation of taste. The crumbs of political commentary have been left trailing all over Budapest and while the language may be hard to swallow, the meaning is perfectly clear. The children of the 1956 uprising are on the rise again – this time with their grandchildren, their families, with winemakers, with bakers and with the courtesy and countenance that make Budapest such a happy place to live. This is an interesting time to be resident of a restless realm. The ‘Orbanised’ elections have brought record numbers of people onto streets they want to protect, streets that are already rich with culture and history. Speaking of which, in the event of a rewrite, let me set the current record straight and share some good news.

There is no shortage of bread in Budapest. The Butter Brothers rule with their roast tomato, potato and cabbage sourdough on Wednesday afternoons, but they have serious competition. A tiny family run bakery on Nagymezo Utca redefines ‘artisanal’ with breads that are different on every visit – if you get there early enough. My delicious memory of berry and poppyseed bread last Christmas has only today been surpassed by what was cheerfully translated as early Spring wild herbs – adding anticipation for what I might find when it hits 30C early next week. Kiskovasz Pekseg fold their freshly ground pesto into bread pockets or wrap with prosciutto and sesame – and this morning by contrast offered hazelnut horseshoes, a soft and sweet hybrid of bread and pastry. Oh the benefits of being an early riser! Safely out of distance on the other side of the river – well, almost, we found chestnut and sour cherry pastries last week at Pekmuhely before being distracted by the homemade chocolate shop over the road. Most dangerously convenient are the bite size cheese puffs straight out of the oven that you find all over the place, or wherever you see the sign ‘Lipoti Pekseg’. Some people translate this Hungarian word as ‘bakery’, but it could also very well mean ‘Gabrielle was here’…

The Spring uprising has brought joy as well as jousting. Vivid yellow blooms light the path to famous art deco treasures hidden in the hills, bountiful tomatoes colour rosy, red, blushing and crimson at the Feny Street markets, and the children’s railway weaves through the lilac scented hill tops above Buda to the salute of the young workers. Just when it seems a pair of sunglasses cut from an old vinyl record is the only filter for the spectacular dazzle of colour, a black and white exhibition of photographs by the French father of 6, Alain Leboile, takes over the journey. This heartwarming collection of family moments puts everything into perspective, and combined with a menu description that channels Marie-Antoinette, calms not only the stomach but the soul…

This entry was posted in art & inspiration, bakeries, events, Food, Fun, markets, travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Bread and blossom

  1. Lyn Halliday says:

    An absolute joy, as always, to read your latest report.

  2. Patricia says:

    Absolutely beautiful.

  3. Janet says:

    Gabrielle I love reading your posts. Budapest looks pretty wonderful at this time of the year and the post of the tomatoes and berries is mouthwatering. Of course the tomatoes here in Sydney are pretty ordinary now that summer has at last gone. Thank you so much. It’s so refreshing to read something that is uplifting and non-political.

    • Thank you Janet – it is certainly a pleasure to share Budapest. I’m with you on pursuing all things non-political. The older I get the more I value time with people who grow tomatoes ( or just tomatoes themselves ) rather than the current state of politics…

  4. Anne says:

    Thank you once again for your beautiful words and photographs.

  5. Christine Kelley says:

    Beautiful prose as always Gabrielle. We are having a warm Autumn still the odd day in the high 20s but nights mercifully cool. Due to be 27 on Wednesday which is our 26th wedding anniversary. Hope your film etc doing well. Xx

    Sent from my iPhone


  6. Nicole Kempster says:

    I have food envy !

  7. Julie Elliott says:

    Thank you dear one! You paint such a wonderful canvas when you write. I dearly want to visit Budapest and sample the fare and take in the culture. You look well and happy. Thanks for sharing. Julie and Toby xx

    • Oh Julie, you must come to Budapest! It is a perfect place for travelers like you two – there is so much history and culture, just walking around the streets is an inspiration. Now the city is full of colour, but the Autumn would also be a gorgeous time to come, and Christmas is spectacular. So please let me know when – it’s a date!

  8. ck1957 says:

    As always Gabrielle, my mouth is watering and my eyes are green with envy. What a wonderful time you are having in that beautiful city. I wish we’d had time to explore it like you are when we were there last year. The days here are so balmy at the moment but we are in need of good rains. Love to you both, Chris and Steve xx.

    • Thank you Chris, great to hear from you – and that we can share the adventure of this city, just not at the same time. Why not come back? We can pick up where we left off in NYC!

      • ck1957 says:

        That would be just brilliant!! We are thinking of travelling to Italy with friends next year around late August/early September, and a quick trip to Budapest would be definitely on the cards. 🙂

      • Great to hear Chris! Sounds like a fun trip – and the train journey between here and there through the mountains is apparently gorgeous – especially in the Autumn….

  9. Melissa says:

    We are travelling to Budapest from Melbourne in July. I’m slowly reading through your blog to get some ideas of places to visit. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Amanda says:


  11. Joy Marshall says:

    You are having a great time and I am quite envious . I do miss your regular chats with Rod Quinn on the ABC . When you are done with following the dream I look forward to your return and you talking to your admirers in Auss once again, maybe.!!!! I also would love to visit this wonderful place. Take good care Gabrielle

    • Ah Joy, this is lovely of you to write. Joy by name, joy by nature. I bet you have heard that a million times! The chats with Rod were always fun, and most of all to receive comments when I posted the stories. And of course NYC was an amazing place to live. Just like Budapest is, but for many different reasons. You definitely must visit. One minute we are walking through the ruins of a 12th century monastery and the next at an art deco market eating treats I can’t pronounce. Let’s see what the future holds – for now we are almost into production for the film…. Thank you for your encouragement!

  12. Lorna Wilbore says:

    I love reading about your wonderings through Budapest and all the wonderful eateries that you find. I see spring has arrived as well.

  13. John Wills says:

    My wife and I have just returned to Malta from Budapest,where we celebrated her birthday at a restaurant on the banks of the Danube.
    We were overwhelmed by the city and it’s history (our visit coinciding with Foundation Day celebrations) and will return within a year or two, perhaps in Spring or Autumn.
    We can’t thank you enough for inspiring our visit through the Fitzy Report and look forward to your next instalment when your busy life allows.
    We will return to Australia in January and I am looking forward to burning the midnight oil with Rod Quinn for another year
    Thanks again
    John & Margaret Wills

    • John what a wonderful surprise to hear from you – thank you. It is especially good to hear you celebrated Margaret’s birthday in Budapest and that it was a great success. Happy Birthday Margaret! Isn’t it an amazing city?! On these hot days we have taken to walking up to the castle early in the morning and it is just magical looking back over the river to Parliament. How are you enjoying ‘retirement’? Sounds like you have quite the busy itinerary and I am happy to hear you plan to come back to Budapest. Spring is absolutely beautiful here, I’ve never seen lilacs in such profusion. And Autumn is glorious, but you will be in Malta – how good is that?! Sounds like excellent planning and kudos to you. Enjoy every day, and thank you for sharing the joy. Gabrielle.

  14. Lorna Wilbore says:

    Haven’t heard from you for ages. Just hoping you haven’t stopped your lovely blog. Looking forward to hearing and seeing more.

    • Great to hear from you Lorna and my apologies for the silence! I have been preoccupied with all things ‘film’ and the days fly by. But you have inspired me to share this wonderful life in Budapest, so stand by… Hope all is well in your world.

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