Hey all! Happy end of May! 20 days until summer begins!
In this post I’ll recap two small trips I have been on in the past few weeks. Noms to come!
Luckily for those who live in Belgrade, the capital of Hungary is only a few hours drive. Unfortunately the wait at the boarder is a minimum of two hours, so be sure to pack some tasty snacks and prepare some interesting road games for a lengthy time spent in the car!
Since we were only in this lovely city for less than a day and had arrived at four in the afternoon, we were burning daylight and determined to see what the Hungarians had to offer in terms of noms. The ever edible aesthetics of Instagram once again helped us narrow down our search which is how we found TöLTő
Trust me, if you’re in Budapest, you’ll want to stop by this pint-sized eatery which houses some of the most phenomenal sausages I’ve ever nommed on in my life (which is actually saying something since I lived in Germany!) The thing about TöLTő is that they aren’t just some run of the mill hot dog stand. No, these are gourmet sausages, cooked to order, made with a variety of different meats and topped with fresh Hungarian ingredients.
Before I went on this mini-trip, I was warned that the locals of Budapest could be disagreeable (likely due to the masses of tourists pouring through the city at all times) but our first experience with the staff of TöLTő was warm and welcoming. Their menu is written on the board with mouth-watering descriptions (in both Hungarian and English), making it difficult to make an immediate decision. We did however manage to order (with help from the lovely woman behind the counter) and were told we could sit and enjoy our cold beverages until our food was ready.
As I said before, they are made to order and thus the grilling took around fifteen minutes but we barely noticed since we were preoccupied with a map of the city, planning our next move after our stomachs were satiated. When the sausages arrived to our table, my eyes almost popped out of my head because they were (no lie) the size of my forearm and garnished with vividly colored toppings that I’d never seen so elegantly placed on something as simple as a sausage before.
My choice was the “Chicken Paprika” Sausage, made complete with a succulent chicken sausage, strips of fresh cucumber and dollops of Hungarian pepper spread (similar to the Serbian ‘ajvar’ but with a smoother consistency) and sour cream, sprinkled with black sesame seeds and parsley. All of the ingredients sung to my taste buds, making me bounce around happily in my seat. Did I mention the bread though?? A crusty on the outside, soft on the inside wholegrain baguette-eque bun that was sturdy enough to contain the overflowing contents of this over the top delicious sausage. Can I have one more please?
Milan went with the “Beef with Sun dried Tomatoes” sausage, a grilled beef link stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and other spicy seasonings, topped with a mascarpone basil sauce and a few more tomatoes to further intensify this flavor packed sandwich. Finishing this monster was child’s play to Milan but it left him contently full and eager to school me on my lack of sausage eating know-how. Apparently there is a technique to avoid making a mess, which I did so regardless (and happily I might add).
Hands down, I’d return to Budapest just for these heavenly Hungarian sausages at TöLTő. Om nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom.
We used the rest of our time that day to explore along the Danube, amazed by the stunning architecture, lush green space and amount of people wandering around this stunning city. At the end of the evening we were ready for a sweet pick up, preferably something cold and that you might only find in Hungary. Luckily for us, we found the best of both world’s at Molnár’s kürtőskalács.
I have mentioned the pure delight that are Hungarian chimney cakes in Nomming into the unknown: Galaxy Creperie and Belgrade’s Noćni Market , strips of dough spun onto an iron cylinder and cooked over high heat then rolled onto sweet toppings on your choosing. No matter what time of the year, they’re utterly nom. So what better place to get an authentic kürtőskalác than in the heart of Budapest? Psst, it get’s even better. At Molnar’s they fill their cakes with soft serve ice cream!
Order your chimney cake at the counter (they will either be premade or hot depending on which topping you want) then choose whether you want half of your cake filled with ice cream or the entire thing. As you can see above, I went with half of a coconut covered kürtőskalác which they place in a cup and fill with cold creamy soft serve. The other half is packed in a bag for you to nom on later (or right after, no one is judging).
You can sit and eat at the counter in Molnar’s while basking in the aromas of baking chimney cakes or take your cake to go and enjoy on one of the thousands of benches sprinkled around the center. Either way, you’ll be glad you went to Molnar’s and soon be back for more!
With so little time, there was barely a moment to breath but I did make it a priority to stop by Aldi grocery (my go-to when I lived in Germany) to shop for coveted food items we don’t have in Belgrade (such as pineapple cheese). After picking up a dozen freshly baked pretzels, two bags of marshmallows, monstrous cans of chickpeas and numerous other things, we headed back to Belgrade with Budapest in hindsight…though something tells me we’ll be back very soon!
I’ll attempt to be brief with the next part as I have already expressed the glorious nature of Zlatibor in a post almost two summer’s ago in Nom-cation : Serbian Svadba and the wonders of Zlatibor. I did feel however that reiterating it’s blissfull beauty wouldn’t hurt anyone except for the pangs in your stomach when you read this.
This time we opted to rent a chalet outside of the center of Zlatibor which was probably the best decision we have ever made because it was AMAZING. Actually amazing doesn’t even begin to cover it but it’s a good start. I won’t mention the name of this gem (selfish I know), because it was that magical. But if you do a bit of research for chalet’s in the Zlatibor area, I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for and understand my reluctance to share!
