How much do you know about Hungaricums?

You probably already have a feeling as to whatHungaricums means and you started to draw a picture in your mind about this notion. I’m sure that you are on the right track and that you got the right impression. Yes, Hungaricums are those unique Hungarian products, specialties, works of art, and animals which you can not find anywhere else in the world except in Hungary.

Don’t be afraid. I don’t want to bore you with dry definitions or with something which has an encyclopedia or dictionary smell. This is not the place for this. If you are looking for serious, academic style writings about Hungarian specialties or Hungaricums, I have to disappoint you because you will not find such articles here.

But if you are interested in distinctive things, products you can enjoy in Hungary; this is the right place to start. Here I will show you those specialties that make Hungary famous.

The fact is I have spent a couple of years abroad. I lived in Germany, France and Finland and I have seen and tried quite a lot of nice and delicious things. But to tell the truth I missed many of the Hungarian products listed below. This is especially true for the foods. That is why a big part of this article about Hungaricums is about foodstuffs, but you can see there are some other interesting and unrivaled things.

So, let me walk you through some of the most famous Hungarian products.

Herend porcelain – one of the most famous Hungaricum

Two years ago my wife and I decided to have a long weekend in Bakony. This is a very nice rolling country close to Lake Balaton.

We rented a room in a hunting lodge and one evening after a long, romantic walk in the forest, we started to wonder what other places we could visit, not just touring outdoors. Of course the autumnal forest was very nice with its colorful leaves, but we wanted to see something else.

We opened the map and discovered that Herend was quite close to where we were staying. I became excited immediately because I have never been in any porcelain factory and museum before.

I remember when I was a child my grandmother had a porcelain collection. There was a big glass case in the house where the porcelain figures were kept. I used to spend hours trying to find out how these fragile masterpieces had been made.

When she saw my excitement, my wife said: “Let’s go and visit Herend and the porcelain factory”. So, we ended up in Herend the next day. If you want to see what happened to us at the Herend Porcelain Factory, don’t miss our adventure in this wonderful place. The story continues…

The other valued porcelain Hungaricum is Zsolnay porcelain

The Zsolnay Factory is the other famous porcelain factory in Hungary. In the early days there was a tradition in Hungarian families that a Zsolnay dinner-set was used for important family events. There are also families in our days who attempt to buy at least one set of Zsolnay or at least one piece from the set. I think my “old-fashioned” family is also fitting into this team.

If you visit a Hungarian family and they serve food or coffee in this unique porcelain, you can be sure that you are an extremely important person to them. Of course, if you cannot see this Hungaricum on the table, it doesn’t mean that you are not important. The reason might be that they don’t like the style of these masterful pieces.This is also a very nice and common wedding gift for newly married couples.

Halas Lace and Kalocsa embroidery

We come again to those special Hungarian handworks that you can find in almost every Hungarian family. There is a big tradition for crewel-working, especially in my family. My mother and my grandmother used to make very nice tablecloths. Today my aunt keeps this tradition running. She makes amazingly nice embroideries.

Just click on this link and you will be introduced to the world of Hungarian laces and embroideries.

Kalocsa embroidery

The world famous Hungaricum – Rubik’s cube (Rubik kocka)

Let’s play together with our sensational Rubik’s cube just to stir another part of your mind. Here you will find a lot of interesting and useful information about this sensational logic game.

Beres Drops (Béres csepp) – the healing Hungaricum

This is the right place for you to explore this unique Hungarian immune strengthener. The Beres Drops not only supports your immune system; it can act as a supplemental therapy to improve the general condition and well-being of cancer patients.

Just click on the link if you want to know more about Beres Drops.
And now here comes everything for your hungry stomach…

Hungarian paprika – the most known Hungaricum

I have to start the foodstuffs part with the famousHungarian Paprika, because this excellent spice is the spirit of most Hungarian foods. As I mentioned before, I lived a couple of years abroad. When I wanted to cook -for example, a good goulash- it was really difficult because I was not able to find real Hungarian paprika. I tried to find it in shops but finally I had to ask my relatives or friends to send me some.

I don’t want to say that Hungarian paprika is the only choice for making nice Hungarian foods. You can, of course, use any other type of paprika or spices. If your goal is to enjoy a perfect Hungarian dinner at your table, I kindly advise you to buy a bag of real Hungarian paprika during your visit to Hungary. Want to know more about Hungarian paprika, or do you need advice on where you can purchase it, and which type you should buy? Visit our site about Hungarian Paprika. If you want to try some original Hungarian food specialties just have a look at the Hungarian Recipes site:

The famous Hungarian paprika

My goal with this page about Hungarian paprika is to share some interesting and useful information with you about this famous hungarian spice.

If you would like to know more about this sensational herb and you are interested in where it comes from, what the story is behind it, how healthy it is or where you can buy the highest quality paprika, just follow me on this page and I’ll show you all these things. As I mentioned on our Hungaricums page, the so-called “red gold” is the spirit of the traditional Hungarian cuisine. If you are interested in the Hungarian food specialties, please visit our Hungarian foods web page. You can find lots of excellent and tasty traditional recipes here, which are mainly based on paprika.

The story of Hungarian Paprika in a nutshell

The red paprika originates in South Mexico, Central America and the Antilles Islands. The aboriginal Indians used it for healing and seasoning as well.

