As the holidays are almost here, we would like to give you a full tutorial on how to have a very Hungarian Christmas feast.
If you are thinking about spicing things up this year, let us make a perfectly Hungarian Christmas together, including food and traditions. None of these dishes is too difficult, nor do they require any special talent to prepare, but if you happen to be spending the holidays in Budapest, we have also collected top restaurants from where you can order your menu. Otherwise, let us get to it.
Back in the day, based on Christian traditions, the Christmas feast was preceded by a fast during the Advent period. The fast ended with a midnight mass on Christmas Eve, after which people went home and had a nice family dinner. The meals we used to eat might have changed by now, but the traditional stuffed cabbage, for example, has been with us for a pretty long time.
When you start preparing the dinner table, you will need a nice, Christmas-themed tablecloth. White may not be compatible with the menu.
A soup is a must-have in Hungary. A popular choice is to have Fisherman’s soup or a rich meat soup with vegetables.
Besides the already mentioned stuffed cabbage, fish or other types of meat with side dishes and potatoes is also very common to have. Traditionally, pork used to be preferred over chicken as the latter one was thought to take one’s luck away for the upcoming year (this superstition also applies to January 1st). A popular combination is some breaded fish with potato salad that includes boiled potatoes, red onion, and mayonnaise.
If you feel like you can still eat after the main course, Hungarians have some very filling but also delicious desserts. Probably the most famous Christmas dessert is bejgli: a rolled-up cake with sweet walnut or poppy-seed filling. A very easy but rewarding dessert is the hókifli which is only made of ground walnuts, flour, powdered sugar, and butter. Some gingerbread should also be included on the table – it is always a good family activity to bake and decorate them together –, as they look good and taste good, too.
For the full Hungarian experience, it would be recommended to get some nice Tokaj wine to accompany the meal on its own, or you can also make mulled wine out of it. And, of course, we must finish the night with a nice shot of pálinka.
Lastly, it is important to mention here that since traditional Hungarian dishes may not be the healthiest, with some changes and substitutions, you can always make your Christmas feast a little bit healthier and less demanding for your stomach.
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