Eat, Love, Budapest.

Llewellyn Lambert
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The title of this post is that of Marije Voegelzang’s video instillation in which she hopes to instil a different mind set around gypsy women living in Budapest. Marije, with the use of the universal language of food and her passion for design, hopes to plant a seed, pose elicit questions and hopefully change the world and mind set of its people. One meal, design or installation at a time.

Perhaps she is what’s needed in so many countries today that are unwilling to be progressive and allow change. To see homosexuals, women, children and multiple cultural and multiracial societies as equal respect-deserving citizens.

Instead of a heavily financed politician hoping to gain votes, or celebrities hoping to add the word philanthropist to their Wikipedia page, rather a Dutch designer simply wanting to help you explore eating. If we break bread with each other, we will not break each other’s necks.

When I was invited to dinner with Marije and a hundred other intrigued minds and starved foodies (both physically and creatively) I was convinced dinner was going to be amazing and I would go on a journey of food. How wrong I was!

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I was culturally awakened, awoken to the thought that everything I believed about the food industry, of creating plates of art, of eating was all so primeval.

eat love budapest

We were seated in an enormous state of the art wine production room, surrounded by modern architecture and high cost wine tanks filled with uncultivated wine. Reminiscent of what we were to become. Seated on raw wooden benches with a parcel in front of our chests, we not only unveiled our starter but the beginning of our rejuvenated look into food, creativity and how progressive we have all become, even despite our differences. It was metaphorical.

One saw nature’s beauty in its natural state, no fuss no foam, no sous vide. You began to appreciate the beauty of quail eggs, the delicate toasted dextrin of pecans and the elegant green of a good quality pistachio. The course was entitled shells and we waltzed from quails eggs to the drupe of the Badam, succulent oysters, scallops that tasted like a day at the ocean with seaside mist. It was all so soulful as if The Blue Danube was spinning in the background.

We moved through the wine production venue for our main course, to an awe inspiring communal dinning table adorned with rooted salad seedlings and plates that were slices of oak, yet with all this around one couldn’t help but notice the “cutlery” that was hammers.

You were seated in front of different clay cocoons which resembled the home of little monsters, yet as you cracked the tandoori baked soil, the most tender flavoursome root vegetables gingerly escaped. With the addition of various hand made aiolis we eagerly awaited “mother monster”, two 50kg whole ostriches coated in river bed clay, these were also slowly roasted on an open crevius packed with flamed coals just a few footsteps away.

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eat love budapest

It was as if I was at the 2011 Grammys waiting for Gaga to arrive. Yet the performance of the chef that evening and the quality of the meat all added to the enlightening experience of eating simplistically.

The breaking of these baked morsels in so many ways metaphorically began breaking the ice with strangers. Having different people pass and share their roasted discoveries along with a glance of who they were and where they were from. Marije had become all I thought she could be. An evangelist in the gospel that we are all the same, we all require food to live, to love. We are once again, in this manner and likeness, equal.

As we all completed our meal, we were handed torches and the concert that was Gaga inspired faded to black. We were led to a fairy lit finale. Assorted mousses, locally cultured and ripened cheeses were on display, served in hollowed pumpkins maybe playing with the idea that Halloween was on its way.

My favourite little treat was the golden elixir that was the Noble Late harvest, a sweet yet perfectly pulled together dessert wine that made a symphonic dinner and rite of passage come to a melodic end. From start to finish I was once more a man of the soil, the earth. Born again.


Sad as I was to leave what may have been the most enlightening event this season I realized tomorrow is another day, to eat, to learn, to love organically and grow, equally. To all involved, I thank you!


Images by Adrea Nagel-Times Live; Heinstired-Food24; Matt Alison-CurateThisSpace & Llewellyn Lambert

About Llewellyn Lambert

A twenty something South African bloke, who loves Foraging for good food, quaffing the best local wines and sometimes even falling in love, with boys obviously. Often found procrastinating on Twitter or lost in a small town. Chef, restauranteur, hipster wanna be and now, artisan of words, self proclaimed of course.

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