Posted in Food, Travel, tagged boglárka, Cheese, grapes, Market, muskotály, néró, othello, saszla, szuvenír, thompson seedless on September 3, 2011|
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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 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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Budapest has a Christmas market every year in Vörösmarty Tér. Recently Budapest made the areas around Vörösmarty Tér a pedestrian zone so we walked down a couple really nice streets of high end shopping district to get the the square crammed with Christmas stands. There were about three or four rows of stands set up with enough space between them for about two to three people to stand shoulder to shoulder. We got there around 2 or 3 in the afternoon and it wasn’t too crowded but by 4:00 or so our two strollers were becoming a public nuisance.
Budapest’s Market is a good one to go to (many of the cities in Europe have them) because they work pretty hard to keep the booths selling only traditional and hand made crafty things. There were all sorts of things there from cow bells to hand bound books to felt slippers and hair clips to wood puzzles, bowls and goblets. We got a hand bound journal for the new baby and a beaded ornament of the old Hungarian flag.
Thanks to Nephi and Melinda for all the pictures on this post as we forgot our camera.
There were several nativity scenes around the square
A traditional Hungarian treat for festival times is kürtőskalács. They’re a bread dough wrapped around a dowel about 3 inches across and then turned over coals kind of like meat on a spit or something to cook them. Then they put vanilla sugar, nuts, cinnamon, coconut, or cocoa powder on the outside and sell them hot. They’re super good, but I’d recommend having someone to share them with. They’re huge. Ivan and I shared one with Avery and it was plenty big enough for all three of us. We got coconut and it was delicious. The people we were with got vanilla sugar and it was alright, but I liked the coconut better.
And then there was the dog with dreadlocks:
I’m not even sure the picture does him justice. I didn’t believe he was real. I thought the owner was holding onto a leash for effect or something and then the dog moved and I still almost didn’t believe it. Apparently this is a traditional Hungarian grown kind of sheep dog. There are two breeds, the best known is the Komondor, and it looks just like the dog has dreadlocks. Wikipedia has more if you’re interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Komondor
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