Saturday, November 22, 2008
A strudel is a type of sweet layered pastry with filling inside, that became well known and gained popularity in the Habsburg Empire.
The word itself derives from the German word Strudel, which literally means "eddy" or "whirlpool". It is most often associated with Austrian cuisine, but is also a traditional pastry in the whole area formerly belonging to the Austro-Hungarian empire (for example, in Hungary it is known as Rétes, in Slovenia as štrudelj, in Czech Republic as závin or štrúdl, in Romania as ştrudel, in Croatia as štrudla).
The best-known kinds are apple strudel and cottage cheese strudel (with sweet cottage cheese, my personal fave :)). Other strudels types include sour cherry and poppy seed strudel or raisins. There are also savory strudels incorporating spinach, cabbage and sauerkraut. Strudel pastry is very elastic. It is made from flour with a high gluten content, little fat (butter) and no sugar. The pastry is rolled out and stretched very thinly.
Pertaining to anecdotes, purists say, it should be so thin that a newspaper can be read through it. A legend has it that the Austrian Emperor's cook decreed that it should be possible to read a love letter through it. The pastry is laid out on a tea towel and the filling is spread on it. Then it is rolled up carefully with the help of the towel and baked in the oven.
It probably has its origins in Byzantine Empire or Middle Eastern pastries (see baklava and Turkish cuisine), and is related to the Balkan. It is very popular in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as other ex-Yugoslav republics.
Normafa is a popular place for excursions in Budapest located in the XII. district and in winter its a perfect place for skiing, sledging and snowboarding with great view to the city. There are few buffets (American hot-dog, mulled wine, hot tea, some grocery stores).
And there is my favorite small wooden shade hiding behind the ski-buffet building, it's called "Rétes Büfé" (Strudel Buffet) and you can find there the most delicious strudel, what I've ever eaten it. :)
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Last weekend I had spent few days in Eger. I participated (with my colleges and all of my bosses) in a training. To be honest it was a special experience to me :)
Eger is a city in northern Hungary, the county seat of Heves, and it's situated between the Bükk and east of the Mátra Mountains. Eger is best known for its castle, thermal baths, historic buildings (including the northernmost Turkish minaret), and red and white wines.
The Eger wine region lies in the North of Hungary, South-west of the Bükk Mountains at a distance of 120 km from Budapest. According to the provisions of the Wine Law of 1997 the region is divided into two districts: the Eger and the Debrő district. While red wines dominate in the Eger district, the Debrő district excels in the production of white wine, so we can conclude that both types are significant in the region.
First in the list of characteristic grapes mention should be made of Kékfrankos (Blue Franck -- this kind is grown in the largest amount/volume/mass on 849 hectares) Kékoportó (Blue Oporto - Portugieser 293 hectares) and Zweigelt (317). Among white grapes Leányka takes the lead (543 hectares) in front of Rizlingszilváni (Riesling Sylvani - 330 h) Olaszrizling (Welshriesling 177 hectares) and Muscat Ottonel (204 h). Of its wines the duely world-famous Egri Bikavér (Bull's blood) was the first Hunarian wine to get origin protection. But this is not the one and only excellent red wine of the area, the region can boast with. Kékfrankos, Kékoportó, Merlot, Medina and Zweigelt all yield excellent quality wines. And of course, we must mention Pinot Noir, which also yields excellent vintages/wines due to the climate largely similar to that in Burgundy. From among white wines Debrői Hárslevelű, Egri Leányka and Verpeléti Olaszrizling have won general acclaim.
The colorful variety of the cellar system in the Eger region is unique in Hungary.
It is well worth savoring the special atmosphere of the cellars in Szépasszony-völgy (Fair Dame Vale) as well.
The Feast of Egri Bukavér (Bull's Blood) St. Donath's Day Eger Vintage Days from early September to late October: Vintagers' procession, Vintage Celebration, Wine Auction The feast of Eger wine guards, the first Sunday of Advent The Blessing of Wine on St. John's Day 27-28 December: Eger Wine Salon Exhibition
Source: Hungarian wines