This year’s Balaton Beach Food of the Year contest was an exciting one, with outstanding entrants. The leavened cucumber soup by Tiki Beach won the top prize, but with so many excellent dishes participating, the second and third places also got an award. Keszthely’s Pinyó was named Discovery of the Year.
Balatoni KÖR and We Love Balaton organised the Balaton Beach Food of the Year contest for the fifth time of asking, looking for lakeside buffets offering new-wave beach food beyond the traditional offerings. All tolled, 16 dishes participated, most from the south shore. After thorough tastings and consideration, these dishes and venues received recognition by the judges:
Balaton Beach Food of the Year 2019
1. Leavened cucumber soup – Tiki Beach Bistro, Zamárdi
2. Brisket ciabatta – Port Burger, Balatonmáriafürdő
3. Tex-Mex salad – Málna Buffet, Balatonlelle
Discovery of the Year
Pinyó – Több mint Büfé, Keszthely
The leavened cucumber soup by Tiki Beach (1,490 HUF) is a great dish: it’s always a good idea to have a bowl of cold soup on a hot day, especially on the beach, and this one contains smoked salmon strips, rocket and various sprouts besides the leavened cucumber bits. The puréed soup is cold and refreshing, with just a soupçon of sour. You can even see the cucumbers used in the soup on display in the big jars in which they are pickled. Tiki Beach also has an outstanding dessert, egg barley pudding, served with fig jam in a cup, which is an innovative take on a revered Hungarian treat.
The Angus beef brisket is smoked in a Green Egg kamado stove for hours, then the slices are put in a ciabatta along with cheddar and mustard sauce. The dish is light, easy to take away and very tasty, with a price tag of 1,690 HUF.
The dish presented by the Málna Buffet, despite its name, isn’t really Mexican: it mixes fresh salad with pickled vegetables, served with grilled chicken strips, bacon, corn and raspberries, topped with a homemade dressing of 15-20 ingredients. It’s a healthy and light beach food option that's also delicious. It costs 1,950 HUF.
A young couple is renovating this buffet in Keszthely that they inherited from their grandfather. Their menu is concise, featuring traditional dishes of a quality that stands out. The three they entered for the competition were the meat-filled savoury crêpe Hortobágyi palacsinta (1,890 HUF), the summery vegetable stew available in three variations (1,590 HUF) and the berry soup (1,290 HUF). The couple’s enthusiasm and attitude won them the Discovery of the Year award.
It looks like the south shore is quickly catching up with the north when it comes to gastronomy. More and more restaurants are rising to the level of Kistücsök, and there are many quality beach buffets, too. Balatonlelle is a good example: Málna Buffet and, five minutes away, Villa Strandbistro, another finalist.
The jury included two previous winners, Nikolett Nagy-Golyán (Kalóz Strandbisztró) and Dániel Bezerics (Paletta), as well as three journalists: managing editor of Magyar Konyha Noémi Sümegi, culinary journalist of Street Kitchen Györgyi Kalas, and László Tucsni, chief editor of We Love Balaton. The sixth member of the jury was Gábor Kardos, spokesman for Balatoni Kör.
Their decisions were made based on the following criteria:
List of former winners:
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