HUNGARY'S CULINARY EVOLUTION
Hungary's history rich past has always been full of heartache, betrayal, striving to stay independent, endless fights for freedom, but above all pride in who we are as a nation.
That pride prompted me to create a page in honor of my country, Hungary in assistance with the Hungarian National Tourism Board. Please visit the splendid sights of this constantly changing land that the history of our ancestors forever placed their stamp on. Learn about the still beautifully preserved historical buildings, magnificent Cafés and of course our world famous sumptuous Hungarian cuisine.
The First written records of Hungarian gastronomy date back to the 15th century. According to our King Matthias' chronicles, the most popular dishes were pork, beef, venison, lamb, and game. Every food was served with gravies made from their own juices. People dunked their bread in these savoury sauces.
King Matthias was also famous for his library the corvinas, which was the most famous collection of books in the world. They are still national treasures today.
The great traditions of Hungarian cuisine have, in the last ten to fifteen years, successfully mingled with modern sophistication. At its roots, classic Hungarian gastronomy is nothing less than French bonne bouches reaching Hungary via Austria and mixing with ancient Hungarian peasant dishes - many of them originated in Asia - offering every gourmand something to his/her taste.
The first thing that people recall about Hungarian cuisine is goulash (gulyas), which is, contrary to popular belief, not a stew but an artistically prepared thick soup, as in Hungary Gulyas actually means what the English speaking world calls Goulash Soup. You must try fish soup, chicken paprikash, and the excellent fresh-water fish: grilled pike-perch, trout with almond. Also compulsory is goose liver. Whether fried or grilled, cold or hot, it is simply unforgettable.
Desserts really deserve a separate chapter. The most delicious ones are strudels, Gundel crêpes , somlói dumplings and gesztenyepüré (cooked chestnuts mashed, topped with whipped cream). Specialities include salty and sweet pastas, of which cottage cheese (túrós csusza )is warmly recommended.
Hungary's annual wine production totals 4.2 million hecto litres mellowed in 22 historical wine regions. Budapest is known for its sizable storage and bottling capacity.
Louis XIV, the Sun King, was such an admirer of world famous Tokaj wine that he termed it the "Wine of kings, the King of Wines". Wine of the Balaton region, the full-bodied Villány-Siklós, the famous wines of Eger and the Egri Bikavér (Bull's Blood) in particular also enjoy a wide international reputation.
You can find live gypsy music in all of these fine restaurant nightly to create a complete culinary experience for both heart and soul.
HUNGARIAN WINE PRODUCTION
CAFÉ HOUSES OF BUDAPEST
Café New York Budapest
New York Café is the most beautiful coffee house in Budapest, located in the world famous New York Palace Hotel. It is one of the most characteristic and most impressive buildings of the Nagykörút or Grand Boulevard in English. In addition, the building is of cultural historical significance in Hungary. The café became famous in the 1900s for its regular tables of writers, poets and artists as well as magazine editors.
The palace was ordered by the New York Life Insurance Company of the United States to be built by Alajos Hauszmann, who finished the eclectic, four-storey palace with the café on the ground floor for the grand opening on 23 October 1894.
After the change of the political system in 1990, the government could not market the state-owned building for a decade.
Eventually, in February 2001, the Italian Boscolo Group purchased the building and, after a complete renovation, the luxury hotel with 107 rooms and the New York Café on the ground floor, restored to its former magnificence, was reopened on 5 May 2006.
The tradition-rich history of Gerbeaud began in 1858 with Henrik Kugler, the third descendent of a confectionery dynasty. During his years of travel and as an apprentice, Kugler perfected his specialized knowledge of his art in eleven European metropolises, including Paris. The influence of this experience is recognizable to this day.
Kugler opened his first café on what is now József nádor Square. Because of the tastefully furnished salon, the assortment of Chinese and Russian tea specialities, and „the best ice-creams in Pest,” it soon became a wellknown meeting place.In 1870, Henrik Kugler moved his business to Vörösmarty Square, where he could offer his delicacies from the centre of the city. Kugler’s frothy coffee with chocolate, his special liqueurs and his bon-bons drew in crowds. The Kugler tortes and mignons were not only well-loved, but could be wrapped on a paper tray to take-away, an innovation of Kugler’s. Famous personalities such as Franz Deák and Franz Liszt were among the patrons of the café. In 1881, Kugler’s was called „the meeting point of six elegant worlds.”
Henrik Kugler met Emil Gerbeaud for the first time in 1882, in Paris. He invited him a year later to Budapest in order to make him his business partner. Emil Gerbeaud took on a great number of new employees in both sales and service.
