The New Wine and Cheese Festival comes to the fairytale Vajdahunyad Castle in Budapest’s City Park on 24 November. Packed with stalls offering spreads of local cheeses and bottles of újbor (young wine from the newest vintage), it’s the perfect occasion to learn about Hungarian wine and nibble on some craft cheese. This year the festival lasts one day but if you miss the date or feel like making a weekend out of it, you can taste local wine and cheese at wine bars across the city. Here are a few great places where you can get into the spirit of the event.
Sip Hungarian wine at the Tasting Table
Slip into this basement in Budapest’s up-and-coming VIII District for a tasting trip around Hungary’s wine regions. There are some 200 different bottles of Hungarian wine available to try or buy at Tasting Table, including a great selection of Tokaj wines. But to get the best out of it, go for one of their Wine, Cheese and Charcuterie Tasting sessions with a sommelier (you can book daily for 3pm; the cost is 9900Ft). You’ll get to sample five Hungarian wines paired with a plate of the country’s best artisanal cheeses and cold meats. The local delicacies to try include parenyica (smoked and steamed cheese, woven into a spiral) and mangalica pork sausages.
Munch on craft cheese at Doblo
Although it’s located above ground, Doblo in the city’s old Jewish Quarter looks like a cross between a vaulted cellar and an industrial-chic loft, with its huge arched windows and brick-clad walls. By night the amber glow from the metallic chandeliers and surrealist lamps creates a cosy atmosphere. You can order wine by the glass as you fancy, or opt for one of their themed tasting menus that include nibbles, such as the Hungarian Mini (with four different wines, for 6950Ft) or the Kosher Pálinka (three types of the famous local fruit brandy, for 5900Ft). Sate your appetite with a plate of Hungarian craft cheeses, including an aromatic blue moulded goat’s cheese and a crumbly mature ewe’s cheese.
Start the night at Apropó
Apropó on Király utca began life as a wine bar but evolved into a trendy modern bistro. Hungarian wines (from Sopron to Tokaj) and various accompaniments dominate the menu, but there’s also a choice of all-day breakfasts or filling steaks and main dishes. For more wine-and-food extravaganza, you can pick up a delicious plate of artisanal cheeses (from 2500Ft) to accompany your tipple of choice. Apropó’s location in the heart of the Jewish Quarter makes it the perfect and refined starting point for the evening, before you head out to explore Budapest’s vibrant nightlife in the nearby ‘ruin bars’.
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