Get ready for the most Jewish culinary experience of the year! Narrow Kazinczy utca will give place to the 4th Annual Cholent Festival on 26 August, awaiting visitors from 11 AM with a colorful variety of cholent dishes from all over the world, a wide range of cultural programs, and a few other traditional kosher fares.
Cholent is one of the most ancient and authentic Jewish dishes: the earliest written record of the stew can be found in the writings of an Ashkenazi Jewish rabbi, dated to 1180. A few hundred years later it was praised in a poem by the German Romantic poet Heinrich Heine, while nowadays it is a popular dish in a number of countries, including Ethiopia, Iraq, Hungary, Morocco and Germany, tailored to the local tastes. The basic ingredients (beans, barley and meat) are virtually the same in every recipe: everything else is up to the imagination. Eggs, onions, grounded paprika, spinach, chicken and dumplings are all popular additions, while some prefer to spice their cholent up with beer.
The popularity of cholent has to do not only with its varied flavors and nourishing quality, but also with the religious regulations of the Torah. According to scripture, lighting a fire and cooking food are among the activities prohibited on Shabbat. Therefore, cooked Shabbat food, like cholent, must be prepared before the onset of the Jewish Shabbat – by some as early as Thursdays and certainly not later than Friday afternoon. The pre-cooked food may then be kept hot for the Shabbat meal by the provision in the Rabbinical oral law, which explains that one may use a fire that was lit before Shabbat to keep warm food that was already cooked before Shabbat.
The Jewish culinary festival will be organized in the heart of the Jewish District for the fourth time, by the Chabad Lubavitch congregation and the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation (EMIH). Cholent speaks everyone’s language, whether you’re Hungarian or not, Jewish or gentile, young or old. The free-to-attend strictly kosher festival will present you with the cholent variations of four countries, in addition to live music concerts and theater shows. What’s more, you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about Jewish culture – just Ask the Rabbi!