A part of the Hungarian people’s spirit comes from a drinkable spirit, called Pálinka. Due to the lucky geographical situation of our sunny valley, surrounded by the Kárpátok and Alpok mountains, Hungary has great land and high number of sunny hours to produce sweet fruit for this great appetizer. Appetizer, I say, because it is commonly known among everybody who has stayed in the country for some time, or enjoyed the countryside hospitality, that we usually drink this fabulous fruit brandy before our meal. Our ancestors claimed that with a sip of pálinka every morning their health was secured. Still a common belief, especially among the older generations, pálinka is a medication for all problems, like sore throat, cold, or love problems…and who doesn’t have those, right? “Pálinkás jó reggelt!” they said, meaning: “Good morning to you, with a pálinka”. Well, this morning greeting is not so common any more, but occasionally we happen to greet the morning sun this way.
“Pálinka”, as appellation, can only be used for the fruit brandy , when the fruit is grown in Hungary, the alcohol bottled in Hungary or 4 provinces of Austria (but they only produce the spirit from apricot). The alcohol content is minimum 37.5 degrees, and is often higher. It can be made from any kind of fruit, but the most common fruits are: plum, cherry, sour cherry, apricot, apple, pear, and often you can find pálinka from the mix of all these fruits. Geographically the best fruit pálinkas are: Gönci barack (apricot from Gönc), and Szatmári szilvapálinka (plum from Szatmár). Törkölypálinka, pomace brandy, is a bit different, as it is made from pomace, it is the leftover from grapes (after producing wine), but still widely consumed in the country.
You can try different kind of pálinka products when visiting any open-air festival in the country, most of the producers bring their product to these events. Some good brands are: Zwack, Etyeki Czímeres, Agárdi, Árpád, Panyolai, Zsindelyes. Bolyhos It is highly recommended though, if you have a chance, try a home made pálinka, if you are a lucky one to be offered. For the last couple of years it has been legal for us to prepare our own pálinka at home, if it is not sold commercially, and some of these are said to be really the best ones.
Another related product is the “ágyas pálinka“, a pálinka that has a whole fruit in the bottle. This way the sunny spirit of summer is preserved all winter long.
Try out some pálinka products with us, we are offering them on our tours, so