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Hungarian products made by hand, with heart and soul



Who wouldn’t want to re-experience the traditional flavours they tasted at their grandparents’ house as children? These are the memories that transport you back to the carefree, nostalgic world of childhood. Or perhaps, on the contrary, you’ll discover flavours, scents and aromas that are as yet unfamiliar but all the more attractive, which will invigorate you and help you appreciate the vitality of the world around you. This is exactly the feeling you get from well-selected handcrafted products.

Hungary has a long tradition of handicrafts anyway, especially in the field of agricultural products and gourmet food. In this case, craftsmanship is mainly about attitude, care and attention and does not necessarily mean actual manual processing. That is, we are talking about products that are technically perfected and reliable. Of course, craftsmanship also means a naturalness of sorts, even including the fact that the same composition cannot always be perfectly reproduced, even if the quality is consistent. But this is where the charm of similar products comes from, all expressing the moment of their genesis, the characteristics of the terroir, the personality of the farmer and the character of the maker in themselves.

Wines

Hungarian wines are easy to drink and extremely diverse. As a result, you can find plenty of artisanal and even a significant number of natural wineries in each wine region in Hungary, but many shops or wine bars have been built around this theme across the country. In addition, almost every winery has an “experimental” wine that best reflects the winemaker’s approach. We will therefore not even attempt to present the diversity of Hungarian wines, as it is simply impossible to present the countless underlying philosophies.

Sparkling wine

A couple of wineries have embarked on making artisanal sparkling wine. Moreover, some have been successful on the international stage with their raw champagnes and bottle-matured sparkling wines. Especially outstanding in this respect are the sparkling wines made on Somló Hill. 

Sparkling wine

Craft beer

Countless craft breweries have opened up in the last five to ten years and keep releasing usually top-fermented seasonal brews. It’s especially exciting when two breweries unite to co-produce a single batch. Sometimes, there is a strong international interest in such experimental beers. It’s also worth stocking up on these because they run out quickly and are then replaced by a recipe based on a different taste and approach.

Craft beer

Syrups

A Hungarian syrup can also be a great gift and a brilliant source of refreshment. These homemade specialities are made without any additives or preservatives and are not just loved by kids.

Jams

While we’re on the topic of products made from fruit, you might want to savour a small bottle of plum jam from Szatmár, apricot from Kecskemét or rosehip or quince jam for a taste of the countryside.

Jams

Chocolates / Pralines

Of course, artisanal chocolates – the irresistible serotonin bombs of sweet flavours – are also well represented in the market. Typically, each small plant has its own store offering both private-label, individual flavour combinations and popular chili or salty caramel flavour couplings. The palette of sweets also includes some truly sophisticated praline manufacturers. They typically specialise in filled chocolates, coated dragées and creams. Bite-size pralines are extremely eye-catching and inviting to the touch, with wonderful scents and aroma notes. These sensory stimuli are interconnected with your sense of taste. Biting into such chocolates, the thin outer shell pops and then you feel the clean, never intrusive flavour of the filling, which works just like perfume, when the different elements are released one after the other.

Acacia honey

Only very few people know this, but Hungarian acacia honey is one of the most sought-after in the world. This is because it is the most fluid and stays reflectively transparent for the longest time, i.e. it crystallises latest. Honey is a very healthy food in any case. Beyond its proven antibacterial effect, it has numerous beneficial effects on the human body.

Artisanal vinegars

Natural vinegars made by fermentation, which possibly have even more diverse uses in everyday cuisine than honey, also have a beneficial effect on health. This is why homemade wine vinegars, Tokaj balsamic vinegars and vinegars made from apples, quince or even black rowan are so popular nowadays.

Spices

The spice that permeates Hungarian cuisine is undoubtedly red paprika powder. Quality paprika really does breathe life into food. Quality aficionados swear by the paprika grown in the area of Kalocsa, Szeged and Bezdán. The sorting and processing of these does require a lot of handiwork. And since we Hungarians love hot spicy food, these are not only available in the form of red paprika powder on the spice shelf. Many a shop specialises in chili peppers, paprika flakes and hot sauces made by manufacturers.

Spices

Horseradish

A plant that is not only a speciality of Hungarian cuisine, but somehow even more popular here than mustard. Small producers manufacture more rustic vinegary versions, as well as other horseradish products toned down by mayonnaise.

Vegetable pate

Connoisseurs hold that homemade vinete or eggplant pate bearing smoky notes is the real thing. This dish is of Transylvanian origin, where they have the plain version, as well as others mixed with tomato (zakuska) or mayonnaise.

Vegetable pate

Wild garlic

This spring plant resembling snowdrops, which otherwise emanates a really strong onion scent, is more of a trademark of handicraft products than being handcrafted in itself. Namely, if a product, e.g. a sheep’s cheese has wild garlic in it, it is definitely made by a small producer using artisanal technology. So, this flavour is always a mark of a handcrafted product.

Wild garlic

Goose liver

Quality small producers’ foods include products made of fattened goose, duck liver, and possibly smoked trout.

MOVE AROUND LIKE A HUNGARIAN