Cuisine cruising in Budapest

By | Category: Travel destinations
dining room on Pannonia

waiting to dine from a different menu each mont

Almost every European city that sits on a river has cruises up and down so that visitors can explore and see the city from a different angle. There will be architectural cruises, lunch cruises, evening cruises but how often will you see a cruise where you can explore the different cuisines of a country?

In Hungary’s capital, Budapest, there is a venture that was launched eighteen months ago that aims to bring the foods from different regions of the country to you. As you cruise the river for two-and-a- half hours, you can enjoy a five or six course meal which will introduce you to one of the cuisines that restaurants from around the country champion.

Instead of going to all parts of the country, the country comes to you.

But when you sail on the Pannónia, claimed to be the “first fine dining Gasto Boat in Budapest” you aren’t going to be sailing with hundreds of other passengers, or even dozens. There will be less than twenty of you. The Pannónia is a small vessel and, in truth, is not the prettiest you’ll see sailing the Danube. But the food!

Pannonia on River Danube

the Pannonia cruising along the Danube but the travellers were probably more interested in the food rather than the view!

Each month, a different menu from a different restaurant from a different part of Hungary is available. These are contributes by the association called SVÉT. (Stylish Provincial Restaurants.) This month the menu is contributed by the Kistücsök restaurant which is Balatonszemes in the central/western part of the country. The owner of the restaurant, Balázs Csapody, and chef, László Jahni, have developed a menu that reflects their restaurant and their region. Yu, in return get a choice of some of the courses all washed down with appropriately chosen Hungarian wines.

It strikes me that this is a very clever tourism idea. Few people have time to visit as much as they would wish and few restaurants in single city would cover twelve different domestic cuisines. They would be more likely to reflect international tastes. But by keeping it small, this company has succeeded.

But why isn’t the idea copied internationally? We could have a cruise down the Forth in Scotland showcasing great Scottish food and its many restaurants. You could do the same on the Thames, Severn, the Tyne and Tay, the Ouse and Teifi and many others.

This strikes me as a great marriage between food and tourism.

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