When I was in my twenties, my grandfather would take me to the tiny Hungarian restaurants along Second Avenue in New York City. There, in quaint places like Tik Tak or the Red Tulip, on the first floor and sometimes in the basements of the soon-to-be-bygone brownstones, we would be transported to Central Europe for an evening of chicken paprikash, goulash, and a rich, layered pancake called palasczinta.
In the summer, a glorious treat was cold sour cherry soup.
Sweet fruit soups have always been enjoyed in Central and Eastern Europe, where cherries, blueberries, raspberries, and plums are abundant in the spring and summer: Turning the fruit into jams, pies, and seasonal cold soups, often spiked with wine, was a way of using up the larder of summer. For Jews in particular, cold soups like tchav or cold beet borscht—or this delicious sour cherry soup (recipe here)—were perfect to finish off a dairy meal.
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