Longtime residents of Budapest, be they Hungarians or expats, don’t get up to the Castle District much, except when out-of-towners visit. The Wine Festival changes all that, giving Budapesters an excuse to stroll the cobblestone courtyards, cocooned by the walls of their Palace. Last Saturday night, the moon was full and the sky was midnight blue-black above the twinkling lights of the wooden kiosks where winemakers poured their wares into willing glasses.
We didn’t try to make the rounds – this festival is too big and the wine is too good to rush around. Etyeki Kúria, St. Andrea, Ráspi were on our menu, rosé, then progressively serious reds. For dinner, rather than waiting in the long line for töki pompos (a scrumptious homemade focaccia oven-baked with onions, bacon and sour cream), we headed to Gundel for grilled goat cheese and a salad (me) and broiled duck (hubby).
We finished with the amazing semi-sweets of N.A.G. – nothing syrupy about these, they are a gorgeous balance of tart and sweet. My hubby and friends moved on to Chile’s Errazuriz, but I skipped that, awaiting a walk out to the Savoy courtyard to enjoy the panorama over the city. We talked and looked at the city until the kiosks were shuttered and it was time to go, whether we wanted to or not. The moon shone over us, all the way home.