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Rétes – Strudel festivals

14. 8. 2014




Bakers (baker, white-baker, black-baker, milk-loaf-baker, pretzel-baker), Rest Days and Celebrations, Flour-based dishes - other

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“Rétes” (strudel) festivals are organised in a number of settlements in Hungary every year. Strudel is a traditional dish not only in Hungary, but in several countries of Central Europe. At these festivals or competitions, it is prepared by locals, following the traditional local recipe. (Source: Eszter Kisbán: Continuity and Change: The Choice of Food for Gastro-Festival around the Turn of the Millennium. In Patricia Lysaght ed.: Return of Traditional Food. Lund, 2013. 198.)

Locality Kondorfa (Vas County), Vasvár (Vas County), Székesfehérvár (Fejér County), Dabas (Pest County), Mesztegnyő (Somogy County), Mórahalom (Csongrád County), Újszentiván (Csongrád County), Tápióság (Pest County), Besenyőtelek (Heves County)
Time Different in each place, during the summer
History (cyclicality) Organised annually since the mid-1990s
Organizer Local government
Realisation team Local women
Target group LSome of the events are called a festival but others refer to themselves simply as competitions for the preparation of particular dishes. The events attract visitors mainly from their immediate vicinity and they are advertised in their own county.
Traditional culture elements A customary local dish (dessert) known as “rétes” is chosen for the competition. It is made mainly by women both at home and at the competition.
Ethnographic criterion The dish in this context itself appears as a symbol of the past, removed from everyday practice it becomes a symbol of the common history that can be experienced and interpreted by anyone, intended primarily as a message to the people outside the community.
Environmental criterion Local dishes have become as much an attraction as the landscape or cultural values: there are cases where people visit a place specifically for the local specialities that can only be tasted there.
Cultural-historical criterion
The events can be seen in the context of new gastro-festivals that have been supported since the mid-1990s, by an ambitious national programme for the development of tourism. This group of festivals held in small settlements is a type of event without precedent in Hungary. Their number rose to a hundred in two decades.
Aesthetic criterion N/A
Ethical criterion There is no ethical problem
Psychological criterion Following the change of political system in Hungary at the end of the 20th century local communities created a series of events aimed at strengthening their identity, using elements of the common past to build up a feeling of belonging together.

Photos from MTI (Hungarian Press Agency)

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