Paprika, National Spice of Hungary, a Food Souvenir

Did you know Paprika is the national spice of Hungary?

This post is dedicated to this spicy spice. Paprika is used by Hungarians in their most celebrated dish Goulash. The fiery seasoning is devoured by Hungarians on an average of half a kilogram a year.

Paprika from Hungary
Paprika for Sale

Paprika, national Spice of Hungary

Hungarian paprika is made from peppers that are harvested and then sorted, toasted, and blended to create different varieties. All Hungarian paprikas have some degree of rich, sweet red pepper flavor, but they range in pungency and heat. The eight grades of Hungarian paprika are:

  1. különleges (“special quality”; mild and most vibrant red)
  2. csípősmentes csemege (delicate and mild)
  3. csemege paprika (similar to the previous but more pungent)
  4. csípős csemege (even more pungent)
  5. édesnemes (“noble sweet”; slightly pungent and bright red)
  6. félédes (semi-sweet with medium pungency)
  7. rózsa (mildly pungent and pale red)
  8. erős (hottest and light brown to orange).

In the US, what is marketed as Hungarian sweet paprika is usually the édesnemes variety.

Paprika, national Spice of Hungary

Paprika as Souvenir from Hungary

Paprika, national spice of Hungary can be found in every shop there. Almost all the souvenir shop we visited in Hungary had this spice suspended in bunches. Initially I assumed these bunches are for some kind of good luck, later I was told by Antal Halmos, it is the national spice of Hungary. In India too paprikas are consumed, these are sold in shops too but never displayed in such an aesthetic manner. I simply had to photograph. Have a good look at the last shot. It stuns me even today!

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63 Responses

  1. Erős is my favourite, lovely paprika.

  2. ashok says:

    Oh is it? thanks for the info…

  3. ladyfi says:

    I always thought that red peppers/paprika were only sweet… didn't know they were hot too.

  4. Sylvia K says:

    We use red peppers and paprika here in the states, but not like this! And I didn't know it is the national spice of Hungary! Really interesting post and photos for the day as always, Indrani! Hope your week is off to a great start!

    Sylvia

  5. Pietro says:

    We commonly use pepper here in Italy, but certainly not all those spices.
    Very interesting post, Indrani.

  6. Carver says:

    Very interesting post. I wonder if Hungarian paprika has tumeric (curcumin) in it. In the U.S. the spice tumeric is in paprika which is something I'm interested in because studies have shown that tumeric can help fight melanoma and other cancers. I learned about this because I'm a melanoma survivor.

  7. Cloudia says:

    Never knew so much about paprika!
    No doubt this post will be turned up in Google searches for years to come!

    Warm Aloha from Waikiki
    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >

  8. kanak7 says:

    What amazing displays! It made me think of the kinds of spices we have in India but none are displayed as brilliantly as the ones shown here. Most interesting!

  9. Genie says:

    Until I read your post did I find out that paprika comes from peppers. That is so interesting. Love the little shote with all the peppers hanging from the ceiling. Considering how much of it the Hungarian people eat, there must be lots of these little markets. Great post. genie

  10. magiceye says:

    amazing displays indeed! beautifully captured!

  11. Martha Z says:

    Very interesting. I never knew my Hungarian grandfather but I heard he made a great goulash.

  12. Ebie says:

    This is really a nice post. I never knew about this spice origin because I see them powdered/ground in a container!

  13. Leovi says:

    Nice pictures, but I can not stand the heat.

  14. i love Hungarian sausage and it's all about paprika. it's the only Hungarian food i know.:p marvelous shots.

  15. Emille says:

    Goulash is one of my favorite dishes (I make it in a slow cooker). Very pretty display of the peppers!

  16. eileeninmd says:

    What a neat post, I never knew what paprika looked like before processing. Goulash is one of my favorite dishes. Your photo of the store with the paprika peppers and the customer is fantastic. Thanks for sharing, Indrani!

  17. Like all indians, did you ask for the price? and then did you bargain? 🙂

    BTW, I have seen similar decoration of spices in New Mexico, USA too. I think the Mexicans also have a similar tradition..

