Sunday, 16 December 2012

Braving biting winds

The market on Sunday was a clear demonstration of people's commitment to quality artisan products. Despite -6C, freezing winds and snow from a couple of days earlier turnout was good - and so was the mood.

Visitors and producers alike survived - fueled partly by wonderfully warming mulled wine from the Sárga Borház stand outside, partly by the warmth of atmosphere. The joy of seeing each other again, and celebration of closing the first year of the market successfully. Delicious!

Photos soon - but in the meantime there are some excellent ones here by Szerencs TV. Thank you for support!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Permaculture, artisan market and slow food in Sárospatak

After the market on Sunday we organised a film showing of three short films about permaculture, artisan market and slow food dollowed by a short panel discussion, and then a feast of what we brought to the table. We asked people to prepare something to share - and bring cutlery, plate and a glass.

Permaculture - as part of the Védegylet and Zöldpok campaign we showed part of a BBC film Farm for the Future which looks at the approaching oil crisis and alternative forms of food production including the basics and practice of permaculture and forest gardening
Artisan market - Szerencs TV made a superb short film at the last Tokaj-Hegyalja Market
Slow food - the active Slow Food group in Sárospatak meets every 2 weeks to share ideas and food, create a communal space for the adults and children.

Hungary is still very much a land of bottling, so we decided to hold a swap too. An array of jars to exchange for something participants don't make - or in a different way! Summer sun to enjoy in the winter.

Sunday 9th December at 4pm in Sárospatak Cinema.
Entry is 300Ft for over 14s to support the cinema.

Friday, 7 December 2012

The advent market

The lights have been switched on here in Sárospatak and the town is sparkling. The twinkles lift the spirit during the long darkness of the winter - and the market this Sunday will also as artisans gather around the Sárga Borház to present their wares. A perfect place to find quality presents for those you love.

There will be a Christmas tree grown by talented wreath maker Katalin of Tokaj, and, as no tree is complete without adornment, a handcraft workshop to make decorations. Carols too!

Sunday, 2 December 2012


Christmas is a time of giving. And what better to give someone than a unique gift made by someone's hands - even if not our own. The Tokaj-Hegyalja Market is full of such potential presents - and I know my rucksack will be full of things I'd like to take back to friends and family in Manchester - soaps, oils, vinegar, Christmas decorations, wooden toys... Would love to take a basket too, but not so practical on the plane unfortunately!

Hope you can join us on the 9th December for our Advent market. There'll be a handcraft workshop (10-12), an exhibition of stolls by artist and soapmaker Mária Kolbás, traditional Hungarian sweets to hang from the tre, and the Miskolc choir - time to learn some carols! As always we'll have live music too, and all our favourite producers.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Markets are fun!

A great place to meet friends old and new...

to taste the local seasonal produce...

and take it home (supporting the local economy and creativity at the same time)...

See traditional crafts - and meet the masters...

We always have a special place for little ones, so everyone has something to delight...
(inside / outside depending on weather)



and singing

Alternative transport...

And perfect for a wander too!
 The next market is 9th December, Advent - and a great opportunity to find unique presents for your loved ones.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The power of the grant

Last week's extravaganza was made possible by a grant from the Hungarian National Rural Network which enabled us to invite more performers and exhibitors than ever before! What a treat for all as the photos in the last post show!

The performances, concerts, exhibitions, book presentation and tastings were all thanks to financial support given by the network. From their website: The task of Hungarian National Rural Network (HNRN) is to organize a network of all parties interested in rural development that means the organization of a network of interested governmental, local government and civil contributors, business and social organizations, professional bodies, as information and cooperative network, and the harmonization of its activities. The aims are: social and economic developments of the countryside, helping it reach the desired level, and the efficient utilization of funds.

We hope the market fulfills these aims, a market run by volunteers for the social and economic benefit of local people and the wider community. The associated conference certainly suggested there is great interest and devotion to the theme. The conference was just the first to be held. We plan to continue this project into the future.

Thanks again to the Network for allowing us to organise this parade of culture, community and exchange!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The hairy pig

Well, rather more of a local produce festival than a market this time. We had:

(photos to come later :))

- an exhibition of photos taken at the Bari family organic farm of the "happy, hairy pigs". Twenty pigs who roam an 8 ha orchard of batú apples, plums, hawthorn and more with its own "muddy paradise" for mud treatments and cooling in the summer. They are fed the organic sweetcorn the couple grow. We wanted to share this wonderful example, so we took our photographer Zsolt Szentirmai to show market goers where their food comes from.

-  interviews on stage with the organic farmer: András Bari, with three winemakers of the Tokaj Women and Wine Association: Sarolta Bardos, Márta Wille-Baumkauff (biodynamic) and Edit Demeter, and with pálinka producers and market organisers Bestillo.
- a wine tasting offered by the Tokaj Women and Wine Association. A chance to meet the winemakers and find out more about them and their wines.

