Saturday, February 28, 2015

Debrecen (Hungary) Gourmet Food Festival

On my last day in Debrecen last year in May I stumbled upon a lovely surprise in the centre of town. There was a Gourmet Festival! Lots of food activity on the Kossuth Square in front of the Big Reformed Church was brewing. I could not be more than ecstatic!

This is what I had for lunch. Some traditional thick meat stew -- Goulash (Pörkölt Bogrács). There are 2 types of Goulash I realised, the soup version and the stew version. Paprika spice is also a typical Hungarian thing I noticed.

Colourful Hungarian style nougat (Törökméz) and jelly with nuts.

You know, I live for these kinds of events. Food market halls, gourmet festivals, open-air markets, I search for them and even work my travel agenda around these places and events. I got lucky because I didn’t know about this food festival in May in Debrecen and managed to attend one. A great finale indeed—the icing on the cake for my Debrecen trip =)

So it made decision making rather quite easy where to have lunch. However, it was a bit difficult at first to choose what to have for lunch because there were just too many food choices. I only have one stomach  to pile everything up in and one meal to exploit, and inasmuch as I want to stretch my belly to accommodate all the oozing lovely goodness around me, well sadly, I just can’t. Foodies can you relate?

One of the things I have learned through the years and practice these days is—NOT TO OVEREAT. I just eat what is enough for me. This is actually the not-so-secret-recipe of not gaining a ludicrous amount of weight. I’m in my mid 40’s so I have become mindful of weight gain and health concerns. I keep this rule of thumb to heart and in a way it helps me keep the same clothing size, when I was in my 20’s and 30’s, although fluctuating between 2 sizes nonetheless.

Travelling and holidays though can be a challenge because these are the occasions to splurge, become a bit reckless and turn into a horrible glutton. I had a 5-minute food attack at the Gourmet Festival in Debrecen. I want to eat and buy everything I saw! Haha. But I managed to shake free the uncontrolled foodie thoughts. I have to admit, food events are the devil. They are the temptation. Because most of us make decisions emotionally based on our sensing faculties. Can you for a second imagine walking around and seeing scrumptious food? And here is the hardest part—smelling them as well. Ugh. My sensing faculties were overpowered! Luckily, when I travel and go on holiday I tend to be a bit active. So after 10+ kilometres of walking in a day I have managed to burn my lunch or dinner =)

I am not sure if this food festival is a regular one during May in Debrecen. I did some googling and no food festival in May came up. Anyway, enjoy the pictures of the Gourmet Festival below.

Hungarian fruit cakes (Gyümölcskenyér), cake roll (Beigli) and more pastries with fruits.

The Palinka alcoholic drink is almost a national treasure. They come in many different fruity flavours even. I prefer the original one though.

These are Chimney Cakes (Kürtőskalács). I first saw these in Prague, Czech Republic at the Christmas Markets many years ago.

Meat and sausages. That's Central Europe for you. And pasta, rice and potatoes.

These are Hungarian style strudel (Kígyó rétes) -- ala crepes and fried.

Kossuth Square and the Great Reformed Church.

Some of the traditional meat stews -- beef, gizzard, liver, chicken and pork.

Gourmet stands selling local food items and delicacies. 

Smoked/preserved meat and sausages. Hungary is also a pork country.

Hungarian cheeses and a smiling assembly of chili and pork cracklings.

More Hungarian style strudel pastry (Rétes).

Great place to have my lunch. I could not have ask for more for my last day in Debrecen.

My lunch, some local Hungarian meat stew of pork, chicken and sausage with rice -- Pörkölt Bogrács and a glass of Merlot. This was quite good, a hearty lunch meal and I really enjoyed this.

Hmm, it looks like I forgot to smile here.

There were some casual stands by presumably food enthusiasts cooking their own stuff the traditional Hungarian way.

These look like Chevapchichi (skinless sausages) which are actually Bosnian and Serbian, but very popular in Central Europe with each country having its own variation. Where to find these in the Netherlands? Lidl sells them, check out the frozen meat section.

Mashed potatoes here mixed with some vegetables and spices in a cauldron.

Some traditional meat stew here again Pörkölt Bogrács I believe. They even brought with them a real traditional stone oven!

Cauldron-style cooking is very Central and Eastern Europe. The neighbouring countries each have their own special and traditional way of cooking stews but they all seem similar and are often using cauldron pots.

Kossuth Square and Piac Utca have become an outdoor dining room.

Travel Period: May 2014
Destination: Debrecen (Northern Great Plain), Hungary

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Saturday in Rotterdam

We were in Rotterdam last October with the main agenda of visiting the De Markthal (Food Market Hall), the newest and coolest place in the city. It is a food market place with vendors selling meat, fish, produce, baked goods and gourmet stuff but also offering a wide array of informal dining options, as well as modern residential apartments. An interesting concept huh?

Here is the blog entry I made earlier with lots of pictures: De Markthal

I also managed to take a few snapshots of Rotterdam around town...

This is the Beurstraverse Mall aka Koopgoot (the shopping gutter of Rotterdam). Only pedestrians allowed here.

At the Grote Markt, this is one of the main outdoor shopping streets of the city that leads to the Markthal.

 The Pencil building (Blaaktoren apartments) designed by Piet Blom.

Wijnbar Janssen & van Dijk - I have been here before. It is one of those bars in town frequented by older, chic and loaded people.

The man in sky blue jeans asked me if he looked good in the photo =)

We did not know what the celebration was about but the wine cafe treated their guests to chili con carne and rice. Just one serving for the Dutchman and moi was enough.

Some of the modern buildings in Rotterdam.

The Weena Street in Rotterdam is home to many tall and modern buildings. You can see the headquarters of Unilever and Nationale Nederlanden (bank/insurance).

Visit Period: October 2014
Destination: Rotterdam (South Holland), The Netherlands

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