The annual springtime Pálinka Festival is the sister event of the Pálinka and Sausage Festival in the fall. As its name suggests, the festival celebrates the Hungarian spirit Pálinka. Each year at the beginning of May, Buda Castle opens up its Hunyadi Court to locals and tourists alike, and over four days, guests have the opportunity to sample a huge variety of excellent spirits and local delicacies.
What is Pálinka?
Pálinka is a potent local brandy made from all sorts of local fruits. Most commonly, pálinka is made from plums, apricots, pears and apples; however, just about any fruit can be used for pálinka, including raspberries, blackberries and quince. Many locals say that if it can be made into jam, it can be make into pálinka!
As you’ll see at the 2013 Pálinka Festival, the Hungarians are proud of their pálinka. It’s considered a “noble drink”, though you’ll find a huge variety, ranging from humble homebrew to top-of-the-line spirits.
Celebrating Prime Pálinka
You’ll find pálinka at nearly every grocery and liquor store; however, the variety and quality you’ll find at the Pálinka Festival outshines anything you’d find on store shelves. Each of the major distilleries offers up the very best of their produce, and guests are welcome to sample the amazing range of flavors.
Along with the major distilleries like 895 Hunnium, Árpád és Vadász Pálinkák, Békési Pálinkaház, Bezerics, and Brill Pálinkaház, you’ll find a whole host of smaller, family-run operations. These small, independent distilleries sometimes offer up the most innovative, creative new flavors, so don’t spend all your time at the big booths. The little mom-and-pop shops are often working from ancient family recipes, and the flavors and quality are truly authentic and impressive.
The Year of the Cherry
The 2013 Pálinka Festival is celebrating the year of the cherry, so along with the myriad other options on display, many distilleries will be featuring special cherry flavored brews. Many of these cherry pálinkas are limited editions, so don’t miss out!
The star of the show this year is a special cherry pálinka distillate, made from a selection of the very best spirits. This show-stopper was the collaborative creation of some of Hungary’s top distilleries, and is something you really won’t want to miss. Named “Cherry Pálinka of the Year”, this special edition spirit will be making its debut at this year’s Pálinka Festival.
As you’ll soon see, pálinka is not for the faint of heart. All that tasting will quickly go to your head, so make sure to back it up with plenty of prime Hungarian cuisine. The festival grounds will include numerous food stalls, offering all manner of Hungarian delicacies, including savory sausages, ripe local cheeses, and some amazing locally-produced chocolate.
Hours and Admission
The festival kicks off on Thursday the 16th of May night and lasts until midnight on Sunday the 19th. Daily festival hours are as follows:
Thursday: 2 pm – midnight
Friday: 2 pm – 2 am
Saturday: noon – 2 am
Sunday: noon – midnight
Guests can choose to purchase a day pass or a pass for the entire four days of the festival. Included in the admission prices is a special pálinka tasting glass.
Book holiday apartments in Budapest city center and get the most out of the Pálinka Festival.