Flaming soup and squirting wine

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BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Uniworld's wine-tasting cruise on the Danube featured a stop at Borkatakomba restaurant in the Budafok area, a focal point of wine trading in Hungary, according to the restaurant brochure.

We completed a tour of the wine cellar at Borkatakomba in time for the "flaming bowl of soup" ritual:

We were seated in the restaurant's theater area at long, wooden tables. More private tables farther from the stage are built out of old wine barrels.

Waiters placed the bowls of a milky soup with chicken and peas in front of us on saucers, which contained a clear liquid. As the waiters put matches to the liquid, each burst into flame, boiling the soup. At least one guest spilled a little on the tablecloth, setting it afire momentarily.

This did not stop the enthusiastic waiters from circulating a long, thin glass tube with a big bubble on the end filled with wine, which they would squirt into our mouths.

Dinner was Hungarian goulash and pasta. The latter reminded me of gnocchi. Music was played through dinner, and afterward, performers came out to do some Hungarian folk dances. This was a definite trip highlight.

Several in our group were lured into the dancing at the end of the evening and even donned traditional hats for the occasion.

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