With its rural villages, atmospheric cellars and sweet golden wines, this northeastern corner of Hungary is a hidden gem, waiting to be explored. Caroline Gilby MW shares her highlights...
My perfect day in Tokaj
Relax in the spa before breakfast at the Andrássy Rezidencia Wine & Spa in Tarcal. Go for a stroll and take the short but steep climb to the Blessing Jesus statue for stunning views over the Tokaj landscape; 15 minutes more will take you down to the peaceful, emerald-coloured Bányató quarry lake. On the way back, stop at Tokaj-Kikelet to taste Stéphanie Berecz’s gorgeously refined wines and don’t miss the vineyard selections of Hárslevelu and pristine Szamorodni. Call beforehand to arrange your visit (+36 30 636 9046).
Head to Mád village (about 15 minutes by car) and stop midway for coffee at Sárga Borház and a short visit to Disznóko’s stunning vineyards and winery. Have a light lunch at Elso Mádi Borház és Bisztró located at the entrance to Mád itself, where you can also taste a good range of wines from the Szent Tamás winery and pick up a t-shirt as a souvenir. Then head for a visit to the Holdvölgy experience with its contemporary winery and the longest cellar network in the village. Here you can taste a line-up of luscious, single-vineyard aszú and see tunnels lined with the cushiony velvet of the famous wine cellar fungus. Call ahead (+36 30 925 1808) and arrange for Mád’s stunning 18th-century synagogue to be opened, which is one of the most beautiful in Hungary.
At the end of the day, linger over dinner at Gusteau which has taken food in the region to new culinary heights. Modern interpretations of local flavours are accompanied by an excellent selection of Tokaji wines.