Hello from Europe! Vienna, Austria to be exact. A few days ago (in Hungary), I visited this amazing destination along the Danube River. This location just so happened to be the well known supermarket known as Great Market Hall. I know I gave a lot of kudos to the Borough Market in London, but after visiting the Great Market Hall in Budapest, I have to say I was completely blown away. I soon found out that the person who designed Great Market Hall at the end of Liberty Bridge actually designed the Eiffel Tower. That proves the beautiful architecture of this market.
Imediately after I pushed open the gigantic doors to the market, I smelled the sweet, savory aroma of strudels and felt the excitement of people rushing from stall to stall. I also saw friendly merchants smiling and chatting with people interested in their products.
A tour guide was taking us around the market because we were going to do a 3-4 hour long cooking class soon after. She introduced us to some of the traditional and unique Hungarian ingredients like paprika and sour cherries. I got to sample some pepperoni spiced paprika, which surprisingly wasn’t spicy one bit. In addition, I learned that while paprika technically is a hot pepper, it isn’t spicy. My theory is that the early Hungarians discovered a way to separate the seeds from the flavor of the pepper!
In some of the stands, there was so much produce, you wouldn’t know what to buy. On the top level, there were rows and rows of souvenirs, while if you head down into the basement, you’d get the privilege of buying many different types of pickled vegetables. In the meat stands, I saw literally every part of a chicken. At the end, we sampled some fresh cow milk and boy did it taste 10x better than the Clover milk I drink everyday. I kind of felt like everything was in its top quality, so it was no surprise when the goat cheese strudel I tried melted in my mouth. While there might not be so much “made” foods like chips or microwave mac’n cheese, the incredible amount of organic products made up for it.
It is no surprise that most Hungarians have shopped at Great Market Hall before because this location would be the “Whole Foods” or “Safeway” of my daily life. I learned that the mall is placed near the Danube river because it is easy for imports to come in. And even after you exit this marvelous market with every single grocery you want in your bag, you’ll really be thinking that Great Market Hall……..has it all!
I will be blogging about my other experiences in Europe, but expect a post about the cooking classes I had in Budapest and Vienna. Also stay tuned for lots of posts on all of the local foods I have tried.