The Paprika Project is back.

The Paprika Project is back.

Last summer I stopped writing. I stopped taking photos, exploring Hungary and sharing it with the world. I stopped creating. These things happen. Last summer was a season of sweat and concrete. Literally wheel barrow loads full of both. I became well acquainted with my father-in-law’s ‘furik’ or depending where you’re from, ‘talicska’.

Tokaj Classic: Sweet Symphonies from Mád

Tokaj Classic: Sweet Symphonies from Mád

It was the end of May and the weather was perfect. Bright, warm and sunny. A slight breeze, blue skies and a kaleidoscope of flowers at every glance. My dad was along for his first Tokaj wine tasting. “All these plants along the roadside,” he said. “They’re so familiar, they remind me of my childhood in Ireland.” It was mid-afternoon and we sped past fields of red poppies and over the Sajo and Hernad, rivers fattened by recent rains.

The Essence of Tokaj: best when shared

The Essence of Tokaj: best when shared

Last year’s visit to the Füleky Winery was eye opening. You could say it was the full Tokaj experience: cruising down the Bodrog River, strolling down Tokaj Hill’s sea of vines, cooling off in a cellar and having an outdoor wine dinner. In fact, my nearly exclusive relationship with red wine ended with that visit; whites grace my shelves now, too.

Postcard From Hungary: Csopak

Postcard From Hungary: Csopak

Dramatically set on the north shore of Lake Balaton in Veszprém county, Csopak is famous for its wine and beachfront. On a scorching June day, Anita and I wandered the town along narrow roads.

HOLDVÖLGY: FINDING BALANCE IN HUNGARY’S MYSTICAL TOKAJ WINE REGION

HOLDVÖLGY: FINDING BALANCE IN HUNGARY’S MYSTICAL TOKAJ WINE REGION

With the flick of a switch, a world of stainless steel, glass and concrete appeared. My wife Anita and I had just entered the low profile structure with Tamás Gincsai, winemaker for Holdvölgy. It was a soggy February morning in Mád, a village in north east Hungary’s famed Tokaj Wine Region. Now illuminated, I noticed the almost surgical construction of the room.