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The Good Life in Aggtelek National Park Part 124: Annual Visits to ANPI Certified Producers II.

fruktarium trizsDuring the low season at the national park we make our annual visits to the ANP certified producers. We began in the Zemplén a couple weeks ago. This week we met with producers in Trizs, Gömörszőllős, Putnok and Sajókaza, beginning in Trizs at the Fruktárium Guest House. The Fruktárium was one of the first four ANP certified producers, winning in both the rural accommodation and pálinka categories. A few years later, they expanded their product range and won certification for their homemade jams as well.fodor kata horsehair jewellery

In Gömörszőllős, we met with Kata Fodor who creates jewellery from horse hair. The horse hair is collected from ANP's own herd of hucul horses. She has had a very good year for her products, some of which are on exhibition in the Ózd Library. In 2019 she plans on collaborating with a woman who makes beaded jewellery and will integrate beads into her own works. In the meantime, she also works at the village's wool workshop (06-48-435-017, run by the local authority. The shredders, pullers and massive carder are museum pieces but still in use. The village makes duvets, pillows and children's sleeping bags stuffed with wool rather than goose down. A single-person duvet is about 20.000 HUF. We would have been pleased to certify the wool products as well, but unfortunately the wool is imported. Kata explained that it is next to impossible to obtain washed Hungarian wool, and the process uses a huge amount of water. wool  carderWool used to be washed by leaving it in a running stream, but the residues have been classified as hazardous waste for some reason and this is now illegal. This is probably how the Golden Fleece originated, by picking up specks of gold from the river while washing the wool. Neither Kata nor my colleague Péter had ever heard of Jason or the Golden Fleece. What are kids learning these days?!

In Putnok, we met with the Gömör Folk College Association (Tel: 06-20-479-2226,, founded in 1992 to promote the region's traditional folk decorative arts. The Association won certification for its bobbin lace and knot embroidery. Gömör Bobbin Lace is bobbin lacea technique that came to Hungary from Germany via miners' wives that migrated to the highlands in the 15th and 16th centuries. Gömör Knot Embroidery is one of the oldest and almost forgotten historical embroidery techniques of the Gömör Region. This knot embroidery utilises goldwork embroidery patterns. However, the technique does not create the traditional smooth, flat stitches, but rather tiny knots which appear optically to loop through each other or stack next to each other like rows beads. They are currently working with fashion designers to bring the crafts to the attention of a wider audience and make the creations more accessible.

toth aranka honeyIn Sajókaza we met Aranka Tóth and her husband Attila in person for the first time, having just won certification last year. We took a walk to visit the hives not far behind the house. They care for 250 families at the moment in both horizontal and vertically stacked hives. Their Sajó Valley wildflower honey (3000 HUF/kg) is ANP certified. Pollen sources may include sage, linden, lavender, viper bugloss, sweet clover, hemp, dill, tree of heaven, cornflower and thistle; all of which have medicinal properties. However, it should not be confused with mixed flower honey which contains pollen from crop plants such as sunflower, squash and radish. They also have a wide range of other honeys that are not made on toth aranka honeyNatura2000 land, such as black locust (2000 HUF/kg), sunflower (1500 HUF/kg), lavender (3000 HUF/kg), mint, lemongrass and cinnamon. We were treated to some palinka made with elderflower infused honey, homemade red wine and Rizskoch (Hungarian Rice Cake) topped with homemade strawberry jam. Attila then insisted I try the pear and peach pálinkas as well. All was delicious. A quick coffee, and then we were off to our last stop, also in Sajókaza.

Both Katalin H. Petkovics individually and her Praktika Association (Tel: 06-70-374-0333,

won certification for several of their handicrafts, including:

praktika         Gömör knot-embroidery motifs and techniques;

-          Cross stitched Palóc and Tiszavidék motifs;

-          Quilted tapestries with Tiszavidéki motifs;

-          Embroidered, Páloc bird motif textile boxes;

-          Potholders and bags decorated with folk motifs made with recycled denim; and

-          Tapestries based on apron material.

We went across from the Cultural House to one of the Radvánszky Manors in the region. The inside space has been nicely renovated, and many Praktika items are exhibited here. There is also a nice library.