Hungary has found yet another way to show that its long friendship with China is rooted in a common history from a thousand years ago. This nation which came from Asia to settle down in the middle of Europe in the 9th century, has always excelled in winemaking. Its national wines, the Tokaji Aszú and the Bull’s Blood are appreciated among the best wines of European wine culture, yet they are something totally different and unique. For example, the pair perfectly with Chinese dishes. And to the wonder of Chinese wine and food experts, they even enhance the culinary experience.
The setup is familiar, fine dining restaurant, representatives of the Embassy, selected wine professionals and imported wines. However, here at this banquet of the Hungarian Federation of Winecraftsmen, the emphasis is not on branding, and nobody is pushing a product to sell. We are here to experience how certain wines make certain foods taste even better. Or in some cases, how the right food and wine pairings deliver a completely new culinary experience.
In Chinese food culture, we have a long history of preparing food with wine, but at the table, baijiu and beer is usually used to wash away the taste and get our mouth ready for a new bite from something different. In Europe however, centuries of developing different grape varieties and different blends of different grape wines brought along a new playground: the pairing of different dishes with different wines to achieve new wonders for the taste buds.
Many of us have been drinking nicely bottled expensive wines from prestigious French or Italian wineries for decades now. It was a trend to leave the baijiu and the beer behind and show how classy we are. Still, not many of us really enjoyed these dinners or even got the stomach upset and a bad hangover the next day. I guess, we would also not expect any waiguoren to marvel at a 50 year old Maotai paired with a Belgian chocolate cake, or to enjoy a high quality Shaoxing rice wine with a blue cheese hamburger. Some things just do not match.
But why are most of the imported wines not matching our food? Well, they were developed over the centuries to pair with a cuisine very different from ours. And here is the thing with Hungary; their food culture is a real fusion of the east and the west and their wines were made to please people of a nation coming from Asia. Make no mistake, Hungarian wines are integral part of the “old world wine culture”. They are served from New York to Tokio along the best French, Spanish and Italian wines. A Hungarian winery was just awarded “Best fine wine producer in Europe” last week. But maybe they are so beloved because of how different they are.
Anyway, I had the chance to taste a selection of representative Hungarian wines with the best dishes of Guangzhou cuisine, and I am sure, that I will show this experience to my friends too. If you want to see what happened at the dinner and how the wine was paired, please follow the Douyin account of the Hungarian Federation of Winecraftsmen here: …..
And if you want to try something new and amazing, get a few bottles of Hungarian wine and invite your friends for dinner at your favorite local restaurant.