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Christmas of the “Purple Fig”

Even if not everybody is convinced about the necessity of the presents considered trendy, it’s probably a no-brainer that the food to be served is one of the key components of holidays. The consensus, however, stops here as all of us follow and break with different traditions year after year. We interviewed Dóra Havas, the gastroblogger and once markeing expert of Lila Füge (Purple Fig) after the publication of her first cookbook. Who wouldn’t be interested in what’s going on in the kitchen of a professional from our ranks?

Who in your family is usually in charge of the Christmas dinner?

It’s a family tradition that the whole family gathers at granny’s, which means 20 people celebrating together. Some years ago, though, when granny turned 80, this changed. So as it is now, the women in the family join forces in the kitchen allocating the tasks and preparing toghether for the holiday. The others usually make the more traditonal courses: there’s always salmon, turkey stuffed with chestnut, meat soup and stuffed cabbage. As for me, I prepare the more extravagant dishes such as different salads after my own recipes. My grandparents lived in Paris for 10 years so besides bejgli (long roll of pastry filled with either poppy seed or walnut) there’s always Yule log cake and various cookies, of course.
Where do you buy the ingredients for the holiday?

I buy the foie gras at the Fény Street market, from the farmer left of the entrance, then you can find fine salmon and other fishes at Metro. Also, there’s a butcher’s I’ve been frequenting in the Great Market Hall, where the seller keeps complimenting me and I regularly visit the biomarket in the 12th district.

What do you remember defined your Christmases when you were a child?

Though we lived in Budapest even back in those days, we lived closer to the edge of the city, in Hidegkút. During the holidays we didn’t really go downtown but we spend quite a lot of time near the airport, and as Christmas Eve approached we counted the decorated Christmas trees behind the windows in our street. Me, daddy and grampa would take our St. Bernard for a walk in the afternoon on the 24th and by the time we got back with reddened cheeks the “angels” had brought the presents. At that age food wasn’t the most important factor.

Do you give gastronomic presents to your loved ones? If yes, where do you buy them?

If I do, I make them myself – delicious jams or conserved foie gras. Once I gave my mom olive oil assortments, which I made with a friend of mine, Giuseppe.

  • We Love Budapest Tip
If you feel like making conserved foie gras for giving away just like Dóra, find the (Hungarian) recipe

here . And if you know a kitchen god(dess) wishing for some inspiration, you might want to surprise them with the Lila Füge cookbook under the tree. The book was enlivened by graphic designer Dávid Baráth and its five chapters (Unhurried breakfast, Family lunch, Summer picnic, Afternoon bites, Unexpected guests) follow Dóra and her family’s life, so you are bound to succeed for even the first time. And who knows, the Christmas courses of the next generation might be hidden in this very publication...

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