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Sept. 23, 2011

Morning came and were were all rested. We started the day with a quick breakfast and then it was off to visit a Hungarian Mangalitsa
"woolley pig" butcher shop very near the hotel.  The Mangalitsa* (MON-go-leet-sa) was created in 1833 by the Hungarian Royal Archduke Jozsef and is a lard type breed prized for it's wonderful flavor and healthy high oleic acid content. We were amazed by the shop which is situated just off of the main road, but in not in a commercial setting. It was part of a farm like property. They only offer fresh and dried sausages, cured fat, lard, fat cracklins, and fresh cuts of Mangalitsa pork.
Next stop the famous  Tokaj Kereskedőház  known as Crown Estates winery and wine caves. The drive to the town of Tolcsva took about 25 minutes. Crown Estates is located just off of of route 37 just before entering the town.  Crown Estates is the largest vintner and commercial wine enterprise in the historical Tokaj wine region, and its five kilometer long, two-storey cellar system ranks as the largest wine cellar in Central Eastern Europe.
We met our hosts in their main office  just after walking by a group of winery workers who were dumping the morning's harvest into the initial crusher system.  We were then shown a map of the extensive cellar system which we would visit next.
Another day in the Tokaj...another wine cave to explore. 


Darrell was amazed to see wine production with Flor in the Tokaj, so much so that he wanted a few good pictures of it.  Flor is a winemaking term referring to a film of yeast on the surface of wine, which is important in the manufacture of certain styles of sherry in Spain and Portugal. 
After being completely overwhelmed by the massive stocks of wine we were shown, there was no let up to the experience. We were then taken into an area where Crown Cellars store their very old wines.
With the cellar cave tour finished, we were taken to the tasting area and sampled a number of Crown Cellars Estates wines. The tasting was wonderful. The wealth of quality produced wines here was just like the other producers we visited.  All very similar, but also all very  unique.
We emerged from underground at the opposite end of the cave system. Our hosts were very gracious and certainly taught us alot
about Crown Cellars Estates and about Tokaj.
We said  goodbye to our hosts at Crown Cellars Estats and drove into the small town of  Tolcsva to see the numerous private cellar facades.  
The we drove to the north side of the town to take a look at the Oremus winery.  It is another of the well know producers in Tokaj. Darrell wasn't able to fit into our schedule, so we merely peeked into the retail shop and took a look at the winery from the road then headed back to Tokaj to do some shopping an brief exploring of the town.
The drive down from the northwest side of Tokaj Hill to the town of Tokaj is absolutely beautiful packed with spectacular views from all angles.
Our first stop in the Town of Tokaj was at a campground on the south east side of confluence of the  Bodrog and  Tisza rivers. We stopped  so we could take some pictures and video.
Finally it was a bit of free time to explore and shop in the town of Tokaj.  There were numerous antique and local craft shops to browse around in and we all bought some keepsakes.
With shopping bags in hand, it was time to say goodbye to the lovely town of Tokaj. We headed out of town on our way to see the
Festival in Mád.
We arrived in  Mád before the Festival began, so with stomachs growling Darrell suggested we grab a bit of lunch. We found a good menu at a restaurant inside the Mád hotel on the main street where the festival was being set up.  We had the most amazing dumpling soup, schnitzel, and beer which satisified us completely. We only had enough room left to split a piece of the local pastry and managed to sip on some Unicum, which is a famous Hungarian herbal liquor similar to Jägermeister. 
The festival was a good opportunity to walk off the very filling and delicious lunch, so we spent some time watching the set up and looking at the booths of local products, wines, and food as well as watched some of the early presentations and music.
Darrell loved the display of a replica press which the owners were pressing copies of the first printed bible.
It was past mid afternoon and the festival was just begining.  We would have liked to stay until the evening festivities, but Darrell wanted to take in one last winery and we had to be up early to make the drive back to Budapest to catch our flight to Munich.  Esther and Jimmy wanted to pack and unwind a bit, so we dropped them off at the hotel. Darrell and I then went to see the Patricius winery. We were met by the winery's general manager  Péter Molnár, who gave us a tour of the grounds, the winery, the cave cellars, and
also did a tasting for us.
Patricius,  just like all of the other wineries we experienced, has managed to capture the spirit of the Tokaj in all aspects.  Tokaj
has overcome the many years of negative communist influence and emerged with a complete rebirth of tradition in making the world's most unique and rare wines.
After our visit to Patricius, it was time for Darrell and I to join Esther and Jimmy back at the hotel for an early dinner and then packing up for home. On our drive I stopped to take a shot of and amazing Tokaj sunset. It was quite a sight to behold and a wonderful way to remember our last evening in Hungary.