In search of the elusive paprika.

The castle we’re staying at is lovely. It was built at the beginning of last century and has been a hotel for the last four years.
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The interior is very impossing, including our room. Full of carved wooden furniture, a bit heavy for an ordinary house but very in keeping with the castle. I particularly like the staircase.
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There is a carved dragon at the bottom of the stairs on each floor. I know they’re only made of wood but they still look pretty scary, today I got up the courage to climb one of them.
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Today we were going to finish off the shopping and then perhaps do some sketching or John has found out about some Roman ruins. So off we went to the nearest Tesco, it had only been open for a short while, so it had a sort of unfinished look about it, it certainly didn’t seem well stocked. We were after paprika. We have a Hungarian friend, Johnny Pusztai, who is a butcher back home and makes excellent kolbasz, but he can’t get proper Hungarian paprika in any quantity back home. So we promised him that we’d take him 10 kg or so. There was no way the Tesco could supply that. So we set off to another Tesco. It was better and we managed most of our shopping, but still no paprika.
Maria then suggested rather than going from Tesco to Tesco we go to Kalocsa, one of the two paprika areas of Hungary and try there. A good suggestion, there was a Paprika House, where we found out more about the production of paprika than I for one ever wanted to know. We also found out why home produced paprika made in the traditional manner is much better than the mass produced stuff in the shops. We were told of a source for the home produced paprika. Having acquired 12 1/2 kilos of it and stopping only for a quiet sit down and cake, and a look at a rather nice memorial fountain to the women of 1956, we headed back to the castle.
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We were booked in for a wine tasting at the castle at 6pm, so we had to give the sketching and Roman ruins a miss. The cellar was only about 150m from the castle, but mostly vertically. Maria was very good about not moaning too much and the view was excellent.
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There are extensive vineyards and orchards, and the castle makes its own wine and palinka.
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We got to taste a selection of both with a very knowledgeable chap called Molnár Ferenc. He is obviously very enthusiastic about the subject and made it all very interesting.
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Tomorrow morning before we leave he is opening the wine shop for us so we can buy some. Where we are going to put it I don’t know.

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