Cooking classes in foreign countries are a great way to not only learn how to cook new things but also to learn about the culture of the place you are visiting. I had such a fabulous time in Chiang Mai that when Eric mentioned he found a few cooking school options in Budapest, I was eager to try it out.
I choose Culinary Hungary because it included an optional market tour and the class was a one on one teaching experience in a home kitchen.
I met Agnes outside the Central Market and we hit it off right away as we navigated the bustling market. She was full of interesting facts and tips for shopping in the market and encouraged me to sample various foods like langos (delicious crispy potato bread), mangalitsa salami and a chocolate-covered cottage cheese dessert.
She was quick to point out that the paprika sold at the market was not high quality so when I mentioned that was one of the main things I wanted to bring home, we made a quick stop at a smaller market near her house. “When I run out of my grandmother’s paprika, I buy from this guy.” That’s a great endorsement!
I choose the three dishes I wanted to make ahead of time, so first up was preparing ingredients for the goulash soup and chicken paprikash. We chopped several onions since they are a base for practically every Hungarian dish (except dessert of course), drank red wine and chatted. It was essentially a perfect afternoon.
To complete the meal, I chose to make the most decadent chocolate dessert available, a Hungarian sponge cake filled with vanilla custard and rum chocolate sauce, somloi galuska. There are many steps to make this dessert, but it’s not complicated. Trust me, it tasted as good as it looks…
Not only did I get to spend the afternoon drinking wine and cooking, I picked up excellent paprika from a market I never would have visited on my own, learned about name days and naming conventions in Hungary, discovered the most incredible condiment (brought home two jars) and made a new friend. Agnes even packaged up the leftovers for me to bring back for Eric to try at the hotel!
I can’t recommend Agnes enough for an educational and fun afternoon in Budapest.