One of the main attractions in Budapest is undoubtedly food. Hungarian cuisine is famous all over Europe, so if you are a food lover Budapest will not disappoint you. In addition to its great cafés and restaurants, Budapest is home to many acclaimed food and wine festivals. From national to international, you can find just about any gastronomic event on both side of Budapest.
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Best Food Festivals in Budapest
Unfortunately not many visitors to Budapest are aware about these great festivals, so I decided to put together a list of the best gastronomic events that take place in the Hungarian capital.
The Gray Cattle Festival (Szürkemarha)
One of the best food and wine festivals in Budapest is the famous Gray Cattle Festival (Szürkemarha) takes place every year in September, on the grounds of the Vajdahunyad Castle, in the City Park. The purpose of the festival is to make people more familiar with the different ways of preparing the grey cattle (Szürkemarha).
This breed of cattle, tall and slender and of a very distinctive bright silver color, is one of the many symbols of the country. It grows on the Great Plains (puszta), especially around Hortobágy.
The festival started only a few years years ago at the initiative of the Association of the Hungarian grey cattle breeders. We stumbled upon it totally by accident, while strolling through the City Park.
There is no admission fee for the festival. You’ll find vendor booths all over the castle grounds, offering delicious foods and drinks, as well as local arts and crafts.
If you are a food lover, this is a great place to spend a day. From goulash, spicy salami, and cured dried kolbász (sausage) with paprika, to cheese, lángos, and hot strudels, you can try it all. The dishes prepared at the festival are based on the meat of grey cattle.
In addition to the food stands, there are performances of traditional folk music and dances all around the grounds. While strolling through the City Park, you can also visit the Vajdahunyad castle, which houses the Agricultural Museum of Hungary, the biggest agricultural museum in Europe.
Budapest Christmas Fair
Budapest Christmas Fair is another popular food and wine festival that take place every year in Vörösmarty square from the end of November until Christmas. The smell and aroma of chestnuts and hot cookies, mulled wine and all kinds of spicy winter drinks fill up the air.
The famous Café Gergeaud’s façade is decorated as an Advent calendar, with its windows being lit day by day. It is a real Christmas Wonderland! Besides the food delicacies, you can enjoy entertaining cultural programs, local arts and crafts, and Santa’s personal visit.
If you happen to be in Budapest in winter and need to buy some souvenirs, this is the best time to do it. You can get beautifull wooden or leather boxes, hand-made jewelry, Christmas ornaments, candles, shoes, toys. Everything here is of really good quality and at a bargain price.
Flavors of Hungary Gastro Fair
Flavors of Hungary is a semi-annual gastronomic event featuring homegrown Hungarian products. Over 150 vendors from all around Hungary gather to present their home made specialities.
You can sample delicious homemade jam, honey, cheese, sausage, ham, chocolate, wine and palinka and watch how traditional Hungarian foods are made.
The ticket price is 1500 HUF and the amount can be used at the shop of Craft Hungarian Flavors when shopping for 5000 HUF or more. There is also a cooking show, featuring traditional Hungarian recipes.
Best Wine Festivals in Budapest
Budapest International Wine Festival
Budapest International Wine Festival, an event equally awaited by the locals and tourists, is held every year in September in the Buda Castle courtyards.
The International Wine Festival is a great opportunity to taste award-winning Hungarian and foreign wines. You’ll learn about their history, meet renowned wine makers, and taste culinary delicacies.
This event is one of most sought after food and wine festivals and the top attraction in Budapest Old Town in September. People from all around Europe gather here to taste great wines.
The price to get into the festival is around 2.800Ft ($10). The admission ticket buys you a beautiful wine glass that you can use for wine tasting and then keep it as a nice souvenir from Budapest. The ticket also allows you to get into the Budapest History Museum. You can enjoy some local cheeses, salami and snacks with the wine, but they are way overpriced.
Budapest Goose & Wine Festival
November is all about goose and new wine in Hungary, so Budapest joins in the celebration. For 4 weeks around St. Martin’s Day, the area of Erzsebet Square turns into a gastronomic promenade.
Goose floods the menus of Hungarian restaurants in all forms. From roast goose, foie gras (goose liver) and goose soups, you have a lot of specialties.
Besides the goose delicacies, the festival also features traditional sweets, as well as mulled wine, coffee and tea. There are covered terraces where you can enjoy your meal and drinks. There is such a party atmosphere all around town!
On weekends, they have a flea market in this area as well. This is great place to buy beautiful local crafts and toys made in Hungary.