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Hungaricums are special items from Hungary, that characterise the Hungarians by their uniqueness and high quality. Here are some types of food and drink that encapsulate Hungary!
Pálinka is the alcoholic drink made only from fruit or pomace grown in Hungary and some parts of Austria. By law, no additional ingredients are acceptable, except pure water. Really good pálinka is smooth and fruity and has an alcohol content of around 40%. There are hundreds of types of Pálinka, using many different fruits. the best distilleries are Agárdi, Gyulai, Zwack, Brill, Márton és lányai, Panyolai, Tarpai, Bestillo. The best-known brand is called Rézangyal, who also have several Pálinka pubs.
In the past goulash was made by the shepherds of the plains. It was a rich and filling food they needed to last them through their hard working day. Real Hungarian goulash is made from potato, beef (preferably grey cattle), paprika, spices and sometimes Hungarian gnocchi too. It is made like a soup, but in the end it's more like a stew.
Wines of Tokaj
Tokaji Aszú is the name of the wine from the historical wine region of Tokaj-Hegyalja in the northeastern part of Hungary. The region is noted for its sweet wines, made from grapes affected by so-called noble rot. Tokaji Aszú is a world-famous dessert wine from Hungary, also called the "king of wines, wine of kings", and sure enough, the greatest kings and queens of Europe really did commission this unique drink back in History. Tokaji is the only wine in the world that is mentioned in its nation's national anthem.
Somló-style sponge cake (Somlói Galuska) is a popular Hungarian dessert, made of sponge cake, covered with fine chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Dobos cake (Dobostorta) is a layered sponge cake filled with chocolate and nuts, glazed with caramel. Makówki (Mákos Guba) is also a typical Hungarian dessert, made of sweet white bread covered with poppy seeds.
Beside salamis, Hungary has very delicious sausages, perhaps quite different from the ones you are familiar with, because these sausages are made of pork meat and spiced with paprika. The production procedure is regulated by strict rules. The best two brands of Hungary are the Csabai and Gyulai.
Unicum is a special, bitter, alcoholic liqueur made with herbs and spices that Hungarians swear by as an aid to digestion, among many other things. For more information please visit: Zwack Unicum Heritage Visitors' Centre
Goose liver or "foie gras"
Hungary is the world's second-largest foie gras or "Libamáj" producer and the largest exporter. Goose liver is part of traditional Hungarian cuisine and a must-try when visiting the country. The goose liver of Orosháza is a number one gift gourmet tourist take away. Really good goose liver is maybe expensive, but surely an unforgettable experience.
The gourmet marzipan/chocolate of Hungary. Szamos marzipan is a sweet dessert item used in a variety of ways. The Szamos Marzipan Museum and Confectionery in Szentendre is Hungary's first marzipan museum. The exhibition displays the art of marzipan making, including some masterpieces of confectionery, such as the 160 centimetre tall model of the Parliament building.
This was invented in the 1960's by a small group of dairy industry professionals inspired by a study trip to Moscow. They came up with a unique new product - a dark chocolate bar filled with lemony cottage cheese. The "pöttyös" (literally spotty) theme was part of the original marketing campaign, but now it's a uniquely recognisable brand of this dessert. It has a lot of variants, like extra-large, milk chocolate-covered, apricot and strawberry jam filled, and so on, but none of these are as popular as the original. In foreign countries you may find it under the brand name "Dots".
Fisherman's soup is a thick soup made in a pot on open fire. The main ingredients are river or lake common carp, paprika, spices and onion. The most famous types of fisherman's soup are the bajai, balatoni and the szegedi.
Bull's Blood of Eger
Bull's Blood or Bikavér, is the name of a special type of red wine cuvée, made in the wine region of Eger. The name comes from the Turkish Ages, when according to the legend, castle defenders became stronger as they drank the red wine, and the Turkish soldiers thought the red liquid was bull's blood. Now Bikavér is a very popular cuvée wine and has its own festivals and fans.
Onions from the town of makó in southeastern Hungary are famous and beloved nationwide. This type of onion has been refined and developed for centuries by the local gardeners and producers. There's also a special heat treatment, developed in the 18th century, that has been applied to the onions ever since. Makó onions are pretty large and known by their excellent smell and taste.
Last but definitely not least, Hungary is a major source of high-quality paprika, ranging in grades from sweet (mild, not hot) with a deep bright red colour to rather spicy (hot) with a brownish orange colour. Paprika is used as an ingredient in a wide range of dishes throughout the world. Paprika is an important ingredient of sausages and soups such as goulash. The two main paprika-producing regions are Szeged and Kalocsa.