  18. Gary says:

    Really interesting post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  19. Gattina says:

    I love Hungarian goulash ! My friend's father was Hungarian and she knows quiete a lot of recepes.

  20. Ash says:

    Thanks for sharing this! In fact, my lunch today was scrambled eggs with mushrooms and paprika!

    Happy Valentine's Day!!

  21. EG Wow says:

    It's actually quite attractive hanging there!

  22. George says:

    My late wife was Hungarian, so I developed quite a relationship with paprika during the 30 years we had together before she died. I still like paprika.

  23. I learned plenty tonight! The paprika I buy has no flavor at all. I wonder why that is. I always that the spice added color rather than flavor. So now I know!

  24. Although «Louis» knew that paprika was "the national spice of Hungary," he did not know about the varieties. Very informative and interesting post, Indrani!

  25. I love learning all about spices here…this is a well thought out and researched post that you have put a lot of time into…this is what I would call really good blogging and writing done by someone who really cares about their blog.

  26. thats a lot of paprika. 🙂

  27. Andrew says:

    Many thanks for the info to go with your lovely images..
    I had no idea…

  28. momto8 says:

    i had no idea! pretty cool. I love paprika..I use it a lot in my cooking…and now I know! Thanks!

  29. Dhemz says:

    wow! they look like firecrackers…lol! firecrackers in the mouth…lol!

  30. Carole M. says:

    bet they smell real good too

  31. Redruby says:

    i always love paprika…

    me and my blogs are happy for your visit..take care always and have fun travelling..

  32. I too was unaware of the fact that this happens to be the National spice of Hingary. It dwans on me that Pepper has many connotations. Here in India they are dried red chillies, is it not? The last photographs is definitely stunning.

  33. wow, nice bit of info..i did not know this…pretty interesting!!

  34. Very interesting, equally informative, Brilliantly captured.

  35. ilakshee says:

    striking visuals!

  36. This looks really Hot..Nice Info..

  37. I thought they were just great pizza topping, superb snaps and lovely info. As always a pleasure to read and see.

  38. Nabanita says:

    As always , enjoyed the pics and the post!

  39. Indiawilds says:

    How different are they from our chillies? Hotter? Image looks good.

  40. Panchali says:

    Very nice pics, Indrani. Nice read 🙂

  41. Nice Indrani to know about the tastes about foreign countries. Have heard about Goulash but never tasted one

  42. Arun says:

    Very interesting info.

  43. Didn’t knew about it.. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  44. wow.. we get this here too 🙂

  45. Half a kilogram of paprika! I wonder if they ever suffer from constipation… I don’t think so…

  46. Jyothi D'mello says:

    I truly enjoy the informative and the visual delight of your posts. I have a smoked paprika cheese spread in my fridge and it is yumm 🙂

  47. Amazing displays dear. I love paprikas too! They add spice in life as well. 😛

  48. I did not know about this spice. The way it is hung,resembles , South Indian tradition of tying lemon and chilly to car and entrance of house :).
    Nice to know about the national spice of Hungary .

  49. Very informative post.. thanks for sharing..

  50. Kala Ravi says:

    This was interesting and informative!

  51. Prasanna says:

    love the taste of both sweet and smoked Paprika, especially in roasted meats.

  52. Nice interpretation of the challenge and then we turn to you “The Lady In Red” by Chris de Burgh. Greetings Albert and Mara

  53. a lot of NEW on Paprika 🙂

  54. Sims says:

    Nice arrangement of the spices. 🙂

  55. A thorough account on paprika 🙂

  56. Chaitali says:

    I am not much of a chilly lover but your post did offer some good informations with capture.

  57. Wow never knew so much about Paprika! Indrani this would have been a perfect fit to my food souvenir section!!! 🙂

  58. Paprika is one of my favorite pizza toppings. A very informative post dear 🙂

  59. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder says:

    National spice…that sounds great. There are so many varieties… I think tastes also differ…isn’t it?

  60. Also one of my favorite spices! Need to visit Hungary soon 😀

  61. Ami says:

    These sure look aesthetic.

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