THE ARCHETYPICAL GOURMET TREAT: FOIE GRAS
Did you know? The practice of fattening geese for their liver has its roots in nature.
As with other animals, geese store fat for the winter; before flying south for the winter, they undergo a period of “over-eating”. When the birds were domesticated, people copied this pattern, leading to the creation of a gourmet food: foie gras.
Of course, goose liver is delicious in itself; still, foie gras lends a special glamour to any dish. Hungarian goose liver has won a well-deserved international reputation; a product of outstanding quality, it is exported throughout Europe and further afield, including Asia. Ambrosia for high days and holidays, it is excellent as a hot or cold starter. It pairs equally well with fruits, preserves or spicy flavours.
NATURAL EXCELLENCE – GAME ANIMALS IN HUNGARY
Did you know? When Hungary’s first Michelin-starred restaurant, Costes, opened in 2008, finding consistently available, high-quality ingredients from Hungary posed a real challenge. One of the first challenges was sourcing game, despite it having been a well-known export product for many years.
Hungarian game is an organic-type product because even though it does not come from certified organic farms, Hungary’s forests and fields provide a natural environment which produces excellent meat, whether poultry or larger game. Deer, roe deer, wild boar, brown hare, pheasant and wild duck are familiar on menus, but popular Hungarian game animals include the mouflon, partridge and quail as well.
It is a little-known fact that game in Hungary is extremely well managed and most of the meat produced in this way is exported.
OUR EVERYDAY HERO: PAPRIKA
Did you know? “Édesnemes” or sweet paprika, which continues to be the most highly prized of Hungarian paprikas, was produced for the first time in 1859, by the Pálfy brothers in the city of Szeged, in southern Hungary.
This was the first sweet paprika; then all red Hungarian paprika had been hot and spicy. At that time, it was only possible to reduce the heat of paprika by processing; it took some decades before Hungarian varieties were bred to be sweet instead of spicy.
At home, cheery, bright red peppers drying in the sun are part of Hungarian rural scenery; while further afield, Hungarian paprika is a trademark of the country’s gastronomy. This ingredient, along with goulash (originally: “gulyás”) continues to be one of the first things to come to mind when you think of Hungarian cuisine. Meanwhile, in Hungary, there is such a variety of uses for paprika that there are probably as many Hungarian terms for peppers and paprika as there are Inuit words for snow. Peppers for stuffing; long, elegant peppers and hot peppers; paprika for seasoning… to mention but a few. Even the world-renowned paprika powder can be spicy, delicate, sweet and noble, semi-sweet or rose.
THE MADE IN HUNGARY SELECTION: DUCK LIVER
Did you know? Duck liver is one of the ingredients featured in the “Made in Hungary” gastronomy alliance launch year in 2019.
The alliance’s objective is to work with the best Hungarian chefs to promote pairing of the country’s prestigious, internationally renowned ingredients; it is like a kind of gastronomic matchmaker. The first of these pairings is duck liver and the top product in Hungarian viniculture: 6 puttonyos Tokaji Aszú.
Duck liver is a true gourmet ingredient and infinitely suitable for demonstrating the depths of Hungarian cuisine: it is a quality foodstuff which requires careful storage and a memorable delicacy of great versatility. It is a perfect partner for Hungarian wines, including Tokaji Aszú and other naturally sweet Tokaj wines.
Without question, duck liver finds its place alongside goose liver among gourmet foodstuffs. The advantage of this characteristic part of the bird is that it is easy to handle and does not lose much fat during frying. Its versatility means that it is never boring, whether as pâté, terrine or rillette. It is exceptionally well-received when served with brioche and sweet gourmet ingredients, but is also delicious when flash-fried, not to mention its mouth-watering fat.