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The season to celebrate the „Aspic Meat Festival” has arrived to the City of Miskolc! It became a prominent event in the North region of Hungary a real  tradition and also a good time to visit Miskolc. The whole festival surrounding was as dream, being in the hustle and bustle at a huge fairground, even though the stormy northern winds and snowfalls woke me up from that dream. Afterall the atmosphere was spiced up with attractions, good foods and  warm welcome which warmed up our body and soul.

Source from the organisers … „Every year in the third week of February Miskolc Winter the biggest open air festival of winter in Hungary invites visitors. The festival was founded upon a story about Miskolc starring the frog and the meat jelly. This unique event is based either on modern entertainment and traditions and values. In the wide range of programmes elements of culture, gastronomy, sport, health, environmental protection, and active adventure tourism are gathered together. There is a proverb about the famous case that happened here in Miskolc: „Blinks like the frog in the meat jelly of Miskolc” …  Each year more-and-more people visit the festival, in 2007 during the festival more than 100 thousand people visited the events, in 2008 over 200 thousand visitors were registered.”

Here it is in nutshell about the tale … Once upon a time, a frog jumped into a bowl of   “KOCSONYA”  – aspic meat while cooling in a cellar at a restaurant in Miskolc and the waitress served it to guests without a glance into the bowl. Actually, haven’t a clue whether the guest really ate the soup or not, but since then, the expression saying: “Blinks, like the frog in the Miskolc  aspic meat”  this have had become a common usage in Hungary. So at Miskolc now was the time and place to go and enjoy this treat … hopefully without the frog! The Kocsonya is prepared in the late fall  as the weather becomes a bit chilly and winter when the boiling soup is placed in a cold place of the house or in the cellar. Then slowly the hot soup becomes a meat aspic. Some cook it with pork meat adding veggies and spices, some with the use of turkey meat, or fish, or simply with only veggies and in this case need a lot of garlic which helps the soup to become I would say ’sleepy”, but officially they say it jelly frost.

Even though the weather was dreadful, with  heavy snowing, as seen  in the slide show, many visitors came around the streets and squares are where music filled each corner  with showmen entertaining the guests.

More than a hundred programs, concerts and performances are waiting for the small and big ones who can taste the famous meat jelly of Miskolc, the laczi-steak (Hungarian  spicy steak, the pretzel and each year the popular beer rolls down the throats for many having a „Korty” meaning „Síp” of  the well-known beer speciality of Miskolc. Having frogs as the main character of the event “T.G.” there were no live frogs falling from the sky, neither in the bowls this time, nor bouncing around the merry folks!

Over the 3 days biggest Hungarian, national, open-air, multicultural winter event, this year from Slovakia, Kosice – ECOC – 2013. was the honored guest at the festival. The major of Kosice with his delegation were welcomed by the local prominent persons of Miskolc and also had a major stand whereas „Visit Kosice” programs  “spiced up” by the Kosice artists gave a superb performance. The honored guest was shown around the city and taken tasting of a wide range of meat aspic.

Not just the wine from the vineyards of Monok, but bean soup with smoked meat, flavored in the regions style was welcomed for tastings and surely folks couldn’t  say it enough times how much they enjoyed the ala-Monok  spicy bean soup that they will never forget. Well it was  seen that the locals,  folks from other regions of Hungary and foreigners strolling along through paths couldn’t resist from the calling sent to stop by and have a tasting bowl  ala-Monok spicy bean soup. Found out on the spot, that  … Saturday, July, 6. at Monok will hold its first BeanSoup Festival.

The  mouth-watering  sweet  blackberry, sweet raspberry, sweet cherry and  the sour-sweet wines were presented  by  “art of making fruit wines”  Mr. Csaba Sápi and his kind wife Ili. His hands were all the time full with sips filled glasses calling the folks walking by to come over and have a taste  of 100%  real fruit wines. Ili, his wife was baking small donuts filled with her own home-made appricot jam, it was heavenly good and made you forget the pelting  snowland you were walking along that’s for sure.

A stop at  tasting  “Hajni’s”cherry pies and cakes filled with the cherry from the famous „Cherry fields” from Szomolya  was such a special treat.  Also  was present when thumbs-up  by the VIP delegation from Kosice was welcomed to to stand an invited for the tasting of their famous cherry pie.  The Szomolya  area is also known as Hungary’s one and only “Cherryville!”. By-the-way Szomolya enjoys world fame with her early ripening, honey-sweet, half-black cherries. You may also have the experience to taste this rich in flavor cherry by visiting Szomolya  by car, by intercity bus,  as jackbooted tourist, as horseback rider or by  bicycle  to  Szomolya between June, 7-9.  to be at the XIIth Cherry Festival. 

So, heading back to the scene at the Aspic Meat Festival, many fine local dishes and gastronomic specialties were to welcome the visitors which surely swept them into the grove of having that festival feeling. As for the share of the culture life, the Kosice delegation visited the local museum, whereas many Slovakian born famous men have added, shared their rich culture and art with the city of Miskolc. The famous Miskolc „Steelers” American Football team and cheerleaders gave a spectacular show on the main stage. The visitors also had a chance to meet with the Miskolc’s Polar bears hockey team. The little ones were not left out of enjoyments, many kids programs were out on the scene as well. Musicworld was presented by regions bands and from Kosice serving all kinda taste, as folk music,  dance music, alternative rock, Latin salsa and samba, Jazz.

Last but not least a growing number of foreign and Hungarian tourists left their footsteps at the Jelly Meat Festival in Miskolc and might be they will go back to the place again next year where once they had a terrific time.

Update and snaps by Aggie Reiter

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