Hunting in Hungary

Where the Buda green belt is now being transformed increasingly from a popular local recreation area to an elegant upmarket housing estate, Hungarian kings once rode on horseback to hunt with their greyhounds, noble falcons, or fanged cheetahs.

Photo:  László Szeder

Photo: László Szeder

A little deeper into the forest, it is still possible to encounter the prized game. In the woods on the slopes of the mountains facing each other across the sharp bend in the river, separated only by the water; in the Börzsöny and Pilis mountains -where once Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa (1152-90) hunted too – an observant wanderer may spot wild boar. If he is quiet, and silently observes the powerful and somewhat dangerous animals, nothing can really happen to him.

The promising heir to the throne, Prince Emmerich, son of promising heir to the throne, Prince Emmerich, son of the first Hungarian king Stephan and Gisela, the daughter of the Bavarian Emperor, fared differently. In 1031 his battle with a raging wild boar in the Pilis forest ended in death. Today’s hunters, however, are equipped with good fitearms, and have an easier time of it than their predecessors, who tried to kill the game with spears and arrows.

Photo: Antissimo

Photo: Antissimo

Hungarian cuisine has a good reputation for preparation of game. In the olden days cooks used butter rather than pork drippings, and flavored the meat with dill, horseradish, juniper berries, rosemary, sage, and wild marjoram, as well as various types of wild mushroom, rather than paprika.


Vast quantities of wonderful raspberries reach the markets from gardens, north of Budapest. Until ready-made fruit juice cornered the market, raspberry juice was a popular soft drink. Production is simple: place the fruit in a large bowl, and crush it with a spoon. Next day transfer the fruit to a clean piece of cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice. Put 4 cups/1 liter of raspberry juice in a saucepan with 2 cups/500 ml water and 5 cups/1 kg sugar and bring to the boil. Pour the hot syrup into bottles and cap them, then dry sterilize them (see page 300). To make a soft drink, dilute at a ratio of 1 part syrup to 3—4 parts soda water.