Hungary is a gastronomic paradise for foreign visitors. The food is not as famous as the much more marketable French cheeses, wines and champagne or the Italian pizza, pasta and grappa, but many typically Hungarian dishes are not inferior in quality to internationally renowned dishes.
The aim of the gastronomy festivals is to show visitors from near and far - and even locals - what food was once in fashion in a particular region or even village, and how traditional dishes can be revived to suit the tastes of 21st century people. Today, fusion dishes are not uncommon at village gastronomy festivals, and it brings both smiles and appreciation to the faces of guests when older village women fill traditional strudel with eggplant, courgette cream or chilli truffles, all cooked to vegetarian tastes.
Even a small food festival can be a community-building experience, and as a member of a foreign delegation, it is well worth attending a food festival where you can get to know the local people and the local food. We know that a delicious meal can release endorphins in the body, which are a guarantee for good mood and informal conversations.
And if you can offer a selection of the internationally recognised and award-winning Hungarian wines, pálinka and beers to accompany your food, the community-building power of festivals can be multiplied.
We'd like to give some aid to guests coming to Hungary by listing some of the best-known gastronomic festivals, but of course we've also mapped out festivals abroad to accommodate delegations from Hungary.
The best-known Hungarian gastronomic festivals are: the Gyula Sausage Festival, the Szeged Chowder Festival, the Winelovers Budapest Wine Festival, the Gyula Pálinka Festival, the Fonyód Sausage and Beer Festival, the Etyek Libadalom, and the numerous wine festivals along Lake Balaton and in the Hungarian wine regions.
There are also hidden treasures as well: these smaller festivals are only known locally, but that's why they have a familiar or homely atmosphere and offer a much more community-building opportunity for a twin town delegation than a large-scale festival. It is difficult to single out some of the many smaller-scale events, but the wine days in Veszprém, the strudel festivals in Tápióság and Mesztegnyő, the dödölle festival in Kanizsa and the kocsonya beauty contest in Badacsonytördemic are special.