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When we first set eyes on the magical Páskom Cottage of Lajoskomárom, we couldn't help but think it looked either like a Windows desktop image or the Shire from The Lord of the Rings. The entire village exudes such idyllic vibes that you almost expect to spot the pointy hat of Gandalf or hear the whispering of Sauron wherever you go.
This is where Mihály Mosberger established Páskom Cottage, a guesthouse so unique it’s hard to categorize based on the usual notions of tourism. However, it’s not unique in a modern way: fitting nicely into the architecture of the area, Páskom is a building complex with three units on the edge of the village, opposite the wine cellars. It is a place for those who wish to retreat from the bustle of the world and recharge their batteries.
During our recent visit, the owner confirmed that the cottage has been designed to be a peaceful haven: Páskom is not pet or child friendly, but there’s no ulterior motive to offend anyone. The aim is to create an environment that’s as peaceful and quiet as can be, and that is absolutely the case: the only noise you can occasionally hear is the croaking of amorous frogs and the chugging sound of a tractor on its way to the vineyard. If crying babies and howling hounds are not your thing, you’ll feel right at home at Páskom.
Mihály Mosberger told us that for the past 18 years he’s operated the village restaurant named Eresz (which was the first building of the village, founded in the early 19th century), and he later launched Mosberger Cellar Restaurant. Eventually, he decided that it was time to cater to the needs of guests arriving from outside the tiny settlement not only with the restaurants, but also with proper lodgings. “I’ve never done things in the traditional order,” he says about his ars poetica. He loves his village, and he thinks that Páskom is part of the landscape; you can’t even find a fence around the estate.
The field where Páskom is located today used to be completely flat ploughland, parts of which were filled up with soil; that’s how the current undulating landscape and the fish pond were created. Mihály Mosberger wanted to establish a guesthouse of the highest possible quality, so he had everything custom made from the tiles and the sinks to the painted ornaments. The outer walls of the dining room have been substituted with sliding glass doors, while the well-lit central wall features a vibrant painting by local artist Etelka Meixner.
“If we offer accommodation, we have to incorporate a gastro element as well,” says Mihály Mosberger, who harmonizes the cuisine with the above philosophy. He thinks that even though it’s common in the tourism and catering industry, it’s also completely unnecessary to point out if someone uses local ingredients; he, too, buys his supplies from local producers. There’s no menu; the available dishes are listed on a chalkboard on the wall, and what makes it all so charming is that local residents also stop by from time to time to “grab a bite”.
Our meal, costing an average of 2,000 forints, was also quite enjoyable: we tried the chicken steak with ramson tagliatelle and slow-cooked duck thigh with potato wedges, bacon bits, and red cabbage cream. We would have preferred the cabbages to be shredded instead of the cream version, but the dishes were impeccable both in terms of quality and quantity, and the service was quick and friendly.
Mihály Mosberger has an unusual hobby, the lawn: even the best football pitches in the country are no match for his beautifully manicured garden. A lot of work has gone into it, but it’s clear that it’s something he’s really passionate about. “When I’m sitting on my lawn tractor, I can relax completely,” he says. A lawn like this requires professional irrigation, mowing three to four times a week, and a constant supply of nutrients. The wonderful grass is not everything, of course; the garden also has lots of colorful flowers, bushes, and trees, and there’s a small orchard as well as a tiny herb garden. Guests don’t have to keep off the grass: if they wish to play football, the owners can even set up a pair of football goals behind the wellness cottage.
There are three buildings on the estate. The biggest houses the reception area, the restaurant, and four apartments with two rooms each. In the second building you can find several rooms and a small conference hall, while the third one is the above-mentioned wellness cottage with a massage chair, a sauna, a shower with a wooden tub, and a dipping pool out front. There’s also a bigger swimming pool, and a koi pond with fish and frogs. Adding a jacuzzi is among the future plans as well, but Páskom can’t compete with the wellness services of big hotels, nor does it want to.
The establishment is very popular: it’ll be featured on the gastro map of the south shore, which is currently in the works, and it attracts not only Hungarian visitors, but also tourists from abroad. Not too long ago, an American couple in their sixties stopped here on their bicycle tour around Europe. Páskom Cottage can host everything from team building events and weddings to tame bachelor parties, which take place at the wine cellar across the street, where they offer Paskom’s very own wines.
Those who are eager to explore the surrounding area or do some exercise will also find what they’re looking for: Lajoskomárom has a regular and an artificial turf field for football fans, Nordic walking trails, several smaller lakes, a study trail, a fitness park, wine cellars on Fülöp Hill, and a cellar festival held on August 27. In nearby Dég you can check out the imposing castle of the Festetics family, or the castle of Pipo of Ozora. While we’re on the subject of Ozora: all the rooms at Páskom have been booked for the duration of the festival, with guests arriving from neighboring countries and all over Europe.