• Wine and Kővirág (Lake Balaton, Hungary)

Hungary.  It was never on my itinerary and I knew little of the country.  When my friend suggested at last minute we meet there, I didn't research and my mind was open without expectations to appreciate things as they really were.

I loved it.

A group of us, my friend and I plus three beautiful Hungarian girls, ended up at Lake Balaton for a wine festival and a weekend of bike riding, wine and food.

I had not known Hungary made wine, let alone good wine and was impressed.  We frequented the Domaine Edegger stand trying almost every wine in their range, me finding my favourite of a pinot gris chardonnay which was fruity but still had the oak of chardonnay that I love.

Our visit to Kővirág was after a busy day of riding, stopping past a weekend market, an old fort and a rock claiming to be ‘the heart of the heart chakra’ on the way.

Kővirág seems to be in the middle of nowhere, especially after biking all day to get there.  But inside its fence is a pleasant courtyard surprisingly busy with travelled diners.

There is a standard menu, but there are just as many dishes on the specials chalk board.  As it is the Hungarian culture, we ordered soups and mains.

Not only is the food healthy, fresh and local but there are many vegetarian alternatives. I picked the tomato soup and the breaded cous cous with goats’ cheese.

The soups soon arrived and all were delicious.  The tomato soup was intensely flavoured and think.  I really enjoyed it.

The mains took a long time and the waiter brought us bread with tomato and dip to tie us over while they fixed the error.  After riding all day we were starving, despite the tasty soups.

The goats cheese was like a soft haloumi that when hard as it cooled.  It was served with a creamy, lemony, homemade mayonnaise.  Mixed salad leaves had been dressed with caramelised balsamic.  The cous cous was inventing.  Somehow they had grouped it into balls which were then crumbed and fried.

Despite holding together in the batter, the cous cous inside was light and free.

I also enjoyed a homemade elderflower cordial with soda and lemon.  I love elderflower and feel treated to see it so popular in Hungary.

Full and happy, we took the train back to our little town.  I was falling in love with this beautiful country.

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