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Just this Sunday at the Akvárium Pool and the 1st Fish Festival will be coming to the end. Hope many visitors enjoy their walk-around at great floating  fish soups in the air.

Besides the traditional Hungarian dishes of fish, the most well-known Asian cuisine dishes were also available on the spot. As said at the press call, three invited countries will be cooking, representing their traditional culinary delights, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan. unfortunately, too much fish was around to try to find my way to see and visit ‘Nam’s and Japan’s culinary specialties. I think these two countries should have been given more space and advertising attention, or at least a map of stands, showing where is what. Very narrow was the passing walking area, that made the visitors hard to „swim” through the crowd.

“The festival is aimed at encouraging the domestic consumption of fish and to strengthen the fish culture here Hungarian within the gastronomy of specially cooked Hungarian soups and dishes ” …  told by Mr. József Németh,  “Venesz” awarded  president at the Hungarian National Gasdtronomic Association.

The consumption of fish for centuries was/is an integral part of the Hungarian cuisine. However and ever though the territory of Hungary has many fast running rivers (great meat of energetic running fish), lakes (more fatty meat of lazy fish) and fish at breeding establishments (One of Hungary’s Fish Farm is at Hortobágy area, where there are fish ponds operating.The carp capacity is between 200 million and 50 million, herbivorous and carnivorous fish rearing.

At the Hortobágy area and the Tisza region for thousands of years was self-sufficient in fish. Upon recorded information it is said … at the dawn of the new age at the unregulated rivers there were “more fish than water.”

My way: „The Hungarian fish soup needs no chief’s headgear in preparing a unique full of harmonies, delightful fish soup. Basically, all you need is a variety of carp, catfish, pike, bream, onion, salt and pepper, then add bay leaf, tomato, fresh green paprika to specie up your day…. and there you go.”

Unfortunately, when you have plenty it is not always fully appreciated. The Hungarians annual fish consumption of an average of 4 kilograms/year/person.Throughout Europe Hungary has the most field of water sources the figures show we eat fish among the lowest in Europe. Even though knowing the beneficial effects of fish, known to be rich consumption effects: the heart and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

One of the highlights of the festival was that distinguished fish folks inn’s represented themselves by cooking on open air their style of fish soups These people were from several corners of Hungary’s famous  „csarda” Folks Inns. Mentioning a couple which had their own stand called: „Soupi” at the festival.  The unique Russian Fish soup called: „UHA”  which exist since the times of the Tsarist domination. What is special about this fish soup … no red paprika powder, as I mentioned to him „it looks like a pale-faced Indian” … this is how we Hungarians call those who have no tan of their face, they put many kinds of fish: salmon, catfish and other fish with carrots and  potatoes and the „cream on top”  they add 40% of „Lya Vodka” or whatever is at home on the shelves. As was told, this is an everyday fish soup in Russia. The next caldron to be visited was already boiling the fish soup Alá-Mohács by Lajos Havas and Péter Szikra, the team of two arrived from Mohács. They also brought the traditional „Mohács Black Ceramic – as to serve their fish soups – made by the famous local László Lakatos pottery maker. There speciality was cooking their soup with the strong aroma „CRNI LUK” onion powder bought from Serbia. As Péter Szikra added, without the use of the powder they would be falling into tears while peeling a half-a-dozen of palm-sized onions. Now it is not available in Hungary, but the talks are going on between the parties to have it available in the stores in Hungary. Péter Szikra has a „Fish Island” at Mohács, where there is an Inn, fishing opportunities and fish cooking combined with the possibility of arranging events. Pál Nagy was also there but this time as a visitor. He is from the area of Baja, well-known by all Hungarians they have  their own specially cooked fish soup with their special noodles which are called the „matches” noddles. The also have annual fish soup festival at Baja, which is a  traditional for 300 years and ont he occasion of this anniversary there was 300 stands of fish soups from all the territories of Hungary. As he said their fish soup is prepared with pike, perch, catfish, sterlet and zander.

Now to the fish soup the wines were not missing. The Fekete Wine Cellar brought their products from Agárd, at Lake Velence.  Rolling around the stand, man there were  many Pálinka to rinsen the throats. Passing by the stands, was  called to have  a shot and taste the Madarasi Pálinka House’s  clear fruit pálinkas.  I thought I would go for the blueberry, was as having a bunch of fresh fruit,  could not stop in smelling it, cause the aroma was just amazing. The pálinka house stand in the town called Madaras and is owned by Mr. Márton Lakatos.  The  family owned company was one of the first’s „hire distiller” joining to the Pálinka Order of Knighthood in 2004. Was also told: ” For example getting 2 liters of elderberry pálinka you need 100 kilograms of elderberries to gain 60-70% of pálinka.” 

The Fruit Wine from the Sápi Family company, located at Csömör was all day long surrounded by visitors at their stand. Csaba Sápi was like a PA calling the visitors for free tasting. While I was there a couple of bottles of fruit wines were brought and on their way home, taken to brighten up the rainy days. “Unfortunately, the fruit wines do not have such a great prestige among the Hungarian wine makers, most of them think wine can be made from only grapes, which is not true” said Csaba Sápi, winemaker. Also added: “We realized that the fruit wines should be treated as a good mother to hear  what the child says. I always listen to them, care for them.”  Csaba’s  wife, Ili on the stand told me: „We have now strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and blue elderberry wines made purely from the fruits , also produce red and black currant and  our latest product is preparing figs wine. The brand name stands of the daughter, Timea. By all means forms further motivations for us to create a quality product. “My daughter’s face marks the products, so I create a wine that matures in my child’s name and face. Last year our brand, the fruit wine was presented at the Real Wine Fair in London. As the  wine makers  stopped by and tasted them it become popular among the locals.  Foreigner wine makers  we also interested in our wines. The China’s sales representative also bought selection of dozen bottles of our fruit wine. Hopefully at this year’s  Real Wine Fair in London we will be again represented with our  fruit wines.” Ili, also was so kind to bring her home-made previously prepared special pasta for Hungarian donuts. We usually eat them with home-made jams. As can be seen, topped with apricot jam as the home-made jams are common  here, cut in 2 pieces so the fruit looks not only wonderful but tastes good. The snap can be seen in the slide show.

Last but not at all visiting the stands, must say a word or two about the „Pisztrángos” stand, where a wagon length of crowd was awaiting to get the taste of the famous trout to eat by „Feri Pisztrángos” from Dunabogdány.  Many said on the spot they have heard about the delightful fish dishes served at his restaurant at Dunabogdány that is why they will not leave the stand before not tasting these „good looking” trouts. Well, I was already on my way, just dropped by to Mr. Pisztrángos taken some snaps. Asked me whether I have been at their restaurant and tastes their special trouts already. Hearing I have not, was invited to visit his restaurant and based on my experience to evaluate what kind the royal trout got the hook on me.

Update and snaps by Aggie Reiter

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Chris on 20/02/2013 at 09:13

    Hope the trout was not one of those lazy fish you described…In your job it must be difficult not to add the kilos with so many temptations at your disposal….CH


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