The Ultimate Appetizer
It seems that every small city or town in Hungary has some kind of claim to fame. For Gyula which sits a mere five minutes from the Romanian border this is especially true.
Gyula has had a rough time of it over the past century. With the Treaty of Trianon severing it from economic ties with nearby towns and cities that became part of Romania, the livelihood of Gyula was imperiled.
Following World War II it was dealt another blow as it lost its status as the Bekes county seat to nearby Beckescsaba.
It was ingenuity that helped keep Gyula alive if not in the hearts than in the stomachs of every Hungarian. In 1935, a dry spicy sausage created in the city made a scintillating debut. Spelled Gyulai, it won a gold diploma at the World Exhibition of Food in Brussels that year.
It was created from coarsely chopped meat blended with spicy Hungarian Paprika. This combination created a zesty flavor and can be served in a variety of manners. You can try it served separately in slices or placed on bread. It is also a staple of many casserole dishes. A good place to sample Gyulai is at a traditional Hungarian restaurant.
There are many in the city, but if you want to feel like you have gone back in time, check out Kiskamadon close to the Városháza (Town Hall). The waitresses take your order while dressed in traditional peasant outfits.
After a hearty plate of Gyulai, head over to Szazeves Cukraszda for dessert. This is the second oldest cukraszda (patisserie) in the entire country.
Nearly 175 years old, it serves incredible cakes with an atmosphere that is neatly matched with the taste of its chocolate and mint crème interior. Choose from well over a hundred confectionary creations. In the back you can explore a bakery museum that displays many tools of the trade from the 19th century.
After you’ve fulfilled that sugar urge head to the inner town. You will find the oldest brick medieval castle in Hungary here. At the time it was built in the 14th century, the castle was a state of the art fortress in Europe.
Today you can scale the ramparts to examine the thick brick walls built to fend off even the most ferocious of armies. It was no match though for the Ottoman Turkish armies.
Take some time to relax here while gazing across Gyula. Then take a stroll around the city where you will see many historic buildings, eye candy for Art Nouveau architecture buffs. This walk should be enough to help you work off some of that wonderful food, but be careful because in the process you might just work back up an appetite.
If so, you’ve come to the right place!
written by CHRIS WILKINSON
edited by CHRIS KOVACS
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