Gastronomy of Mád

We consciously build the gastronomy of Mád.

The attention of the critics was already surpassed through Budapest this year, and for the first time the restaurants in the countryside were listed. The best 10 rural restaurants have been published in three small villages in Tokaj-Hegyalja, Mád.

Working by international standards, Gault & Millau has chosen one of the restaurants of the Year, which in 2017 became the Gusteau Culinary Experience Workshop. With this award, they are always rewarded with a multi-year, long job.
Based on all this, we rightly state that Mád has not only been placed on the gastronomic map of Hungary, but also occupies a strong place for the existence of a small village there. The gastronomy of Mád is well perceptible.

We talked about this with Attila Czetner at the Percze Experience Center, with Gábor Horváth at the Gusteau Culinary Experience Workshop and László Csécsei with the chef at the First Mád Wine House.

What is Mád’s gastronomy like today?

C. A .: Very strong and very evolving. I think that today in Hungary Mád has become both gastronomically and winemakable unavoidable.
 I first visited here with the Eger Reformed Chef Club ten years ago and I immediately fell in love with this small country because I saw huge opportunities in it.
Life has brought me to work here for a few years. Here in Percze we take a bistro kitchen based on local ingredients and Szepsy wines. We also make traditional dishes with rethinking many times, but we also dare to use new flavor combinations. Our menu is largely determined by seasonal dishes

What makes the kitchen of Mád, Tokaj-Hegyalja special? What can you build from?

H. G .: The most important thing is good raw material, which is slowly starting to show up in our area as well. The most important law of good cuisine is to cook good food from good ingredients and fair procedures. Slowly, cheese-making workshops in our area began to appear and the European cheeses we know from many places began to be made.
And they are getting better! We don't even have to make the “zsendice” ourselves. We have our own products, we preserve vegetables and fruits. We produce what we can ourselves. Goats and spices. They are able to display the landscape, the characteristics of the place of production, and at the same time the intentions with which we take our kitchen.
We not only produce spices in the restaurant’s garden, but we also sour the white flesh of the unripe melon. We smoke the fish, we fry it out, we pick it up, we cook it. Without them, Gusteau's kitchen would not exist.
Cs. L .: We almost always have fish from the Tisza. It can be a catfish or a carp or a little crucian, it depends on what we can get and what we get. Fresh fish is on the menu as a daily fish. Goat meat is a local and popular ingredient. Last week was a goat curry with flame and vegetables.
We cooked a good rich curry sauce from the bones, the thighs and shoulders were rolled up, confined and it was steamed in the curry sauce. We added vegetables, which also come from the area, from an organic farm. From here we get most of the vegetables.
C. A .: Last year, in the starting year, we processed 40 goats in Percze. I really like to use it, because when the animal is freshly slaughtered - its meat is not so tenderness yet - we start making it right away. We consume the liver, we consume the bones, we fry very fine fat out of it, we make stew, we fry it together and we make a hamburger, for example, which was a great success.
Cs. L .: Beef comes to us from the area, Megyaszó, and we also buy mangalica from there. Several parts are on the menu. Now the chops, but other times the mangalica liver is what we make. Mangalica can be found on the menu and on the board offer, always in some form

What kind of role does Mád wine play in the development of local cuisine? What makes it special that Mád produce exclusively white wines?

H. G .: The Gusteau and its kitchen were created by wine! We have become so that more and more wines from St. Thomas Winery can be tasted under fair conditions. In the beginning, we didn’t even operate as a restaurant in the classic sense of the word, but we only occasionally cooked meals that matched the wines.
With us, it is natural that we immediately taste a new dish with our best wines and select the item that we will be offering at the table when it is added to the menu. We are also constantly looking for opportunities to make our wines an integral part of our catches. We cook not only for wines, but also with wines!
C. A .: I use a lot of wine, I will tell you honestly. My luck is that we work with special quality wines. I use wine for pickling in the same way I use it to finish a dessert. I boil alcohol, I reduce it, and I can work with these nicely.
If someone comes to me in the kitchen, he’ll find at least four bottles of wine open. I’m working on this, and it can be such a plus that we’re not just talking about it, we’re also using it in the kitchen.

Cs. L .: We try to use not only wine but also grapes. For example, we will have a dish of stuffed grape leaves that will be on the menu shortly. We will fill the leaves of furmint, pickle it and it will appear in several places. We are planning a chutney made from wine grapes for the autumn menu and there will be a grape seed flour brioche next to it. We will try to give grapes and wine as much emphasis as possible.
C.A .: We can take the food with this seasoning with spice, because Mád wine can handle these oriental spices very well. I can say that smuggling a cumin with a citrus flavor into the food is something that can go well with furmints.
H. G .: Wine does a lot for our kitchen! If we use finer ingredients in the preparation of a traditional, so-called Hungarian dish made with fat, if we offset the fat content with a little acidity, the food will be fresher! If you get the acidity not from a coarse vinegar but from a ripe, good quality lemon, the internal structure will be different immediately.
The guest does not need to know the texture of the meat and vegetables. It’s enough for him to know if he tastes it or not. But if we pay more attention to the ingredients used, our seasoning spices, to cook a vegetable only as long as it retains its freshness, the guest will also like it better.
Just as a beautiful, well-drinking furmint can be said to be GOOD, let’s say it to a meat, a fried vegetable that way in this environment, on this plate, it’s GOOD!

So is there a local cuisine in Mád, Tokaj-Hegyalja?

H. G.: Yes, because we, and many others, cook here, we host those who visit here because of the wines or in the footsteps of history. In doing so, we use more and more local ingredients, we produce more and more ingredients for our catches. They display the landscape and that the knowledge and experience of the people here is on all our plates.
We get more and more inspiration from Mád wine. This wine directly shapes the taste and shape of our food. By looking for the best ingredients and spices for the wines, that the wine is in the pot, Tokaj is now developing the gastronomic dialect that once long ago existed already, but has been swept away by stormy centuries. Now we are learning, we are building, because we know that the Mád kitchen is the way it will be!


Updated: 2022.02.14.

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