Every relationship has celebrated milestones. Like getting brunch together after dancing it up at 80s night, few things cement the “this is getting serious” step like the first trip away together. Most couples choose a sunny, romantic destination. Mike and I? We went to Hungary. In October. Okay so maybe Budapest isn’t everyone’s first idea of a romantic city but whatever. Mike and I are goofy like that.  

Photo courtesy of Love Apples

Our visit wasn’t driven by culinary travel, but we ended up having some of our favorite food-related experiences during the trip. Who would have guessed a tiny eastern European country could deliver a six-foot tall Michael Jackson statue made out of white chocolate? Or a wine destination with what might be the best Wine Goggled name on the planet?  

Gerbaud –  Thanks in part to its downriver Danube proximity to Vienna, Budapest has a striking coffee and pastry culture often celebrated in soaring salons fit for Marie Antoinette. Open since 1858, Gerbaud is the grande dame of Budapest salons. The light-filled salon was painstakingly restored in 1997 to look regally ancient. Gleaming floors lead our eyes up to a brillaint counterop filled with sugary delights. Taking a seat in the salon, we sat back as brisk waitresses flitted between tiny cafe tables with trays of pastel colored goodies and strong coffee. It was the perfect way to fight off jet lagg and ease into our vacation. 

Szabo Marzipan Museum – A little way down the Danube from Budapest is a village known as Szentendre. This little village might be in guide books recommending a scenic getaway into an artists village, a chance to stroll through a small Hungarian community and take in tiny shops and ancient churches. All of these things are true but they don’t shout the town’s biggest feature from the rooftops: The Szabo Marzipan Museum. Could it be true? An entire museum with all of its displays intricately carved from almond paste? So true and so bizarre. Especially considering the chosen topics – countless classic Disney characters vied for attention next to Hungarian landmarks. But the creme de la marzipan had to be the borderline creepy Michael Jackson. Standing at life-size attention and captured during the King of Pop’s miltary-esque costume phase ,the piece is just strange. Deliciously strange.

The Valley of Beautiful Women and the Most Hilariously Formal Restaurant I’ve Ever Visted after the jump. (more…)