Hungary’s diverse and varied history is on show, not only in the beauty of the country’s architecture, but also in the richness of its culinary scene. Influenced by various empires, the cuisine and wine has evolved to be one of Europe’s most interesting and diverse. There’s certainly no shortage of incredible flavors to savor while visiting this fascinating Eastern European nation.
The Foreign Influence On Wine
Like many European countries, Hungary has a long history of wine production, with records showing vineyards were in abundance by at least the 5th century. Somewhat unusually, Hungary’s wine industry has been influenced by the Romans, Ottomans and Germans, blending different approaches to create a distinctly Hungarian approach.
Hungary is particularly well-known internationally for sweet dessert wines, owing largely to the prevalence of ‘noble rot’ in Croatia’s north – although today there are also many drier whites, too. On the other end of the spectrum, Hungary’s famous ‘Bull’s Blood’ wine is a full-bodied red produced in the rich soil of the Eger region.
You Won’t Go Hungry in Hungary
Clearly, Hungary has a wine for every occasion – and every dish. Like its wine, Hungarian cuisine has several distinct influences, and is overall predominantly Eastern European. Food is typically hearty, with an emphasis on meat, dairy and bread, as well as a generous sprinkling of hot paprika. It’s perfect for enjoying during a chilly Eastern European winter – perhaps along with a glass of Bull’s Blood.
Having shaken off its communist past, cuisine in Hungary is currently experiencing a reinvigoration as chefs experiment with new ingredients and approaches. This has led to the creation of many new dishes and a modernizing of Hungarian cuisine, making it a very exciting time to visit and experience the nation’s culinary change firsthand. Especially in large cities such as Budapest, the cuisine is a fascinating mix of old and new.
Hungary is a history lover’s paradise, but its diverse and often dramatic past is reflected not only in its architecture and museums, but also in its food and wine. Cuisine often goes hand-in-hand with culture, and there are few places that’s truer than Hungary.