A few of my favourite things
April 3, 2016 § Leave a comment
I’m quite proud of the fact that I can harness the two conflicting sides to my nature, the idealist and the cynic, rather well. But there is another side to me: that which revels in the sensual pleasures this world has to offer. It is this trait that allows me to cherish the small, day-to-day occurrences, without which life would be reduced to one dreary blur. And as of late I’ve had plenty of opportunities to indulge this part of me.
I was thrilled when I was invited by a local friend of mine to spend the day with him and his family during the Easter weekend. They live in a small town, Tata, to the north east of Budapest; an hour’s drive away. It’s a town with a history stretching all the way back to the Romans, and which served as a fortress during the Ottoman occupation. Yet as pleased as I was with the free, guided tour of the town, it was the food that blew my socks off.
Lunch began with duck broth with carrots and fusilli. Main course was roast duck and oranges, with buttered potatoes and roast potatoes with rosemary served on the side, along with braised red cabbage and horseradish. And to top it all off there was a gorgeous chestnut cake with a vanilla and banana center, glazed with chocolate.
Dinner was a more traditional Easter affair (lunch being more of a Sunday family meal): smoked and cured hams served with radish, boiled eggs and slices of bread; swished down with homemade cherry juice. Oh, and several more slices of the above mentioned cake.
A two hour workout session that morning that included mitts, sparring, and the heavy bag left me with a voracious appetite. Which will also explain the lack of photos.
A word on confectionery in this country. It’s not a fact often touted but Hungarians are marvellous bakers. Sour cherries, walnuts, almonds, caramel, cream, chocolate, strawberries, apricot jam are but some of the fillings and toppings available. My salivary glands are kicked into overdrive whenever I step into a pastry shop. Not to mention the indecision I suffer. Paired with the espresso like coffee they drink here, the result is bliss: the latter being warm; full bodied, the former smooth and luxuriant. Do not skip desert in this country, because once you leave you wont find anything quite like it anywhere else.