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Hungarian Gastro Glossary



Egészségedre! When the Hungarians raise a glass in a toast, they say “to your health”, i.e. may the content of the glass turn into good health for you. Non-Hungarian speakers may not find it easy to pronounce, but Hungarians are always touched by any attempt they make to do so.

NOKEDLI (DUMPLINGS)

This is a distinctive Hungarian pasta made from just flour, eggs and salt and cooked in sparing amounts of water. This is the most popular side dish for that iconic Hungarian culinary delight, paprika chicken, a type of chicken stew.

 


PÁLINKA

This is a strong alcoholic drink, which is made only in Hungary and only from fruit grown or grape marc produced in Hungary; it has to be fermented and distilled using traditional methods. Every Hungarian will announce with conviction that the best ever pálinka is distilled by one of their relatives. The clearer and fruitier it is, the better the quality of the pálinka.

KÖRÖZÖTT

Curd cheese made from cow’s or even sheep’s milk and mixed with typical Hungarian paprika and ground caraway seeds: this is a favourite at the Hungarian breakfast table or at teatime.

 

SZALONCUKOR (CHRISTMAS FONDANT)

This is a Hungarian creation: a characteristic sweet, dipped in chocolate and wrapped in tissue paper or colourful foil to hang on the Christmas tree. Nowadays, they are made with all kinds of fillings, but the more traditional ones are filled with marzipan or jelly.

RÉTES (STRUDEL)

Served for dessert, this is a stuffed flaky pastry, which is actually not an original Hungarian recipe, but the Hungarians have commandeered it as their own. Most commonly, the pastry is filled with poppy seeds, sweetened curd cheese, apple or sour cherries, but potentially with any combination of these.

 


TÚRÓ (CURD CHEESE)

Curd cheese is made from milk and is basically a freshly made cheese, white in colour, with a lumpy, crumbly texture and a sour flavour. Hungarians are enthusiastic consumers of “túró”, be it made from cow’s or sheep’s milk. It finds its way into sweet as well as savoury dishes, onto pasta as a main course with chopped, fried bacon and as an ingredient for desserts.

 


POGÁCSA

Generally speaking, this is a kind of savoury scone and characteristically served in Hungary as a starter when welcoming guests. It can be made with different additional ingredients such as potato, cheese, butter, curd cheese, cabbage or crackling.

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