Pike-perch, bejgli, goose liver

There are certain staples on every table at Christmas: wine, fish, meat, cakes… We can always talk a lot about wine, but this time we asked three friends of ours what has changed over the last 10-15 years, what the new favourites are and what the classics are. Anna Niszkács from Gerbeaud, fishmonger István Nusszer and butcher József Károly talked about their perspectives on the holidays. 

István Nusszer, the fishmonger from the Vásárcsarnok

“Fish isn’t a T-shirt that you take off the hanger on the 24th


  

István is known as the ‘fishmonger’ by most people. His connection with fish is in his genes: his ancestors were fishermen and later they traded fish. “The fundamental Christmas trends have not changed in the last decade,” he says. “The core is still the holy trinity of carp, catfish and salmon.” For some reason, people prefer trout over Easter, but what is popular around this time is pike-perch. Fish isn’t like a white T-shirt that you just take off the hanger in the shop and take home. I advise everyone not to buy the fish on the 23rd or 24th but at least a week before Christmas when there is still enough to choose from, and put it in the freezer – this is what I always do. A fresh, cleaned, gutted fillet of fish in an airtight container can be kept up for up to three or four months. With slow defrosting overnight, the texture and the nutrition of the fish remains intact,” says István.

 

 

 

József Károly, butcher from the Budagyöngye shopping mall

“If it’s needed, I can get a camel as well” 

  

“Turkey, pork, goose and beef steak were the hits in the first years following our opening. The week before Christmas was about goose back then: I sold 300 – two tonnes of the stuff. A lot of people still like the classics but the picture has become a lot more layered. They also come to get game, duck and goose in pieces or as a whole, but people also like veal, legs, spines, racks and flanks of lamb. It’s not a rare occurrence that they look for guinea fowl either, and a lot of people also ask for pheasant. The majority of my customers often go to restaurants, so they are familiar with the new trends in gastronomy which they would like to reproduce in their own ovens. The desire for quality emerged and the butcher became a trusted source.”

 

 

 

Anna Niszkács from Gerbeaud


“Christmas is about traditions at Gerbeaud. Today, it’s not only the quality of the ingredients that are important but also the packaging. The classic range – the bonbon assortment, the konyakos meggy (chocolate coated with sour cherry and brandy), the snow crescents – are still important, but the new wave cakes, like the Royal Chocolate, the Salty Peanut-Peach or the William Green Apple with Walnut are increasingly popular, too. The roll called ‘molnárka’ with goose liver, which was once offered by Emil Gerbeaud in the Városliget Gerbeaud Pavillon, has been a hit for 150 years. We still make goose liver traditionally with Tokaji aszú. And nothing can push the bejgli (sweet rolls traditionally filled with poppy seeds or walnuts) from its position,” says Anna. At most places, Christmas is followed by quieter days, but at Gerbeaud the festive season lasts until the first week of January. “Families come to celebrate and often queue up in front of the door. This is the strongest season in the coffee house.”