#Countryside trips #Food & Wine /

Day trip ideas – Etyek and its wine region

Photo credit: Pixabay, Sonkamester, Korda Studios

Etyek village is approximately 30 km far from Budapest, in this region, there has been a significant increase in vine production since the 1900’s, which is linked to the cultivation traditions of the Törley champagne factory. Therefore the area is surrounded by vineyards and wine cellars owned by local families. By now the village has been recognised as a gastronomy center due to the well-known Etyek Piknik and often several gastro fanatics make a pilgrimage to László Árpás aka “The Sonkamester” (the Master of Hams), to taste his famous dry-cured hams. So grab your wine glass and enjoy the hospitality from cellar to cellar.

The Etyek region has lush hillsides, plantations on the slopes of the Vértes and Velence mountains, the Etyek plateau and the Váli valley, the Buda district plantations are located in different areas of the Buda hills. The wine region has a uniform, high resemblance to the champagne region in France, taking into account soil and climatic considerations, climatic factors and terrain characteristics. The soil-forming rock is at the bottom of the Vértes in the loess, in the Velence Mountains is the granite.

The history of Törley sparkling wines dates back to almost 150 years. Being open to novelties, the Törley factory became one of the most modern sparkling wine factories of Hungary by the turn of the century, and at the Millenary Exhibition it owned the title of Imperial and Royal Court Suppliers. In the subsequent decades, Törley products were introduced throughout the world from Paris through America to Australia, and by 1910 the factory reached an annual production of 2 million bottles. This success was broken by World War II which was followed by a period full of hardship and the revival. Despite all the troubles, Törley has managed to keep its market leader position in Hungary to the present day. We recommend you to start your trip paying a visit to the Törley Exhibition and Visitors’ Centre.

The wine cellar can be visited for around 80 EUR/group up to 15 person, which includes, per person: a glass of Törley Gála sec or Törley Charmant Rosé doux or Törley Non-alcoholic Rosé and, if demanded a glass of Törley Réservé demi sec for 1.5 EUR/person, a glass of Törley Chardonnay Crude Sparkling Wine for 2.2 EUR/person. You can easily reach the Törley Center if you take tram 47 from Deák Square and get off at Leányka utca.

How to get to Etyek? The quickest way is to order a cab to Törley – you can ask for a minibus – roughly 30 EUR it would cost you the 20 kms distance. Be aware, the best if you also organise the route back and pre-order your transfer. There are a few licensed companies with apps, which have English editions. If you wish to skip the visit to the world of Hungarian champagne, you can also get a cab from the center or use local transport to get to Etyek. Bus 760 from “Kelenföld train station” leaves in every hour, you need to get off at “Etyek, buszforduló” station. We recommend taking the bus at the time of the Etyek Piknik (for some more infos see below) as due to the event’s popularity, you’ll find extra buses leaving. (Due to the regular timetable is you miss a bus, you might have to wait an hour for the next one.)

The Etyek Wine Route collects the wineries, the local goods and handicrafts, accommodation and catering establishments.  With its certification system, the Etyek Wine Route Association guarantees the excellence of the branded services. During your stay, you will not only experience the cellars and the beautiful vineyards, but enjoy the fine wines, taste pálinka (strong fruit brandy) and the sparkling wine of this region! A great variety of colourful, unique and rustic dishes, homemade cheese, hams, syrups, and chocolates will give you real gastronomic experience. The speciel event of the Etyek Piknik takes place four times a year, this year’s events gather thousands of people together. On January 20th, pork roasting, wine tasting, food specialities, mulled wine making contest, craftsmen’s market and a lot of other exciting programs were featured. On April 14-15th, after Easter, champagne and ham will be in the focus of the Spring Etyeki Piknik. Visitors can taste the newly bottled wine and the special artisan champagne. On June 9-10th, the Etyeki Piknik lasts 2 days with a summer atmosphere, and lecsó (Hungarian ratatouille) and rosé wine takes the lead. On September 1-2nd, the harvest event lasts for 2 days, bringing back the memories of the Kezes-lábos festival. Stum and cheese, harvesting feasts, artisans and the best folk musicians awaits the visitors. There is no entry ticket for Etyeki Piknik. All programs are free to attend. Payment can be made in cash only!

