Since 2009 Budapest has hosted an annual Palinka and Sausage festival, and just like the other large gastronomical festivals, it is arranged in the area around the Castle of Buda. The Palinka and Sausage festival is not as large as the beer festival and the wine festival, but it is still a great hit among locals and internationals who want to enjoy gastronomy and of course Palinka and other drinks in the castle area of Budapest.
As a foreigner you might wonder; what is Palinka? If you have been to Italy you have maybe heard of Grappa or if you have been to Croatia you have maybe heard of Slivovitz. The Hungarian Palinka is similar to those, but still different. Grappa is a fruit spirit made of grapes, while the Slivovitz is made by plums. The Hungarian fruit spirit Palinka is not limited to one fruit, though there is only one kind of fruit in one bottle of Palinka. There are lots of different fruits used to produce Palinka in Hungary, for example apple, pear, apricot, plum, grapes, strawberries, sour cherry and some more. The secret of a good Palinka is fruit of high quality, and of course high quality production methods and storage. The real Palinka has nothing added to it, but you can also find Palinka with honey added to it, making it a bit easier to drink. Palinka with honey added to it is often referred to as Viagra for women.
The festival is not only about Palinka, but also about sausages, so if you want to eat some real juicy sausages, this is the place to taste it. Unfortunately you can not see in action how they make the sausages (at least not the entire full process from the start), but you can get to taste the end product in different ways. Do not imagine the normal hot dog as you see it in other nations; this is large sausages with fat, spices and lots of meat on the inside. The main ingredients for these sausages are pork, paprika and salt, but in some sausages you can also find other kinds of meat, lots of different spices, making it very interesting to taste different kinds of sausages. And if you eat a couple of these you will not be hungry for a long time (but you might burp for some hours afterwards with a real sausage after taste… be warned). A good advice is to start and end your meal with Palinka; the drink is often used as both appetizer and a digestive drink, so it will help you prepare your stomach for the meal, and later help your stomach digest what you have just eaten.
The Palinka and Sausage festival normally lasts for four days, and you can find the different stands during the festival in the Lion courtyard (this is where the main stage is) and the Hunyadi courtyard of the castle. To get to the area simply walk across the Chain Bridge and walk on foot to the top or use the funicular. Another option is to use bus 16 from Deák Ferenc square and jump of the bus at Disz tér and walk from there.
Palinka and Sausage festival 2014
Dates: October 3rd – 5th
Entrance fee: 2000 HUF
Opening times: 12.00-24.00
Included in the entrance fee is the right to visit Budapest History Museum and the National Gallery. You will also get a Palinka glass as you pay the entrance fee.