Through high school and college, I became busy and wasn’t able to take as many trips to Hungary due to school, schedules and finances. In 2012 my great-grandmother turned 100 years old, so my father and I took a trip to celebrate her birthday. I definitely couldn’t miss that one. This trip quite literally changed my life. This is when I first realized how fortunate I had been growing up how I did and how many opportunities I had, that might not have existed if my parents stayed in Hungary. That story will be for another post. Her and my grandmother’s stories rekindled my excitement and passion for my Hungarian culture and since then, I have made it a point to go every year to visit family and explore the country.
Although I had seen a lot of the sights during my visits growing up, it is absolutely a different experience as an adult. When I met Ryan, my now husband, in 2014, I knew I had to take him there for him to fully understand who I was. In 2015, the day after Christmas, we left on our first European vacation together. We explored Budapest, Ryan met all of my extended family, tasted all the foods and drinks, and fell in love with the culture. On New Years day, Ryan proposed in the Budapest Castle Hill Funicular, and the rest is history!
One of our favorite treats, while eating our way through the Christmas markets, were the Chimney Cakes. I had been eating these my whole life, as they are a very popular central European street food, but this was new for Ryan. When we got back from our trip, we reminisced about all the foods we ate and wished we could get them here in the states. My whole life, when I would talk to others about Hungarian food, I always wanted to be able to provide a taste! One discussion lead to another, and that summer, we decided we wanted to bring the Hungarian food culture to the Triangle, and started experimenting with making chimney cakes at home.