Pálinka is a national treasure and a national drink, and is becoming increasingly sought-after both at home and abroad, Minister for Rural Development Sándor Fazekas declared in Budapest on Monday.

Mr. Fazekas was presenting the Book of Pálinka Excellence - compiled according to the results of the National Pálinka Tasting competition - together with Ministerial Commissioner for the renewal of the Hungarian wine sector Eliza Kiss.

Photo: Press Office of the Ministry of Rural Development

The publication showcases the Hungarian pálinkas - fruit and grape marc distillates - that the jury chose from the products entered into the national tasting competition. Two thirds of Hungary's commercial distilleries and pálinka houses entered a total of 171 products. The professional jury awarded 83 pálinkas produced by 50 distilleries the title of excellent pálinkas.

In his welcome speech, Mr. Fazekas stressed that the National Pálinka Tasting competition increases public awareness of the excellent quality fruit and grape marc pálinkas available in Hungary. The event attracted great interest and the majority of commercial distilleries and pálinka houses took part in the competition.

Eliza Kiss spoke among others about the fact that pálinka is a Hungaricum and part of the Hungarian identity. She cited pálinka as an example of how market-viable Hungaricums can also play a role in boosting the economy within certain areas. Well used and applied traditions can strengthen the future and enterprises. The publication is also important because it showcases the most excellent Hungarian pálinkas. The Book of Pálinka Excellence, which is a free publication, has been printed in 4000 Hungarian language and 2000 English language copies.

At the event, Minister for Rural Development Sándor Fazekas presented awards to the producers of the pálinkas that have been included in the Book of Pálinka Excellence.