Throughout December, various Christmas markets pop up in the city, with their stalls weighed down under the most diverse goodies, from edibles to collectibles. The goodies are all artisan work, and come in any material, in all functions, offering a whole slew of gift ideas with a Hungarian touch. The markets provide not just food for thought but food to sample and savour. The season’s must-have is fried sausage and meat with pickled vegetables, and the drink to drink is, of course, mulled wine. The market in Vörösmarty Square, a stone’s throw from Kempinski Corvinus, is the most central and grandiose, with the Gerbeaud building, and it also offers a stage with performances and children’s activities.
The unmistakable sweet perfume of kürtőskalács, a cylinder-shaped cake, which some call chimney cake, is as Hungarian as it gets – Hungarians insist. A strip of sweet dough is wound around a spit, baked and rolled in sugar, which caramelises on the surface. The resulting delicacy resembles an oversize hollow tube, which you unwind as you tear bits off. Its recent renaissance has seen bakers come up with several varieties – pick your own filling or eat it the way the purists do without further ado.