- pig roasting on the Sárga Borház terrace

- and the daily menu - sausages from our constant companions and mangalica pig breeders

- pálinka tasting by Bestillo

- and of course, a wine tasting by host Disznókő

a book presentation and exhibition by Totem, the Tokaj Conservation Society.

- an embroidery exhibition by the Hegyalja Master Craftsmen and Women Society, as well a stand with their varied and skilled work.

As always music was an important element at the market. We were joined by

-  the local Sárospatak Néptánc Egyesület who brought folk dance to the stage,

- accompanied by the Tényleg band

 - Tilla Török and her band who played folk music and taught (appropriately) "wine songs".

- and to open the festival-atmosphere, the Garagulyás stilt performers!

A quick mention of new producers too.
The mushrooms brought by the Tokaj Malta Society

Next market is on the 9th December: Advent.  I can't think of a better place to buy presents. items made with love and care. Hope you can join us!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Seasons change, and the market too

The next market is this Sunday, November 11th! The celebration of the hairy pig, the delightful old-breed mangalica! There will be photo exhibitions and talks given by producers, also of wine and pálinka. All of these involve tasting too - so plenty of sense stimulation for all. We've also put together a special edition booklet containing photos, descriptions and contact info for the wonderful producers that have come together to make this market a joy for all who come.

I am delighted to announce the Tokaj Women and Wine Association, a group of talented women passionate about the Tokaj region and its wines, will bring their successes to share. (There are proportionally more women in wine in the Tokaj region than any other in Hungary - and they produce some exceptional wines). If you'd like to discover this side of Tokaj, join them for the wine tasting in the room above the Sárga Borház.

Folk music and "wine song teaching/learning" from Tilla Török and her band, as well as a special performance by the Bodrog Néptáncegyüttes with their band Tényleg. Even stilt performers, the Garagulya Gólyalábas! So plenty of events this time too.

Other highlights include the Tokaj Conservation Society who will bring an exhibition and their publications (including a new release) and, for all you coffee lovers, prie-winning barista Alexandrosz Takács, will provide sustenance from the bean.

As we draw to an end of the first year of the Tokaj Hegyalja Market, on Saturday we will host a round-table discussion on markets, their role, setting up and sustaining. People from other markets (existent and still in dream stage) will join us for this sharing of experience and ideas. It promises to be an exciting meeting of minds and hearts!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Szüret! Harvest!

The market is held at the Disznókő estate at the gate of the Tokaj Wine Region - so obviously our autumn market had to focus on the harvest. The vineyards define the region, skirting the southern foothills of the volcanic mountains, and the life of the vine and the vine have been shaping the local culture for centuries. Many visitors at this time are specifically here to find out more about the special Tokaj harvest, so the market took this as its key.

The four main grape varieties on the Disznókő estate (Furmint, Hárslevelű, Sárga Muskotály and Zéta) at the wine boutique where visitors could taste various wines, as well as the delicious freshly-pressed must.

As usual we were joined by illustrious guest wineries presenting their wines at the Sárga Borház Wine Bar terrace: Zoltán Demeter, Hétszőlő and Paulay Borház, alongside Disznókő.

What a fabulous selection of traditional grape varieties brought by one of our exhibitors.

The journey of everything of everything is a path of change... and from grapes there is obviously must and wine ...

One of the newer local businesses I am most excited about is Grapolia who make wonderful cold-pressed grape seed oil. What a wonderful complement to the Tokaj range - and one I've been awaiting a while! Thank you!

And then there is vinegar... from the unique Tokaj Vinegar of Bodrogkeresztúr who take quality Tokaji wine to make biologically fermented vinegars matured in oak barrels.

One of the creations by renowned Hungarian chef Viktor Segal: lentils with Tokaj wine vinegar dressing.

Many of our imaginative producers always come up with something new, something in the theme of the market - and what better than soap from the noble grape Furmint (that accounts for 60% of vines in this wine region!) I love their soaps - and the goat milk soaps from the other soap masters.

And of course the harvest extends beyond grapes too ...
from organic apples made into apple juice, there is also beetroot juice.

And organic oils from nuts and seeds ...

And a new form for fruits, flowers and leaves ...

Last time at "Mushrooms into the Basket" there was a workshop to design mushrooming baskets held by the Fonó weaving workshop, a charity passing on skills to the unemployed. 

We held a competition and here is one of the lucky winners ...

A great place to come and explore the fruits of the local artisans,

See exhibitions by local artists (Cili Majoros joined us this time)

and enjoy the music...


How are you going to come to the next Tokaj Hegyalja Market on November 11th?