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Our Team

Carolyn CAROLYN BÁNFALVI is an American writer who has lived in Budapest for many years. She is the author of the acclaimed culinary guidebooks Food Wine Budapest (Little Bookroom) and the Food and Wine Lover’s Guide to Hungary: With Budapest Restaurants and Trips to the Wine Country (Park Kiadó). She has also authored The Budapest Insider’s Guide smart phone App and has written for dozens of international magazines and newspapers including Saveur, Afar,, Frommer’s,, Gastronomica, Olive, and The Globe & Mail. She reviews hotels for Jetsetter and Northstar. Carolyn studied journalism at NYU and holds a culinary degree from a US culinary school. She holds a Level 3 WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) certification, and is currently immersed in the WSET Diploma Course. She never tires of exploring Budapest in her spare time. These days she has been trying her hand at writing children’s books, often at a cozy table in a Budapest cafe. Visit her site to read some of her articles.
 Gabor GÁBOR BÁNFALVI grew up in a food-obsessed family in a village in northwestern Hungary, learning how to cook at an early age from his mother. But it wasn’t until he spent a few years living outside of Hungary—which included time exploring France, studying in Spain, working on a ship in the Caribbean, and tending bar and waiting on tables in New York—that he realized how spectacular and underrated his native Hungarian cuisine is. Gábor holds a Master’s Degree in Spanish linguistics and literature and has extensive translating and interpreting experience. He holds a Level 3 WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) certification, and is certified as a tour guide. In his spare time he can be found jogging around Margaret Island in preparation for his next marathon. And he is currently at work on a research project involving the Jewish history of Tokaj.
Dora DÓRA CZUK grew up in Budapest and spent many years working as a journalist and a press officer for the city of Budapest. When she switched the focus of her career to follow her interest in food, food writing in Hungary was practically non-existent. Dora always finds new ways to learn about food and cooking, including having spent time working in a gourmet food shop, taking classes, and interviewing chefs for her articles. She currently writes a bi-monthly column for Hungary’s largest-circulation food magazine. Over the past few years she has been learning about winemaking firsthand from her husband, who has a small winery in Tokaj. When she is not writing, interpreting for visiting journalists, or chasing around her twin sons, Dora leads our walking and wine tours.
Virág Lastóczki VIRÁG LASTÓCZKI grew up in the magical Tokaj region. She believes it was fate that led her to a job at a winery there, which inspired the next phase of her life—studying at the University of Viticulture and Enology in Budapest. The deeper she immerses herself in the intricacies of Tokaj, the more she considers it her mission to contribute to the renaissance of the region and to helping restore its former prestige. Virág speaks English, Spanish, and Italian. When she is not studying wine, pouring wine at tastings, and leading our walking tours and wine tours, Virág likes to cook, and she bakes bread every day.
Judit Szöllösi JUDIT SZÖLLÖSI grew up in a small town in southeastern Hungary eating traditional dishes made by her grandmother, a professional cook. Though her love for food started there, it later evolved to an international level. Judit travels frequently, and extensively, mainly to discover the different tastes of the world. She has lived in Denmark, Spain, and France, where she authored a blog about French cheese. Most recently, her love for wine  took her to Burgundy for four months to learn winemaking firsthand by working at a winery during the harvest time. She speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French and studied Spanish Literature and Linguistics. When Judit is not expertly leading our walking tours, she can also be found working as a tour guide at the Hungarian Opera House.
Zsolt Baranyai ZSOLT BARANYAI was born and raised in Budapest, and is our self-taught expert on Hungarian craft beer. He began his beer tasting blog in 2006, and has been an enthusiastic chronicler of the craft beer scene ever since. By day, Zsolt is a sociologist, with the urban renewal of Budapest being his main interest—a background that comes handy in interpreting the town for his guests. In his spare time, he likes to travel and hike. Since 2012 he has been organizing beer tours for drinkers with an interest in learning about the culture of beer in a country which is increasingly getting bored of the global brands and is beginning to embrace some exciting and diverse local breweries. Zsolt guides our Craft Beer Walk.
Zsolt Berger ZSOLT BERGER is a winemaker in the village of Erdőbénye in the Tokaj region. Zsolt spent many years working as a journalist in Budapest before becoming fascinated with the idea of making his own wine in Tokaj. In 2005 Zsolt and his wife bought a sprawling (and crumbling) old house in Erdőbénye (which once belonged to an Armenian winemaker) to house their winery. Their winery, the Karadi-Berger Winery, makes small quantities of artisan wine, using minimal unnecessary technology. Zsolt is also the brains behind the popular “Wine, Shine…Bénye” festival, which is held annually in the gardens of Erdőbénye. Zsolt lives in Sárospatak, with his wife and two young sons. He guides our Tokaj Winemaker’s Tour, and his winery is a frequent stop on our private wine tours.
 BARBARA BARBARA KIRALY is a Budapest native whose preferred mode of transportation is her bicycle. Her passion for food led her to the College of Catering and Hotel Management in Budapest. She has spent time living in Italy, and fully immersed herself into the culture by working in restaurants and bars while she was there. She did not at all mind the research that it took to write her thesis on Italian gastronomy! When she is not leading our walking tours, Barbara can also be found guiding tours by bike, or sitting in cafés writing restaurant reviews for a local web site.
Gabor KATALIN INDI HARTAI is a Budapest native who grew up tasting the delicious meals of her grandmother, who was an in-house cook for a family. Her other grandmother excelled in making jams and preserves, and probably made the best apricot jam in the world. She later realized that her interest in food is fastly growing when she found herself asking for cookbooks for birthdays, and listening to radio cooking shows and food blog reviews on her favorite alternative radio station in the early 2000s. Katalin holds a degree in American Studies, and has extensive experience in teaching, translating, and interpreting. When not talking about food or leading our walking tours, she enjoys hiking, jogging, traveling, and discovering her new-found love of cycling in her favorite city—Budapest.