Everyday Life in Hungary

A Spring Drive Around Simontornya, Hungary

On one of our fortnightly shopping trips, I took my camera with us in case of any photo opportunities along the way. Our first stop was a beautiful stunning sight, fields of yellow canola. The flowers are reaching peak bloom now and look like a vibrant yellow carpet. After flowering, canola produce brown oil-rich seeds when ground up, these seeds give an oil that is widely used for cooking and high-protein meal used in animal feed. Hungary has many of these fields.

Next stop, at a safe distance we visited the local beekeeper. His bees are in our village forest and we wanted to buy the honey made from these particular bees. What a treat, glorious rich tasting honey on hot buttered toast. I am still slightly amused that Hungarians put price stickers actually on the bread.

Shopping completed, we took a tour up into the hills of Simontornya. The roads are mainly dirt tracks but well worth the effort for the glorious views across the valley. From our vantage point we could see Simontornya church and the Renaissance castle next door. If you would like more information about the castle see here Grapes seem to grow in every available space on the steep banks, this is a prolific grape growing area, the conditions are perfect.

Further up the valley and many twisty roads later we came across some very pretty winehouse’s. They are traditionally very small, usually with some sort of accomodation at the top and the cellars and winemaking equipment in the cellars.

It was certainly good to get out and about during this restrictive time. Clear blue skies and wonderful fresh air with rising temperatures, it’s such a joy living in this beautiful country.

Everyday Life in Hungary

Bees, Honey and Hungary

Most people love the delicious taste of honey. We buy the local honey and eat it on hot buttered toast, wonderful! Not only does it taste good but it has many healthy benefits too. Honey has a disinfecting effect and gives inflammation relief, particularly for those sore throats.

Hungary is the largest producer of natural honey with over 15,000 beekeepers throughout the country. Bees are one of the best pollinators in the world but unfortunately numbers are declining. This is mainly to due to the widespread use of pesticides.

We can all do our part to support the dwindling population by providing abundant food sources for them in our gardens. Plant flowers with blooms to encourage them to visit. Different blooms provide different tasting honey. Cherry blossom, sunflowers, daisies and even dandelions are bees best friends.

In Hungary the most famous honey is Acacia Honey taken from the white blossoms of the Acacia tree. Hungary’s unique climate and huge expanses of Acacia forests enable bees to produce a clear pure honey. It has a high sugar content so it does not crystalize, unlike other types of honey, it retains its liquid form for years. 75% of it is exported worldwide.

It is common to see beehives dotted around the forests of Hungary as beekeeping is a popular and profitable industry.

Bee hives are protected with plastic during the winter months.

The Hungarians have even dedicated a day to the beekeepers named St Ambrose Day falling on 7th December. On 7th December, beekeepers carefully look through their beehives to make sure that their bee colonies are doing ok. People believe that there will be more honey if the bees are carefully looked after on this particular day. On 7th December, traditionally, people drink hot tea with honey, and a lot of families make gingerbread or other Christmas cookies on this day.