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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Matthias Church, Budapest
Chain Bridge, Budapest

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