Hungarian paprikaThe paprika arrived in Europe from the New World with Christopher Columbus. He wanted to reach the east Spice-Islands on the sea and he returned with unknown spices—for example—with a never-before-seen present: a paprika plant.

In the beginning the red pepper plant decorated baroque gardens of gentles in Europe, and it arrived on trade ways to Turkey as well. From there it came to Hungary through the Balkan.

In the second half of the 16th century, Margit Széchy, a noble lady, already had a plant in her garden called the Turkish pepper (at that time also called Indian pepper or heathen pepper). The name ‘paprika’ came from the 18th Century as a diminutive form for the south-slavish name of pepper (papar), then after the Hungarian usage, the word became international and universal.

In Hungary, paprika was first used as a cure for intermittent fever; it later became a typical spice of Hungarian cooking. While production remained for the means of family supply until the middle of the 19th century, by the turn of the century processing became serial and paprika trade important.

The paprika cultivation started in the region of Szeged, on the black-sand-soiled fields near to Szeged, on the flooded soil of river Tisza. In 1934 Szeged and its area was declared a closed zone, so paprika powder from outside of this area was forbidden to sell as Szeged paprika. The harvest was done in the traditional way, by hand picking that had to be repeated about 3-4 times to assure that only the stalk-ripened pods of excellent quality would be forth processed.

Hungarian paprika hanging on the wallA famous picture connected to Szeged is red pepper strings hanging on the walls of houses.

The genetic basis of the exclusive quality of Hungarian paprika is constituted by state accredited paprika species improved in the Szeged region.These species accommodated best to the nature of the region, because during their improvement they used the original taste, aroma, colour giving paprika population, which developed in this area during the century.

 

How paprika powder is produced?

There are two main paprika production places in Hungary: Szeged and Kalocsa. The unrivaled Hungarian paprika is made by milling of the ripened, after-ripened, and dried pods of traditional cultivated paprika grown on fields surrounding Szeged and Kalocsa, which are favorable areas for growing the plant.

Drying Hungarian paprikaThe Hungarian paprika has its special features due to the care throughout the centuries, to the professional knowledge and the traditional processing regarding red pepper, and the conditions that are very favorable in Hungary for the warm-loving paprika. In the Szeged and Kalocsa region the temperature, sun, and rainfall circumstances are the most favorable of all the agricultural lands for red pepper cultivating.

Hungarian paprika and the health

I think we all know that today’s people need vitamins andantioxidants in an increased degree because of the changed environment. We Hungarians use red pepper mostly for seasoning in cooking, but the vitamins and antioxidants in it help to keep our health too. I’m sure that you have heard about Albert Szent-Györgyi, who got the Nobel Prize because he discovered the vitamin C. You might be wondering, “how is he connected to Hungarian paprika?” the answer is very simple. He discovered the vitamin C in the paprika. Though color giving carotinoids, provitamins, tokoferol substances in the paprika seeds are materials of the 21st century. Paprika was earlier used as a medicine as well, today they produce noteworthy healing preparations out of it too, and I think in the future we can use Hungarian paprika as a spice for health.

Where to buy?

You can purchase original Hungarian Paprika here on our site. If you leave in US this is a very good oportunity to try out this unforgettable paprika. Bende Hungarian If you visit Hungary, there is a very nice place where you can find original and best quality Hungarian paprika. This place is the Central Market (Központi Vásárcsarnok) in Budapest.

Central Market BudapestThe address is: Budapest 9th district. Vámház körút, 1-3

Open:

  • Mon 06:00-17:00
  • Tue-Fri 06:00-18:00
  • Sat 06:00-14:00

I recommend that you visit this place for two reasons:

  1. It is a very nice looking historical just next to the Danube river.
  2. There is an unforgettable atmosphere inside, when you are walking through between the small shops you will get the feeling how we Hungarians like to shop.

If by accident you miss the Central Market, don’t be disappointed. You can find paprika also in big shopping centers and as a last chance there is still the airport shop. Of course the best would be if you could visit Szeged, the home town of Hungarian paprika. You can be sure that here you can buy very good quality paprika everywhere!

Pick salami – the number one Hungaricum

Oh, salami…one of my favorites! Mmmm…

I have never met any human beings (or dogs) who didn’t like it. Once you taste the great flavor of Pick salami, you will never forget it. Let me share some stories with you about Pick salami.

The best Hungarian sweetness: Dots (Túró rudi)

If you know some Hungarians in your country, just ask them what they are missing the most from Hungary. I’m serious, just ask them and I’m sure that 99.9% of the people will say it is the Dots (“Túró rudi” in Hungarian), and they will start to smile immediately. Why? Because every Hungarian is in love with this sweet, and it is really one of those things which you can’t miss. Now it’s time to look at some drinks for moistening our dry throats after tasting these delicious foods.

Tokaji wine

This is an excellent choice. Tokaji wine is the most famous Hungarian wine, and of course this is one of my favorites. I have met with a lot of people from all corners of the world and most of them were asking where they could buy “Tokaji Aszu”. This was music to my ears as this means many people have heard something about this Hungaricum. But I have also realized that they don’t know much about the other types of Tokaji.

Please follow me and discover the secret of Tokaji wine. You will be surprised how many varieties of Tokaji wine there are.

Of course this page about Hungaricums is not covering everything. I tried to collect here those products, which I personally think are the most important ones. If you are missing something and you would like to see it on this website, please contact us via our contact us form.

John

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