As long time blog readers will recall, one of the most memorable experiences we had during the Panama Canal cruise was a cooking class in Huatuco at Chiles & Chocolate, so when I ran across Budapest Home Cooking while researching Budapest on Trip Advisor I thought it would be fun and interesting. The other three agreed so I booked with Agnes who was great to deal with via the Internet and wonderful to finally meet on our last day.
Agnes offers a market tour, a cooking class, or a combination which is what we elected to do. The price is in Hungarian Florints which worked out to be $108 per person on the day we were there.
Agnes and her aide Andrew met us at the market at 9am. She had suggested we eat only a light breakfast which was hard to do given the delicious spread the Palazzo Zichy offered each morning. We thought it was because we were going to be cooking and eating a late lunch…but the market tour includes tastings so it was not a diet day!
The market is beautiful and HUGE in the words of that orange haired guy who wants to be our next president. (Please no, though I have always wanted to live in Canada). The picture below is of one of the four aisles that run its length. It has three stories, fresh vegetables, butchers, and cheese on the ground floor, fish and pickles in the basement and a balcony level that has prepared foods and handicrafts.
Imagine a not sweet very fluffy funnel cake spread with a yougurty sour cream, some garlic sprinkles and lots of cheese which melts slightly because of the heat of the pastry. That’s a Langos. Agnes said you can get them sweet or savory with all sorts of toppings but she said this was her favorite. It was surprisingly tasty! Here is Agnes telling us about it before we dug in.
We then strolled down past stalls with various stream tables of delicious looking food …most with a red tinge, hopefully you have heard of Hungarian paprika? It goes into most every dish and isn’t just used here to make deviled eggs look pretty! Agnes pointed out various specialties and explained how they were made.
It was all good but the most interesting was the stuffed cabbage. They use pickled cabbage leaves for the wrapping and include sauerkraut in the stuffing. Agnes showed us the pickle barrel in the basement where they pickle the whole head at once and you buy as many leaves as you need.
After wandering the handicrafts section (need some lace?) we headed down to the main floor. This is where I found out that the pork I had the night before had been hairy and that we shouldn’t have turned our noses up at the Gray Beef that we saw on several menus. Turna out gray describes the cow, not the meat! We had one last taste which was Retes, a stuffed pasty about the size of rugala. All but Mike had sweet ones with fruit or nuts. Mike’s was cabbage.
We then jumped in two cabs (Andrew rejoined us) and headed to Buda to cook some of the food Agnes purchased during our market time.
The class is taught in what used to be Agnes’ family’s home before she, husband and small children moved back to the country where their parents live. They use it now for the class and as a place to stay when they are in the city. It had 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths and a combination living/dining/kitchen space which is where we would be cooking and eating and learning.
There are several soups, entrees, and desserts offered on the website from which to choose. We elected to prepare Goulash Soup (what we call Goulash in the US is called beef stew in Hungary), pork meatballs with a potato based cross between gravy and stew, and apple cake which was more like a pie make with a cakey crust. All were delicious and it was fun to make them and learn about Hungarian life one on one.
We began our meal with the traditional Hungarian aperitif, Palinka. It seems most families have a small still and use fruit they have grown (usually apricots) to make this fire water. We then has the Goulash Soup which was similar to vegatable beef soup.
We left Agnes and Andrew about 3:15 ( so a six hour tour with tasty meal for $108 is a deal) and headed back to our hotel.
Mike and I had checked out after breakfast, so we gathered our bags and left Yost and Sam as we Uber-ed to our airport hotel.