Outstanding wines, stunning vineyard views, delicious culinary delights and steaming thermal natural spas are Hungary’s major attractions for food and wine lovers.
Visit stunning wine regions
Perhaps the best known wine and region in Hungary is Tokaj – a picturesque town of old buildings, nesting storks and wineries offering the famed honey gold sweet Tokaj. The road from Tokaj to the village of Mád offers stunning views and a wealth of family run wineries well worth popping into. Between Tokaj and Budapest is the Upper Hungary wine region. Baroque influenced Eger is the perfect base to discover bold reds known as Bull’s Blood produced in wineries dug inside old quarries.
Another spectacular grape escape in Hungary is Balaton. Lake Balaton or Hungary’s Sea is Europe’s largest lake (also Europe’s largest thermal lake) and it is largely flanked on all sides by wineries producing bold reds and crisp whites. Close by to the north-east is Somló, a single extinct volcano producing two of the many unpronounceable grape varieties in Hungary – Hárslevelú and Juhfark.
Head South- East to the hilly wine region of Szekszárd. The premier grape here is Kadarka and red wines tend to be softer and less complex than in Eger and further south in Villány.
Close to the border of Hungary with Serbia is the Villány wine region with producers working with international grape varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot and Pinot Noir. An evening ramble along Baross Gábor utca is a great way to sample wines of the region and a trip to the cellars at nearby Villánykövesd is a sight not to miss – rows of wine cellars cut directly into the loess soil.
Tipple on Pálinka
Every wine region has it’s potent brew and Hungary is no exception. Pálinka is the name given to fruit flavoured brandy with alcohol content of anything between 40 and 70%. Taken both as an aperitif or as an after meal chaser. Another liqueur with a punch is the bitter Unicum which has a chocolate brown colour.
Eat like a Magyar
Dining in Hungary is not unlike dining in Georgia (venue for IWINETC 2014) – huge and heavy meaty meals big on flavour. But it is not all beef, pork, goose and chicken. Fish, such as Catfish, Pike and Carp caught in Lake Balaton make for a lighter alternative . Vegetarians should not be put off. Fresh salads and Hungary’s unique twice cooked vegetable dishes will more than satisfy. To finish, heavy desserts such as pastries, strudel or sponge cake are the norm. Pálinka to end with – probably the best way to get the digestive system working!
Chill out in a Thermal Bath
Thermal hot springs abound across Hungary. For centuries people have been bathing in the waters to treat specific complaints. The thermal baths such as Rudas (pictured below) , Kiraly in Budapest and part of the Turkish bath in Eger are centuries old. Spa and wine tourism go hand in hand and are popular with wine lovers who, after a hard day of winery visits, tastings and huge lunches want to unwind and relax before it’s time for more wine and food at dinner.
The 2018 and 10th edition of the International Wine Tourism Conference will take place in Budapest at the 5* Budapest Marriot Hotel on the 10th and 11th April 2018. It’s the perfect setting to gain knowledge, improve business connections, network and discover Hungarian wines and Hungary as a grape escape destination.