Our month-by-month guide to the best food and wine events in Budapest
Talk and Wine Tasting with Winemaker Tamás Dusóckzy from Tokaj
Thursday April 2 (7pm)
Dusóckzy is a fascinating man who grew up in Mád, Tokaj, but left the country as a teenager, became a physicist, and lived in Switzerland and the US. After retiring in the early 1990s, Dusóckzy moved back to Hungary with the intention of bringing the family’s old wine estate in Tokaj back to life. He partnered with Mihály Habsburg to start a five-hectare vineyard, and he is a founding member of the Confrerie de Tokaj, the association of Tokaj wine knights. His latest initiative is building a memorial at the synagogue in Mád to honor the Jewish winemakers and merchants who were killed in the Holocaust, and making them posthumous members of the Confrerie de Tokaj. Dusóckzy is not only a winemaker and a witness to Hungary’s tragic 20th-century history, but he is a fascinating storyteller. During the discussion he will share five of his traditional-style Tokaji wines with us, as he shares his memories. The evening will include a tasting of five wines from Dusóckzy’s winery and generous platters of Hungarian-style Tapas.
The grounds of the Vajdahunyad Castle in City Park make up a picturesque festival landscape: a fairytale fortress, blossoming trees, grassy green spaces, and lovely views of the Heroes Square. This celebration combines Easter traditions with local culinary offerings, and the weekend-long event features a handicraft fair, a farm animal petting zoo, several concerts and performances, and a locsoló competition where men sprinkle women with water or perfume. On the food front, there will be a cooking competition, lots of lamb dishes, and a street food fair with plenty of liquid libations to keep spirits high.
Celebrating Easter traditions in the Buda Castle, the vibe here will be vibrant and family-friendly during this weekend festival. There’s a program of folk dancing performances, inaugurating the ‘tree of life’, and musical performances by Transylvanian artists. For the young and the young at heart there will be a petting zoo, a play garden, and interactive games and performances. Artisan foods and Hungaricums will be on display, as well an open-air kitchen filled with traditional Easter fare. Other highlights include the special food court focusing on health-conscious products and the Hungarian wine patio showcasing domestic labels.
Picnic in Etyek
Forget snooty wine aficionado types, this festival is aimed at down-to-earth yet discerning wine drinkers and foodies who want to celebrate the arrival of spring in the wine region of Etyek (on the outskirts of Budapest). Over two dozen cellars await visitors with festive culinary offerings: try home-made rétes, pogácsa and jams with regional wines and sparkling wines at the Gomba Sparkling Wine Cellar; eat Easter ham and gourmet coffee at the Gradowski Estate, or sample the grilled lamb and pig dishes at the Debreczeni Cellar. Other culinary activities include cheese making, various fruit syrup tastings, and even a gastro quiz that will complement the rich selection of wines and musical performances. Winemakers will be on hand to pour their finest labels and answer questions.
Swiss Dinner and Wine Tasting with the Heumanns from Villány
Thursday April 23 (7pm)
Erhard and Evelyne Heumann are a German/Swiss couple who were seemingly led by fate to settle in Villány and make wine. Villány, located in the southernmost part of Hungary, is one of Hungary’s most prized red-wine-producing regions. It’s a region filled with whitewashed wine cellar rows, and beautiful vineyards. The Heumanns’ reds—including Kékfrankos, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah—are opulent, concentrated, and dreamy. Since their vineyards are locates in Siklós (the section of Villány where white wine was traditionally made), they also make lovely whites. This evening will include a tasting of nine of the Heumanns wines, and dinner prepared by Erhard Heumann!
Kékfrankos MOST! (Kékfrankos NOW!)
Making the tasting, discussion, and promotion of Kékfrankos (Blaufrankisch) the focus of a month-long array of events, this festival promises to really celebrate the diversity of Hungary’s most plentiful red grape varietal. There will be various promotional events during the month of April, but the highlight is the “Big Kékfrankos Tasting” on April 25 which will bring together a massive amount of domestic winemakers at the Sofitel Budapest hotel for tastings, workshops, master classes and talks.