You shouldn’t miss the Sonkamester (The Master of Hams), while in Etyek! László Árpás prepares only 500 hams per year with traditional methods. He was born in the south of Hungary, learned the method by his grandparents. The salt used for salting is produced by a friend of his on a small Adriatic island. Salting takes 3-4 weeks, then Mr. Árpás slices the ham for 10 to 12 days, which is the trademark of the Sonkamaster. After the smoking takes four days with hardwood, and one day with plum tree, which gives a nice red colour to the ham. Finally, the ham is matured for a year with a unique method: he puts the meat in a cowhide and then manually binds it to the net. This time a mold layer builds up which protects against dehydration. By booking, groups of 15 to 20 people are welcome, with ham, brandy, homemade wine, lamb and duck sauce.

Where? 2091 Etyek, Újhegyi út                                                                                                                                                                                                        When? Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11.00-18.00 Booking: +3630/992-8370  or info@sonkamester.hu

The Hernyák Family Estate is located in Öreghegy (old Hill) Those visiting will admire the scenic views of the beautiful, romantic vineyards built on the hill. The estate is about the future, the creation, the cooperation with nature, while not forgetting the past. László Hernyák came with his family more than twenty years ago to Etyek, fleeing from the South Slav War, and built with extra hard work his eight hectares of land today. At the beginning of the 90’s, there was no quality pálinka culture in Hungary, as opposed to the tradition of producing potatoes flourishing in Vojvodina, based on quality ingredients. Recognising this opportunity, first, László began to produce pálinka from the grape of Etyek vineyards, establishing the Hungarian brandy culture. Their first wine was bottled in 1997, everything is done by the family (László, his wife Vali and their son, Tomi), there are no employees, there is no fundamentally different company behind them, but there are more than twenty years of experience, perseverance and diligence.  High quality wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir will be included in the winetasting with a choice of 4, 5 or 6 wines to taste, plus amazing gourmet delicacies. The new generation, Tomi is a passionate winemaker, host and cook, we recommend you to book a tour and let him entertain you during a meal in his Manga bistro, where he is the chef. Try to ask for his secret bread recipe!

Where?  2091 Etyek, Öreghegy, Présházak 2684/0 Booking: +36 30 274 8994 or info@hernyak.hu

It is worth a trip to Rókusfalvy Inn for a lunch outside the city, wonderful terrace, a village idyll and, of course, an exciting kitchen and wine tasting will colour your programme, if you book in advance, you can even stay for the night, so an extra visit to the Rókusfalvy Estate would also fit in. Gradually, the profile of the place has developed since it’s opening more than 10 years ago, but always had a remarkable kitchen character for years. Its foundation is strong seasonality, discreet rustic style and good-quality rural hospitality. You can always find real fruit juices, local cheeses and, of course, other local wines from the host, in the spirit of collegiality and, of course, an attractive drink.

Where? 2091 Etyek, Alcsúti út 4., Booking: +36 22 597 097, closed on Mondays, Tue-Sat: 12:00 pm – 10:00pm, Sun: 12:00pm – 06:00 pm

Apart from the amazing vineyards and gourmet life, Etyek hosts hollywood also. We are not joking, you can take a look at the magical world of film making, see the exhibition of the Korda Filmpark in Ethiopia, the world-famous scenery of the film studio. You can walk on the streets of a real working film studio where Ridley Scott directed Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain and Kate Mara during the filming of The Martian, or in the New York street set of Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, where Ron Perlman and Selma Blair appeared. We recommend the interactive exhibition, where midgets and giants from Lord of the Rings, motorcycling along the Danube, battleship explosions, galloping horses –a few of the filmmaking tricks of the trade that you will see brought to life in the filmmaking exhibition tour.

When? Open onWednesday – Sunday, weekdays: 8:00-16:30, weekend: 10:00-14:00. You need to make a reservation 2 days before your visit! Ticket prices: 8-10 EUR, guided tours are extra fees, +36 70 455 6815 or jegy@kordafilmpark.hu

Where? 2091 Etyek, Korda út hrsz 1572.

Photo: Pixabay, Sonkamester Facebook, Korda Studios website

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