Draft of citrus and cloves slapped my cold-numbed face; mulled wine and punch simmered in drum-like vats in one of the stalls at a Christmas market in Budapest. It was a week after the 25th, yet could there be a better break after a day’s walk in sub-zero temperatures?
Moments ago, we had been welcomed by a plump bronze policeman with belly and mustache polished by continual meddling hands of lens-happy tourists. From there, arcs of lights had led us to the St. Stephen’s Basilica Square that sparkled like jewels studded garish wonderland.
At the entry of Saint Stepen Square, a sign read ‘Langosh’ and my friend’s words repeated in my mind, ‘It is just like bhatura,’ she had said. But the bread’s similarity with deep fried Indian bread ended there, for sour cream and cheese were the recommended traditional Hungarian toppings. Being a nonconformist, I also had some chicken and bell peppers on top of it and paid thrice more than what it cost in a non-touristic area.
In the market, many stalls sold pork knuckles, stuffed cabbage, roast turkey, grilled chicken, goulash, chimney bread, roasted chestnuts and many more delicacies. Besides food stands, some bars offered mulled wine and other drinks. Many booths sold souvenirs like Christmas cribs, paintings, packs of paprika, pepper paste and other things. Continue reading