Renting a chalet is great because not only is it tranquility personified, but you have full amenities and the ability to barbecue to your hearts content. With that said, we stocked the kitchen with fruits, veg and snacks as well as the fridge with meat we had bought in Belgrade at our favorite butcher, Mesara Pufta but I’ll be touching on that later on…
Now for my epic return to Feniks Palacinkarnica. This place needs no introduction. If you like pancakes, waffles or all things that are good on this earth, you will visit Feniks. This time around, I was at odds with what delicious option to choose from. We hadn’t eaten and therefore I knew my appetite and stomach capacity was in good enough shape for a waffle, yet their massive crepes appealed to my better nature and thus I ordered the “Čikita.”
The Čikita is as you may have guessed full of perfectly ripe pieces of banana, stuck together with creamy caramel sauce and ground plazma biscuits, topped with whipped cream and crispy waffle pieces. Leaving chocolate for another day’s indulgence, this pancake was almost (I can’t believe I’m saying this)…too sweet, BUT it was fricking delicious and devoured every bite. So too sweet? Perhaps there is no such thing for nomandnommer.
Milan’s photogenic behemoth of a waffle was the twin of the pancake version I had ordered the time before, the “Blues Brothers.” Underneath all that goodness is a golden waffle covered in chocolate cream, sliced bananas, toasted hazelnuts, two scoops of ice cream (chocolate, vanilla) and a healthy helping of whipped cream and more chocolate.
In my past post regarding Feniks, I had described the two of us leaving as “we took a long walk around the center afterwards to digest the food babies we had just been impregnated with.” And guess what? Not a thing changed. I repeated those same words and that is why Feniks Palacinkarnica is a Zlatibor must nom.
The next nom is also one you will be familiar with and that is the unmissable unforgettable breakfast at Krčma Gaj. The beautiful setting and warm hospitality are just a few of the reasons as to why we keep coming back for more. If you can recall, the main event at Krčma is the coma inducing “Komplet lepinja” (the meat, egg, and kajmak filled deliciousness below) which Milan couldn’t wait to devour. I on the other hand, had my heart set on something new: handmade uštipci.
You may not know what uštipci are but I can gaurentee that you’ve had fried dough at least once in your life…except the Serbian fried dough balls at Krčma Gaj are on a whole other level. Made with heljdino brašno (buckwheat flour) and baked to perfection, these imperfectly shaped balls are crispy on the outside yet warm fluffy on the inside. At Krčma you can order them with a side of fresh farm cheese and kajmak (clotted cream) or honey and jam.
That morning I was in the mood for the best of both worlds and chose cheese and honey, both of which came in ridiculous amounts, putting a smile on my face so wide that it lasted for the remainder of our stay in Zlatibor. When eaten with cheese, they are like savory biscuits that melt in your mouth but when smothered with honey they tasted like dense mini pancakes so good that you will want to order a second round.
Krčma Gaj has repeatedly been the highlight of our nomventures in and around Zlatibor, and with the perfect price to portion ratio they provide, it literally can’t be beat. So what are you doing drooling over my photos? Go there now!
Before I end with the small barbecue Milan and I had, I wanted to mention an intriguing pit stop to “Stopica Cave” which is about a half hour drive from the center of Zlatibor and not far off from the ethnic village Sirogojno which I highlighted during our last trip. Stopica is a must see if you’re interested in million year old natural wonders, underground waterfalls and “bathtubs” filled with water that is said to posses minerals comparable to an organic Botox. What’s not to like about that? Plus it’s a cool place to escape the approaching summer heat.
Naturally, we ended our stay at our wonderful chalet with a proper barbeque which was graciously provided for us onsite. If you didn’t know, Zlatibor is a region of Serbia famous for their cheeses and meats, so when the host family who were renting the chalet to us asked if we were interested in buying fresh farm cheeses, the only logical answer was: how many kilos are we going to be able to bring home to Belgrade? Our hosts were so amazing that they actually dropped of a sample platter of old and young cheese as well as a glob of kajmak (as shown above), to aid us in our decision making process…not that we needed it. That folks is genuine Serbian hospitality.
Barbecued chicken breast, ćevapčići, sausages (compliments of Mesara Pufta) , grilled peppers, salad, toasted lepinje and cold Zaječarsko beer, nommed on the quiet front porch of our beautiful chalet at sunset. To be honest, there is nothing quite like it. Pure nomfection.
As I mentioned before, I was really excited when I found bags of marshmallows in Budapest, thus naturally after our barbecue we had to make s’mores. Always a childhood treat, they were something Milan had only partially experienced growing up in Nigeria and so I was happy to recreate the sacred s’more ritual. Only this time it was a bit European style by using Nutella in place on Hershey’s chocolate bars and Zlatini Pek biscuits instead of graham crackers. None of this mattered because when they were gone, we wanted s’more!
See, I tried to make that as brief as possible! The bottom line is: if you’re looking for a quiet escape into nature with all the comforts of home then look no further than the beauty of Zlatibor, Serbia.
That’s all for now…well at least until my father and stepmom arrive here in about a week. Therefore there will lots to nom about!
Oh and if you didn’t get your fill of uštipci, then here are some massive homemade ones that Milan’s grandmother whipped up for us this weekend in the village.
Oh so bad, but oh so good.