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The Good Life in Aggtelek National Park Part 117: Boldva Pumpkin Seed Oil Manufaktura and Small Fork

pumpkin seed oil boldvaSeveral months ago racing for a train connection in Miskolc I bumped into Viktória Bencze Lengyelné, director of the Borsod-Torno-Gömör Association (BTGE). Based in Edelény, besides working on Leader tenders, the association has its own certified products and producers, some of which overlap with Aggtelek National Park's and some that do not. As we chatted on the train, she mentioned that they had recently certified a local producer of pumpkin seed oil. I take a teaspoon, or tablespoon of this every morning, and it is ridiculously expensive in shops. Unexplainably so, since it is more expensive than imported high-quality oilve oil, yet a local product.  So, I was interested in what they had to offer, but it was not until I accidentally knocked over an almost-full glass bottle of pumpkin seed oil that exploded all over the kitchen, and which continues to leak from under the cabinets, that we made a stop on the way back from Miskolc. Luckily, I had written down a phone number because the manufacturing plant was closed. They have a small shop closer to the centre of town behind the church in what is known as the Baratok Háza (House of house of friends boldvaFriends). This is just one stop along some long-ago and mostly forgotten project that created the História-völgy (History Valley) that was managed for about a year and then let to whither. This is unfortunate, since there are many interesting stops, such as the Amerikás Ház in Szendrő, L'Huillier-Coburg Palace in Edelény, Medieval Calvinist Church and fresco in Szalonna, the Largest Book in the World and Guttenberg Exhibit in Szinpetri and others. Our friends at the Irota Ecolodge made a point of visiting all the places on the trail and translating the information into several languages on their website.

We were welcomed by 2 friendly women who were waiting outside for us and waving us in. Not only is pumpkin seed oil for sale, but also hulless pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed flour for those with a gluten allergy, dried herbs and honey. A small cafe for coffee also operates on the premises. After making my purchase of oil, we looked through the building and its several display areas, including one from a local doll maker, very nice ceramics and glassware from manager János Kabderon and his wife, and an audio-visual installation about the Funeral Sermon discovered in 1770. It is the first known example of continuous prose text in Hungarian, and was actually unearthed in Boldva by fortuitously named Brother Pray. It is now contained in the so-called, "Pray Codex." Other widely used sermons for the dead were written much later by popular Hungarian writers Sándor Marai and Dezső Kosztolányi. The Pray version was played for us, as recorded by László Helyey, an actor whose voice is famous as the voice of King Matthias in the animated Hungarian Folk Tales (but also for Gérard Depardieu and Donald Sutherland). Outside, there is a beautiful stucco stove and small amphitheatre. The House of Friends is one of the main sites in Boldva during the annual Curdled Milk (clabber) Festival every summer.

kis villa biatorbagyIn Budapest we finally made the pilgrimage to a place Kata has wanted to visit for ages, Kisvilla in Biatorbágy. The wife of her former boss at hearing aid manufacturer Amplifon runs the cafe. I understood the name to mean "small villa," but it should be read as "small fork." Kata had a krémes and a fresh lilac cordial, while I went for a slice of baked chocolate cheese cake and a ginger cordial. All were fresh and tasty. Besides the pastries and cakes, there are also sandwiches and other edibles available, as well as beer and wine. The grounds are ideal for small birthday parties or weddings, and the inside is stylishly decorated with old restored furniture. A small room is full of amazing jewellery, knick-knacks and works of art from various Hungarian designers that kis villa biatorbagyhad us consistently ooing and aahing. Across the road, conveniently located, is the Guri Brewery homebrew shop with 12 different beers on tap from Jászápati. Prices are about double what we pay in Diosgyőr, but there is a world of difference in salaries between the two markets. We sampled a drop of Red Ale, tasty, but I thought too bitter as a gift since we did not know our friend's taste in beer. We bought Balázs a Thomas Meiner 1701 English ale, while I went for the Banana Joe (no bananas included) unfiltered wheat beer and Kata chose the German-style mélange dark beer to take home. We liked them all. There was also a vanilla dark beer, Indian Pale Ale and American Pale among the offerings that we will have to try next time. Service was patient, friendly and knowledgeable.