Budapest Bread Festival: Carb-loading on Hungarian street food

I’m trying this thing at the moment where I basically eat a paleo caveman diet about 80 percent of the time, and it’s going surprisingly okay, but when I’m on holiday I like to eat. I’ve enjoyed two excellent carb and cheese-loading trips this year, which I’m feeling very nostalgic for right now. The first was to Budapest. I had an idea that it would be indulgent holiday full of heavy, hearty food – Hungary isn’t known for its delicate soups and salads after all — but then we stumbled on the bread festival and embraced the gluten on a scale that even we had not anticipated.

A three-day long event in May in front of the castle, the bread festival is a gathering of around 50 artisan bakers and pastry shops from the region. Everything was so cheap that rather than wandering around to see what was on offer before making our choices, we just bought everything we saw that we wanted to try.

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Langos are perhaps the most famous Hungarian street snack and can really only be described as devilishly naughty. They are like deep-fried flat breads that get smothered in sour cream and cheese.

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Langallo are basically a cross between langos and pizza. They are made from bread dough and are cooked in a bell-shaped oven stacked with locust-tree logs. Dolloped on top is more sour cream and cheese, along with onion and bacon – truly scrummy.

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I was completely entranced by the way these chimney cakes are made. The dough is stretched out over wooden rolling on skewers and then slowly twizzled over hot coals until they brown up, at which point they are dipped in cinnamon sugar. They taste like the out of the crisp outler layer of warm doughnut, which is every bit as amazing as it sounds.

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Similarly, these potatoes are cut into spirals and stretched across skewers so they can crisp up slowly and evenly over the barbecue.

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Of all the delicious things I ate in Hungary, the retes (studel) is the thing that sticks with me the most. In Budapest they aren’t just filled with fruit – cherry is my favourite – but you can also get them with turo, a kind of cottage cheese curd. It’s the same kind filling that’s put in the popular Hungarian refrigerated chocolate bar Turo Rudi, which we also tried on our city guide’s recommendation.

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We stumbled upon the bread festival quite by accident, and I can’t find any information about when next year’s festivities are scheduled, but if you’re hoping to pay it a visit yourself it should be around during the second week of May. If you’re sick of your own nation’s street food trends, it’s the perfect place to rediscover your love of food markets — and without the extortionate prices!

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  1. October 15, 2013 / 9:44 am

    Being a 90% Paleo person myself, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed slloowwwwlllyy scrolling by the bread and pastry photos. Food porn for paleo eaters. Did you love Budapest?

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