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From distillery to distillery, on bicycle


A few weeks before the ratification of the pálinka law in September, Csaba Vas tries to turn the attention towards quality pálinka, by visiting the 37 distilleries of Hungary.

Experts say that 2008 is going to be the year of pálinka, because from the 20th of May, the Hungarian fruit and Grape-Skin pálinka is under the protection of the European Union. The Parliament accepted the pálinka law, which is going to control production, qualification, and distribution. This law was prompted by professional organizations. Along with the law, the National Association of Pálinka has been established. The Ministry of Finance initiated tax labels with different colors in order to be able to distinguish pálinka from other short drinks and distillates. Another improvement of the year is that after many decades, minister József Gráf announced a competition for the support of the production, distribution, and investment of pálinka. In connection with this competition distilleries can claim financial aid from the EU.

It is the third time that Csaba Vasi, member of the Hungarian Pálinka Order of Knighthood, visits the distilleries of Hungary on a bicycle. This year he is going to visit 37 fruit and grape-skin pálinka distilleries. The aim of this trip is to turn people’s attention to the great quality and originality of pálinka. Moreover, he will be presenting the most important stations of the nation-wide pálinka tour, and he also will be introducing pálinka masters and their products. The new thing about this year’s trip, that there will be other groups joining Csaba Vasi.

The sportsman is also accompanied by a cameraman on the 2300km way. They are making a short film about each distillery, making a collection about distilleries. In the film, there will be seven highlighted distillates: Szatmári Plum-Pálinka, Szabolcsi Apple-Pálinka, Kecskeméti Peach-Pálinka, Békési Plum-Pálinka, Gönczi Peach-Pálinka, Újfehértói Sour Cherry-Pálinka, Göcsei Pear-Pálinka, and other specialties like Bolyhos Bedded Pálinka. The organizers are also planning to publish a guidebook.

The two-week long trip ends on the 9th of August 2008, in Ozora. As a part of the Renaissance Festival, the National Monument Trusteeship announced this day as the “Pálinka Day”. On the festival, there will be presentations about pálinka, and 22 distilleries will welcome the friends of pálinka.

If you are interested in the photos and videos about the trip, you can see them on this website:

The organizer of the “visiting distilleries on bicycle” trip is the Agrármarketing Centrum; the coordinator is Hungarian Pálinka Order of Knighthood Unity. The National Pálinka Program was also a supporter of this tour.

Csaba Vasi, honorary member of the Hungarian Pálinka Order of Knighthood Unity – information: 06 30 645 2839. László Piros, grandmaster of the Hungarian Pálinka Order of Knighthood Unity – 06 20 934 9549


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„I cannot write a cheerful poem, I smile rarely, I drink often, I am choking all my griefs into pálinka.”
Gábor Koncz