He introduced numerous innovations: he included among the café’s offerings exceptional, new products, he created hundreds of biscuits, sweets, bon-bons and cherry liqueur bon-bons. He equipped his bakery with modern machines.
By the end of the century, he had approximately 150 employees, many of whom had come to Budapest specifically to work for him. The name Gerbeaud soon become well known and respected. With good business sense, Emil Gerbeaud continued for decades to use the name of his predecessor, Henrik Kugler.
Gerbeaud stands today on Vörösmarty Square, with a complete offer of modern hospitality. The extraordinary history of the House continues to characterize the special atmosphere of Gerbeaud.
BUDAPEST PARLAMENT BUILDING
The Hungarian Parliament Building is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary, one of Europe's oldest legislative buildings, a notable landmark of Hungary and a popular tourist destination of Budapest. It lies in Lajos Kossuth Square, on the bank of the Danube, in Budapest. It is currently the largest building in Hungary, and the largest Parliament in Europe.
Budapest was united from three cities in 1873 and seven years later the National Assembly resolved to establish a new, representative Parliament Building, expressing the sovereignty of the nation. A competition was published, which was won by Imre Steindl. Construction from the winning plan was started in 1885 and the building was inaugurated on the 1000th anniversary of the country in 1896, and completed in 1904. (The architect of the building went blind before its completion.)
There were about one thousand people working on its construction in which 40 million bricks, half a million precious stones and 40 kilograms (88lb) of gold were used.
Similar to the Palace of Westminster, it was built in Gothic Revival style; it has a symmetrical façade and a central dome. It is 268 m (879 ft) long and 123 m (404 ft) wide. Its interior includes 10 courtyards, 13 passenger and freight elevators, 27 gates, 29 staircases and 691 rooms (including more than 200 offices). With its height of 96 m (315 ft), it is one of the two tallest buildings in Budapest, along with Saint Stephen's Basilica. The number 96 refers to the nation's millennium, 1896, and the conquest of the later Kingdom of Hungary in 896.
The main façade faces the River Danube, but the official main entrance is from the square in front of the building. Inside and outside, there are altogether 242 sculptures on the walls. On the façade, statues of Hungarian rulers, Transylvanian leaders and famous military people are to be seen. Over the windows, there are pictures of coats of arms of kings and dukes. The main entrance is the stairs located on the eastern side, bordered by two lions.
When entering the Parliament, visitors can walk up great ornamental stairs, see frescoes on the ceiling and pass by the bust of the creator, Imre Steindl, in a wall niche. Other statues include those of Árpád, Stephen I and John Hunyadi.
One of the famous parts of the building is the hex decagonal (sixteen-sided) central hall, with huge chambers adjoining it: the Lower House (today the National Assembly meets here) and the Upper House (until 1945). T
he Holy Crown of Hungary, which is also depicted in the coat of arms of Hungary, has been displayed in the central hall since 2000. Further features include the stained glass and glass mosaic paintings by Miksa Róth.
THE HOLLY CROWN OF HUNGARY
The Holy Crown of Hungary (Latin: Sacra Corona), also known as the Crown of Saint Stephen, appears to be the only secular crown today with the "holy" attribute; the Crown of Thorns is also known as the Holy Crown of Jesus, but is in a reliquary in Notre Dame Cathedral.
The Hungarian coronation insignia consists of the Holy Crown, the scepter, the orb, and the mantle. Since the twelfth century kings have been crowned with the still extant crown. The orb has the coat-of-arms of the Hungarian king Charles I of Hungary (1310–1342); the other insignia can be linked to Saint Stephen.
The Crown was bound to the Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen, (sometimes the Sacra Corona meant the Land, the Carpathian Basin, but it also meant the coronation body, too). No king of Hungary was regarded as having been truly legitimate without being crowned with it. In the history of Hungary, more than fifty kings were crowned with it (the two kings who were not so crowned were John II Sigismund and Joseph II).
It was first called the Holy Crown in 1256. During the 14th century royal power came to be represented not simply by a crown, but by just one specific object: the Holy Crown. This also meant that the Kingdom of Hungary was a special state: they were not looking for a crown to inaugurate a king, but rather, they were looking for a king for the crown; as written by Crown Guard Péter Révay. He also depicts that "the Holy Crown is the same for the Hungarians as the Lost Ark is for the Jewish". In historical documents, the crown is considered to be a living entity. This derives from the legal point that the crown is the sole sovereign of the kingdom (and not the king), as stated in the Doctrine of the Holy Crown.
Since 2000, the Holy Crown is in the Central Hall of the Hungarian Parliament Building.