In all, I've probably spent close to five months of my life living in Hungary.
|Photo by Paula Murphy|
|The most refreshing summer dish this side of the Danube River.|
When I was a child, my family vacationed there several summers in a row, and upon graduating high school, I toured the country with my mother, taking a train from Budapest southwest into Croatia, stopping in small, quaint towns along the way. And everywhere, though I have always been a fairly adventuresome eater, there was one dish I could never pass up: Cold fruit soup.
It's an Eastern European dish also found in some Baltic and Middle Eastern countries, but largely absent from Asia and the Americas (unless you count gazpacho and a few Asian dessert soups) that's served as an appetizer, even though it's sweet like dessert. Across Hungary, the hot, humid summers are tempered by cold fruit soup in nearly every restaurant and nearly every seasonal flavor.
The most traditional version is meggyleves, cold sour cherry soup, but I also encountered peach, raspberry, strawberry and mixed fruit soups in cafes across Budapest. There was the creamy raspberry soup at Marcello Étterem, the tart cherry soup at Café Kor and the sweet, silky peach soup at Centrál Káveház.
And here in Houston, there's sour cherry soup at Kenny & Ziggy's, our own little outpost for Hungarian cuisine.More »