What's beyond stew
Sacred food + important cause
„“This will be Gourmet Festival’s 9th year. It has developed into a mass attraction over the years where basic principles no longer need to be explained to the public. We think it's time to choose a mission for the theme. We thought about things relevant that interests us, which is how we came to using leftovers, and waste-free cooking. Within this category, we chose bread, which is sacred, and symbolic throughout gastronomy” - says Zsófi Mautner, the inventor of the food theme.
“The use of dried bread is exciting, as the real culinary content is what’s important. I’ve seen some surprised by the choice, but we hope chefs that like to work based on visions, will find this task inspiring. From old Hungarian cuisine to Italian and French the end of the bread has often been used in poor and folk kitchens. This includes breading, fried foods, bread salads and soups, stuffed bread, bread pudding, and many others. Many inspiring keywords come to mind, and we believe these will also inspire chefs.”
They know it’s Hungarian, but has been untouched for a while
“We found paprika important because we are known for it worldwide: along with Tokaj aszú and our stew and Goulash that we do not need to advertise since everyone knows about them. These are the flavors that I myself and other Hungarians start missing first when abroad” - states András Jókuti, gastronomy blogger and one of Gourmet Festival’s hosts. “Paprika also has a bit of a bitter smell: we have not paid enough attention to changing it up a bit and renewing it to show the world that it’s not only worth coming to Hungary for beef stew and goulash. We hope this could be the paprika 2.0”
“We hope chefs don’t stick to traditional foods and are inspired to show guests what can be made with paprika in 2019 that we can be proud of and is unique. Gourmet Festival offers a full spectrum: with some preparing traditional foods and others making drinks. You won’t be finding the same foods, as people talk and discuss their ideas ahead of time. We are expecting far-reaching and exciting courses.“
This is not a competition, there are too many restaurants for that, so the themes are not taken too seriously. We’ll be happy with creative concepts, such as serving food in a pepper shaped dish. It’s ok to let go of recipe books and not strictly use paprika as a spice.”
Can we get some for home?
It’s important that the ingredients be easily obtainable. Chefs are not selling brands, rather promoting buying items from reliable sources. “I hope that quality paprika production will increase, instead of the kind that people just lift off store shelves,” says Jókuti. “It’s sad that we treat our world famous spice so poorly, and I hope that quality products will increase if they become trendy in restaurants. This has already happened with quite a bit of products: vegetables, flour, bread, cheeses. This is a common occurrence in catering industries, but also among ordinary people and producers start producing item to fill the gaps.”
Flowing through a new path
Like last year, there is a drink theme, which is beer this year. Beer has become increasingly popular in Hungary and around the world. Smaller countryside breweries use exiting ingredients and experiment with them. These smaller breweries use a smart technique of marketing and some are even in competition with larger breweries. New flavors have also appeared including IPAs and Ales.
Beer dinners have also been spreading worldwide, where chefs make meals based on the drinks. Hungary’s biggest selection of beers and foods will be available between May 16-19 at Gourmet Festival.