The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2018

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Page 38 of 124

38  /  the tasting panel An Intro to Tokaj One of Hungary's most well-known wines, Tokaji Aszú, hails from the Tokaj region. During harvest, the aszú (the Hungarian word for botrytized grapes, or those affected by noble rot) berries are collected one by one before they're soaked in fermenting wine for one to two days. After pressing, the wine is fermented and aged for at least three years. Those who sip this nectar for the first time may be inclined to agree that the greatest inventions of all can be found in the natural world. TRAVELING EXPLORING THE INGENIOUS INVENTIONS THAT HAIL FROM HUNGARY by Izzy Watson History Makers P ens, matches, seltzer water, Rubik's cubes, computers, vitamin C—they're things we frequently use in our everyday lives that make us healthier or more efficient, entertained, and informed. But they have another thing in common, as well: These items can all trace their origin or part of their lineage to Hungary, the home of many creative minds and inventors throughout history. Join The Tasting Panel on a time-hop through the decades as we explore inven- tions with Hungarian roots! 1938 Not long after Hungarian László József Bíró patented the indispensable ballpoint pen in 1938, prolific mathematician John von Neumann pioneered early con- cepts of computing, including improved methods of memory and program storage. These breakthroughs helped pave the way for modern computers. 1826 In Hungary, one of the most popular beverages in summer is fröccs, which blends white or rosé wine with soda water. While the drink is replicated in many countries today, the first version surfaced in Budapest, where seltzer water was also invented by Ányos Jedlik in 1826. The story goes that dur- ing a wine tasting, Jedlik prepared his favorite beverage and called it a "spritzer," but his friend Mihály Vörösmarty—a great Hungarian novelist and veritable patriot— didn't like the German moniker and gave it a much more Hungarian- sounding denomination. 1974 While drinking fröccs on a summer afternoon at the shores of Lake Balaton, you can tinker with a Rubik's cube or Magic cube, developed by Hungarian inventor Erno " Rubik in 1974. But if you prefer to solve your puzzles by candlelight, you're welcome to do so thanks to the contributions of János Irinyi, a native of the former Hungarian town Albis (now part of Romania) who invented the safety match in the 1800s. 1937 Hungary's most vital contribution to the nutritional realm may very well be the discovery of vitamin C—which earned well-known Hungarian scientist Albert Szent- Györgyi a Nobel Prize in 1937—but Hungary's most ingenious gastro- nomic innovations have perhaps been those related to winemaking. 1838 This year we celebrate what would be the 180th birthday of famous grape breeder János Mathiász, known as the savior of the vineyards and wineries of the Tokaj wine region after it was struck by a phylloxera epidemic. The historic wine region of Tokaj has been under protec- tion since 1737, when a royal decree declared the area to be a closed wine region: the first of its kind.

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