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Posts Tagged ‘Cheese’

I went to the Mangalica Fesztival again. It was very cold and snowing the whole time, but I thought it was better than last year. The primary reason is that it was at Szabadság tér instead of Vajdahunyad Vár. The bigger venue meant that it was much less crowded and I was actually able to see everything. I suppose the weather may also have negatively affected the turnout.

There was of course lots of food to eat, palinka to drink, and mangalica products to buy. There was also a live band and the usual handicrafts for sale. The only thing that wasn’t there was the bacon-chocolate stand. I was a little dissappointed, but I probably wouldn’t have bought any anyway.

I remember a number of cheese shops last time, but it seemed like there were even more this year. I was also unencumbered by children so I got to look at them all. Some had “sajtkifli”—little cheeses in the shape of croissants. I ended up buying some gorgonzola, some borkísérő, some very garlicy fresh cheese, and a sampler. I think I spent all the money I’ve been saving by living frugally. Oh well, it was probably worth it just to make Rachel jealous. :-)

Then I ate some fried sauerkraut. It was delicious and, for a little while at least, warm. As I was eating I watched the snowflakes fall on the table and stick. It was the first time that I can remember seeing snowflakes with the stereotypical shape. I’m used to tiny powder, massive mega-flakes, and melted flakes, but not the Christmas ornament type. They were about 5 millimeters across and very beautiful. Unfortunately no pictures turned out so you’ll have to imagine them.

After I set off for home I realized I had forgottent to eat any kürtőskalács! Instead I stopped at Deák tér and bought some there. It was probably cheaper that way, but I have to admit, not quite as fun.

Oh, I almost forgot. There were actual mangalica this time:

Roasting pigs

To be honest, I'm not sure these are mangalica. Notice the jet of steam coming out of a hole in the back of the closest.

Including a half a dozen kismalac:

Mangalica sow with piglets

When I was taking this picture a little girl behind me kept saying, "Pici, pici, pici," or "Tiny, tiny, tiny". Perhaps it would be better translated as "Wee, wee, wee."

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One disadvantage to living in the United States is that you only get one kind of grape. Granted, it’s seedless, has a thin skin and is mild, but you still only get one kind of grape. Sure you might seem some other strains occasionally, but for the most part grapes are as uniform as cheddar cheese (maybe less if you count white cheddar as different that orange). Today we went to the market and I purchased 7 different types of grape. I know that’s rather pathetic since Wikipedia lists 858 different varieties in English and 72 in Hungarian (one that I bought wasn’t on either list) but in my defense it was only one day (and hence not all 72 are in season) and I only bought those marked with names that I could see. I’ve been meaning to buy “all” the different types of grape for some time, and today seemed like a good day to start since they were selling Souvenir grapes which I had never seen before. They are elongated and look like ornamental purple peppers.  They are exactly the sort of thing that a man like me cannot pass up. Apparently Hungarians love peppers so much they even have grapes that look like them!

The Seven Grapes

The grapes are, from left to right, top to bottom:

  • Saszla (Chasselas). There is also a red version which I didn’t buy.
    These are the most common and most like American table grapes.
  • Muskotály (Muscat).
  • Palatina Augusztusi Muskotály (Muscat).  I couldn’t really tell the muscats apart.
  • Othello (cross of Vitis labrusca, Vitis riparia, and Vitis
    vinifera–whatever that means since they all have many varieties).  This was my favorite.
  • Néró (cross of Medoc Noir and Pearl of Csaba).
  • Boglárka (translated Buttercup).  This was my least favorite and kind of the American “alternate” grape.
  • Szuvenír (translated Souvenir).  This were actually very nice, but I was expecting too much.  I wanted them to taste radically different and they didn’t.
We also bought fresh garlic, red onion, and smoked black pepper cheeses (we previously bought paprika (red pepper), olive, and cumin flavored).  When we got home I had an old fashioned unpressed wine and cheese tasting.  If only every Saturday were this nice.

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Turos

Hungary has this cheese called Turos that the Hungarians are in love with. Most often you see it in Turorudi – a refrigerated chocolate covered candy that you can buy almost anywhere. You can also get it in pastries (it’s really good) and apparently you can buy it at the store because I found some yesterday and I bought it. It’s kind of like cottage cheese, but not as regular in shape and without the runny stuff between the curds I guess. It tastes a little like cottage cheese, but not really. It’s pretty hard to explain, really. But I bought a bag of it yesterday and then had to figure out what to do with it. We ate a little bit on bread and it was pretty good that way, but sometime last night it hit me – muffins! It would be good in muffins!

So, this morning I got up and mixed up some muffins, mixed a little sugar in with some of the turos and then spread it on top of the batter before baking the muffins. Unfortunately, I have no muffin tins here. So I make muffin cakes in a 9×9 glass pan. It works really well, actually, and that’s the form my turomuffins took today. I was really hoping that the batter would rise up around the turos and make the turos more of a filling type thing, but it ended up more of a topping. It was pretty good anyway, but I think next time I’ll put a little more sugar in the turos. So are you all so proud of me? I came up with my own experimental muffin recipe with a cultural ingredient! I feel like such a foodie.

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