Europe addicted to Hungarian horseradish and new local gin
Whether you have a Hungarian family or just like to enjoy the different tastes of the world, you will always find something delicious when it comes to Hungarian food and drink. Many people’s knowledge of the country’s traditional cuisine does not go beyond goulash or chicken paprikash, although Hungarian cuisine has much more to offer than that. In this article, we offer you two surprising local specialties to try. If you like to experiment with Hungarian flavors, try this tasty horseradish puree and the new Hungarian gin!
According to Storeinsider, Hungary is considered the largest grower and producer of horseradish in the EU, although the majority of crops are harvested for export. Due to its distinctive aroma, Hungarian horseradish is commonly mixed with domestic products from other countries in processing plants to enhance the flavor. However, Hungarian horseradish plantations are large enough to meet foreign and local demands and provide consumers with fresh supplies throughout the year.
The Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture (HCA) encourages customers to choose premium local products when shopping for the upcoming Easter holiday
In 2021, domestic horseradish land was estimated to span a total area of almost 1267 hectares. Harvesting processes generally last from October until March, until the start of the next sowing period.
Hungary, horseradish capital of the world
According to recent data, the country produced more than 12 tons of horseradish in the last season, which is about half of the world’s production. This plant has intense water needs, therefore, the last yield turned out to be smaller due to the unusual drought of the past few weeks, however, the Hungarian product still managed to outperform its foreign counterparts. Thanks to periodic harvesting and proper storage technique, the Hungarian yield covers not only local but also global needs until the next product. Although the level of domestic consumption is also significant, the majority of fresh produce is exported to the UK, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. Horseradish is a native plant in Hungary. At the time, it was cultivated all over the country, but today the main region where it is produced is Hajdú-Bihar county in eastern Hungary. The land provides work for many local families throughout the year.
A true antioxidant powerhouse
Horseradish is an ingredient par excellence of the festive Easter menu. The grated root can be used fresh, dried or powdered. You’ll often find horseradish added to condiments such as mustard or mayonnaise to give them a little extra kick. Horseradish sauce can be simply grated horseradish in vinegar or a creamy version.
This beloved local delicacy is a great companion to savory fermented vegetables such as cucumber, beetroot, cabbage and chopped paprika as it brings out their flavor.
Horseradish is high in allylisothiocyanata, a pungent chemical that provides its distinctive pungent flavor. It is also present in mustard and onion which gives you runny nose and watery eyes. Horseradish has a high vitamin C content, plus it is naturally antibacterial. It has been shown to kill harmful bacteria and germs. Horseradish can also potentially cure or ease the symptoms of kidney and urinary tract infections, chronic coughs and bronchitis.
Read also: Have you tried the Hungarian Wax Pepper?
Renaissance of Hungarian gin
This alcoholic drink of English origin is experiencing an unprecedented renaissance in Hungary, and some bars in the capital have taken gin and tonic to an almost artistic level. In addition to special gins from all over the world, the Hungarian market also has a lot to offer, because in recent years many new Hungarian gins have appeared, such as the internationally awarded opera, the popular brand Búzavirág and even some pálinka distilleries. , without forgetting the Agárdi distillery. However, we have a new player on the pitch who is exceptional in every aspect. Gay Hussar has already won two prestigious international awards, a gold medal at The Spirits Business and a silver medal at the 2022 IWSC Spirit competitions before we can even savor it in one of our favorite local bars. The new Hungarian invention has a classic spicy flavor, so we can taste it on the rock without mixing it with tonic. According to Storeinsider, it is not only its revolutionary concept but also the intriguing history of gin that makes Gay Hussar so exceptional.
The story behind Gay Hussar
The gin was named after Tatarjaras (Gay Hussar), the famous composer Emmerich (Imre) Kalman’s landmark operetta which he composed in a cheap attic so as not to be disturbed, while paying homage to the Hungarian restaurant in Soho, London, which bears the same name.
Opened in 1953, Gay Hussar was a popular meeting point among politicians, writers, poets and upper classes.
The late owner Victor Sassie operated the restaurant for 34 years. He was a unique character – and that’s not surprising, given his origins. Sassie was born to a Swiss father and a Welsh mother and became an honorary Hungarian during his apprenticeship at the Gundel Restaurant in Budapest in 1932. During World War II he joined the Secret Service where he used his Hungarian language skills . After the war, he opened his restaurant with his Hungarian wife, Erszébet, even though rumor has it that he is homosexual. The legendary restaurant served traditional specialties such as roast goose and smoked Hungarian sausage, its long and meaty menu never varied
How does it taste
Regarding its classification, Gay Hussar is a natural sipping gin that is produced using single shot technology. For those not fluent in gin, one shot means that once the plants have been distilled, the eau-de-vie obtained is diluted with water, in order to reach the alcoholic strength required for bottling. In the case of Gay Hussar, the spirit is boiled 96%, then diluted and infused with herbs. Based on Hype&Hyper’s taste test, the Hungarian gin has a grapey finish with hints of juniper, coriander, angelica, bay leaf, lemon zest, sea buckthorn, almond, orris root and lime blossom. The list may seem overwhelming at first, but that’s what gives gin its unique Hungarian character. Gay Hussar is already featured in the bars of a number of Budapest-based entertainment venues such as Telep, Nappali and Parlé, and will soon also be available in the iDrinks online store.
Read also: Hungarian gin: a new alternative to pálinka?
Source: storeinsider.hu, hype&hyper.com