There’s a task in the competition measuring the utility of the house, which also contributes to the international relations: invite over to your project home for dinner 6 of your neighbors at Villa Solar, cook for them, entertain them, treat them as your guests in your home.
The hard part of this task will wait for us there, but at first we had to prepare. We had to figure out the menu, write down the recepies, cook the meals and make photos about it, because it’s going to be the part of the upcoming deliverable documentation we have to send to the competition organizers in Madrid soon.
This way of hospitality has several complicating factors: we will host guests from different – yet unknown – nationalities, in a foreign city, in a house we’ve just seen on plans and visualization pictures, on a hot summer evening in the end of a long, workful day at the competition. Probably it would be a serious task for even a practised host to serve 8 guests, and in this case we have unusual circumstances to top it all.
That?s why selecting our meals is a task to be taken seriously. The team members are competent in several subjects, but not really in international gastronomy and hospitality, so we asked for help. As the primer concept of our menu we visioned something traditional, but not the typical everyday homefood, something easy to make, but novel and special. Something unusual to foreigners, Hungarian, but not deterrent.
In the recent decades, Hungary couldn’t be found on the map of the world of gastronomy. The socialist agriculture and hospitality industry had its own aspects and style which stopped the progression for decades. The Hungarian gastronomy is trying to overcome the pressure of its past, luckily it seems it’s happening with more and more world-widely visible success.
Encouraged by our two restaurants starred by the Michelin guide, following the recently yearly published restaurant-guides, and amazed by the success of the Hungarian chef Tamás Széll, who will participate at the finals of the most prestigious contest of culinary: Bocuse d’Or in Lyon, and regarding all of these developments we felt we must ask a mentor from this ascensional field of gastronomy. Our mentor, Lajos Takács and the Association of Hungarian Gastronomy were one of the foundational and most significant participants of the renewal of Hungarian culinary, who had the vision of a Hungarian gastronomy accomplished worldwide, representative and high qualified. Their main goals are to create a tradition-based but contemporary, innovative gastronomy in Hungary, and we believe this principle fits our visions best.
Hardcore gastro-revolutionaries may find our menu delicate, but for us it doesn’t seem conservative.
We planned two different combination of meals. Our appetizer of the first menu is foie gras of duck with vegetables and with crispy pearl barley on top. The foie gras (principalement of goose, but of duck too) is one of the most special and well-known traditional export product of Hungary, 90% of foie gras of duck goes directly abroad per year. The other starter is a soup of stewed prunes, which is a traditional Hungarian soup, from the times of poorness when people had to fill their soups with all the edibles they could find.
The main course of the first menu is fryed fish: pike-perch (zander exactly) with some vegetables called spaghetti squash (it?s a variety of squashes) with sour cream and almond on top. Zander or Perch is a species of fish, inhabitants of turbid rivers and eutrophic lakes, native in Hugary, and spaghetti squash is a light vegetable, tastes much like zucchini. In the other menu we will serve sorrel and spinach with poached eggs, it’s a clearly vegetarian dish, sprinkled with a unique spice made by milk and chopped herbes.
Our first menus’ dessert contains a speciel ingredient: the poppy seed. Don’t worry, we won’t intoxicate our guests with opium, the seeds contain very low levels of opiates, not even detectable by oral consumption. The dessert is a mixture of brioche, vanilla cream and poppy seed. The other dessert is a pastry filled with quark cheese, and raisins.
If the menu aroused your interest, you can taste the chefs’ other meals in Restaurant Olimpia, holder of the best prize of its category according to the Gault&Millau Hungary 2012.