Hankovszky Apricot

Ark of taste
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Apricots are one of the most precious and versatile fruits in Hungarian gastronomy. The Hankovszky apricot was once widespread throughout the plains of southern Hungary, and is associated in particular with Kiskunfélegyháza, near Kecskemét. Kecskemét is known as the orchard of Hungary because its sand and loess soils are excellent for fruit tree cultivation. Abundant sunshine and cool nights contribute to the quality and distinctiveness of fruit grown in the region.

The Hankovszky apricot was grown across Central Europe between the 18th and 19th centuries, and a dictionary of pomology referred to it as “the best Hungarian apricot.” The apricot trees are usually 4-8 meters tall. The white and pink flowers appear in the spring, before the oval-shaped leaves come out. The apricots ripen in the middle of July and are medium-sized. They are very juicy with slightly firm flesh and a sweet taste.

Hankovszky apricots are frequently turned into apricot jam. Traditionally, grandmothers would stir the chopped fruit for hours in a cauldron until a thick mixture was obtained. The jam is eaten with freshly baked bread and used in various desserts. Apricots are also used also to make pálinka, a traditional fruit brandy. Pálinka made from Hankovszky apricots has a long history in Kecskemét. During the era of Géza II, in the 12th century, brandy was made with byproducts of winemaking and the local distillery stood in Kecskemét’s market square.

The Hankovszky apricot is no longer widely grown—mainy of the remaining trees are in collections of rare varieties. It needs to be protected because it is well adapted to the landscape and climate of the area around Kecskemét, and has a strong link to the region’s history and gastronomy.

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Production area:Kiskunfélegyháza

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Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves

Nominated by:Tünde Puskás, Csaba Hajagos