While tasting wines made with Hungary’s Furmint grape, Peter Morrell discovers the delicious food the country has to offer
Furmint is the nation grape of Hungary, and the wines produced from them are aromatic, fresh, and fruity. Several winemakers were in London recently to showcase their Furmint wines. Tucked in amongst the exhibitors was a stand representing the fine artisan food that Hungary produces.
The company who imports the food is called Best of Hungary, I spoke with the owner Dr Monika Gyenes, who gave me a tour of the products on offer. The company is based in the UK, and offers a wide range of delectable delights which are all available online. Here are a few of the highlights.
At the luxury end of the scale is caviar, foie gras, and truffle products. There is also cheese, including the famous Baracskai cheese with its layer of ash. The range of condiments is impressive, honey, vinegar, jams, mustard, and traditional pickles.
For cooking and baking products like chestnuts, pasta, seeds, oils and butter abound, but perhaps the most interesting product is the smoked paprika. This is not the pale supermarket version, but a crimson red powder with an aromatic smoky aroma. I have been trying this in several of my dishes, paella and moussaka for example, but the standout was Hungarian goulash. The paprika gave the dish a rich, red colour, deep, pungent, and satisfying taste, and an intriguing smoky character.
Chocolates, wine of course, and drinks are all on the menu, but my most outstanding find was the air-dried ham, made with the rare breed, free range Mangalitza pig. This is the result of crossbreeding domestic pigs with wild boars, it’s unique in that it has a thick, curly coat. I tasted the ham, and its heavy marbling of fat gives it a superb flavour, far superior to serrano and Parma ham.
I would thoroughly recommend browsing the Best of Hungary website to see the full range of products. While you are there you will see that many of the products have won the Guild of Fine Foods’ Great Taste awards.
For more information, and to order go to www.bestofhungary.co.uk
You can read my article on Furmint Wines here…