It was pumpkin season in Hungary when I was visiting there in early October. On a ride through the countryside, bright orange pumpkins could be spotted in yards, laying in the warm sunshine, probably waiting to be carved into a jack-o-lantern. Signs at restaurants announced the celebration of pumpkin week. Restaurants in Hungary are very mindful of using local, seasonal ingredients on their menus.
A chalkboard sign outside of Anno Taverna Restaurant in Balatonszárszón, a little village on the south side of
My meal began with a bowl of pork knuckle and bean soup, hot and hardy. Then, a cucumber salad made with the freshest-tasting cucumbers I’ve ever eaten. Finally, a plate of deep orange pumpkin latkes studded with chewy green pumpkin seeds and flavored with a hint of nutmeg. Three hefty-sized crunchy rounds were topped with a big dollop of sour cream, a sprig of fresh rosemary and a few drops of greenish brown pumpkin seed oil glistening under the autumn sun. Around the outside edge of the plate was sprinkles of a mixture of dried bits of minced green and red peppers, cracked black and white peppercorns and coarse salt. That plate of food was a beautiful work of art, really. And the latkes, delicious.
I tried to recreate those pumpkin pancakes when I returned home. I was very satisfied with the results. If you’re interested in seeing my recipe, you can click here.
It was the perfect time for a food-lover like me to visit Hungary. Apples, pears, plums, almonds, walnuts and chestnuts were being harvested from the trees. Rose hips were being turned into delicious sauces and syrups.
Peppers from gardens were dried and ready to be ground, providing fragrant sweet and hot paprikas for Hungarian cooks to season meats and gravies.
Hungary is heavenly in October.
It seemed to be a good year for almonds.
Freshly shelled walnuts wound up in coffee cakes and strudels:
Roses are everywhere in Hungary. I noticed they were often planted at the end of each row of grapevines. And they were right at home in gardens throughout the countryside and growing wild along the side of the roads. Rose hip sauce was served with meat and sweet strudels.
I enjoyed such delicious apple strudel while I was in Hungary. They must make the best, with layers of thin, flakey dough wrapped around apple filling. It was just like the strudel I remembered my grandma making.
All of the fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts make October in Hungary the season to be eating.