Date: 24 June, 2017
Location: Pákozd (40 minutes by car from Budapest) Hungary
Type of event: gastronomic festival with craft food, wines from traditional winemakers
Fish soup contest – tournament for everyday chefs
Fish soup is a traditional Hungarian dish, every region has its own recipe with minor differences – well, if you ask someone from the given region, they say that these are huge differences. Fish soup contest is a typical tournament, during the summer you can partcipate in a contest with your friends or family in many towns or villages of the country. Baja and Szeged are the two most famous fish soup contest hosting cities, and now we would like to draw your attention to a fish and wine event in a very small place called Pákozd, near Lake Velencei, a short drive from Budapest. The event has a unique concept of wine exhibitors: you can taste wines from Hungarian wine makers from Transylvania and other neighbouring regions outside the present border of Hungary. But first of all let’s explain how to make fish soup!
A basic fish soup recipe
Ingredients for 4 people
- 500 grams (18 ounces) of carp tail
- 500 grams (18 ounces) catfish fillet
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 1 good tablespoon of pork lard or 3-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 2-3 tablespoons of sweet red paprika powder
- 6 cups of water
- In a soup pot, mix the paprika powder in melted pork lard or vegetable oil. (To release paprika’s flavor you must dissolve it in oil or lard.)
- Pour over 6 cups of water, salt it and cook the carp tail with the chopped onions until fish is tender, the meat falls off the bone.
- Take the fish out and remove the meat from the bones and press it through a strainer back into the soup broth.
- Place the catfish fillets into the soup and cook it for a couple of minutes, until fish is tender.
Source: Budapest Cooking Class
One important fact: the fish wants to swim! This slogan is heard several times during the cooking session, indicating that some red wine cannot make any harm in the soup, and also the chef need some „fuel” for the complicated action of cooking. And of course after eating the soup, we need to send some wine into our stomach for the fish, too…
Carp flesh is rather fat, and if pork lard is used, the soup is even fatter, so we definitely recommend wine with higher acidity. Because of the onion and the paprika, the soup is rich in flavours, thus we need to choose a wine with power. A darker, longer macerated rosé or a lighter, acidic red wine will be your ideal choice.
Light red colour with brownish tones typical of the variety. Due to its young age red berry fruits dominate both the nose and the palate with earthy, leafy notes.
Charming rose wine with flavours of strawberry and blackberry on the palate. Slightly more full bodied then the usual roses, still it is an easy drinking, elegant wine which reveals the knowledge of the winemaker.
Exuberating scent, an exciting mixture of sweet red berries, rose petals and rose hip jam. Zesty, crispy, fresh rosé wine till its very last moment.
Egri Kadarka, Egri Borvár – Tóth Ferenc Winery, Eger, 2015
Medium intense ruby colour, sour cherry in the nose followed by the sweetish, cake aromas of barrel aging. Fruit syrup and jam taste on the palate. In the finish a bit of tartness complemented by sweet spices.
Frittmann Kadarka, Frittmann Winery, Kunság, 2015
The aromas are dominated by spices, and in the background we can discover red berry fruits. A vivid and versatile wine which can easily match with typical Hungarian dishes.
Hungary used to be bigger…
For someone outside Europe it might be a piece of new knowledge to learn: Hungary used to be much bigger before joining the wrong players in the I. World War. After the Trianon Treaty in 1920, Hungary lost more than 2/3 of its territory and more than half of its population. Extremests dream of getting back the lost regions, but thanks God European Union and the democratic changes of the past 20 years made life much easier for the Hungarian minorities outside the borders.
The gastronomic festival in Pákozd starts with a discussion with the participation of Hungarian wineries outside the border, and on Saturday (24 June) visitors can taste wines from the historic wine regions. The winemakers listed here use ancient techniques besides the modern methods, and cultivate indigenous grape varieties:
- Zsigmond Winery from Felvidék (Upper Region), Slovakia
- Oszkár Maurer from Szerémség (Syrmia), Serbia
- Lajos Cuk from Muravidék (Mura river region), Slovenia
What makes food artisan?
The word artisan implies that the food is made by hand, using traditional techniques. It is a fashionable term now, we can hear about craft beer, craft wine, craft ice cream, everything. The organizers of the festival in Pákozd emphasise, that artisan or craft food should be really made by hand according to traditional recipes, avoiding artificial additives, colourings, etc. Paprika should be hand picked and dried in a natural way, ham must be smoked also in natural way, jam must be made of fruit.
At the festival in Pákozd, visitors can taste real artisan food, and of course they can eat of the fish soup made in the giant huge bowl!