During the nation’s colourful history Hungarian cuisine was influenced by many ethnic gastronomies. The first people to live in present-day Hungary were nomads called the Magyars, to whom Hungary’s national dish, the meat stew called goulash, can be connected. Dried cubes of meat were put under the saddles which they cooked with onions, and some water was added to make it a stew. The reign of King Matthias (1458–90), through his Italian wife, Queen Beatrice, brought Italian cooking to Hungary. When the Turks invaded Hungary in the 16th century, they brought their cooking customs with them as well. Among many others, these included the use of paprika as spice. When the Habsburg monarchy gained control over Hungary, German and Austrian cooking styles influenced Hungarian eating habits. During this period, Hungary became famous for its cakes and pastries.
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