The fifth stop in making our video series was the Gemenc forest and its area, where we explored Bogyiszló, Szekszárd and Szálka located at the mouth of the Sió canal on the hills and slopes of the Transdanubian region, and then met a wild boar family and red deer in the Gemenc forest. In the meantime, we also got a taste of the cuisine of the area, starting with a real Fisherman Soup a la Baja, and continuing with many wild game meat and fish dishes, just to finish it all off with the heavenly wines of the region. Gemenc and its area absolutely deserve a few days of our time, and now we would like to give a few tips and ideas to make sure you know what to do when you’re around.
Heimann Family Estate
The ancient wine press-house of the Heimann family lies in the city of Szekszárd, on top of Iván valley, with twenty hectares of vineyard behind it. The Heimann Family Estate dates back to the first mention of the Heimanns’ in Szekszárd, to 1758. Today, grape and wine production is led by the tenth generation, represented by Zoltán Heimann Jr., reflecting the family’s commitment and passion towards winemaking vividly. Sitting on the porch in front of the wine-press house – after booking in advance, of course – you can admire the Gemenc forest and the hills of the Transdanubian region.
The single-nave Chapel of Mausz, qualifying as an iconic building of the area stands between the vineyards of Decs, near Szálka. The small chapel was built in 1891 in historicist style, by Michael and Anna Mayer living in Szálka, and was named after the tradition of Emmaus associated with Easter. The chapel standing abandoned and deserted by the end of the twentieth century was renovated in 1993: this is when it received its sky-blue coat of paint, making it an integral part of the panorama over Sárköz, fringed by the distant strip of the Danube.
Fish pond in Szálka
The fish pond in Szálka with multiple names is located in the southern part of the Hills of Szekszárd, in Szálka, and is a popular spot for fishermen, hikers and those looking to enjoy a day near water, too. The shore of the artificial water reservoir situated in the town with a spectacular location deepens gradually and has a very clear water, and so it’s no coincidence it’s full of life during the summer season: the waterfront gives home to sports fields and playgrounds, and there is also paddleboat, kayak and boat rental available.
Bóni-fok (Bóni Cape)
Bóni-fok located in the rural area of Bogyiszló in a romantic spot is a cape along the bank of the Danube scattered with tiny summer homes, where unlicensed fishing cabins were established from the end of the sixties. The area first only made up of minivans and then followed by summer cabins is like a small village, with some serious water life going on. The Bóni-fok has many piers, where the owners of the summer homes and their friends can park their motorboats, while they head out to the Danube or the mouth of the Sió canal to fish.
Horog restaurant in Szálka is one of the best restaurants of the Szekszárd Wine Region, where guests can choose from the selected dishes of Sárköz and the wine region. The meals on the menu, including the fish and wild game dishes, are all made of premium, locally sourced ingredients only, and are best consumed with the wines and palinkas of the region. Guests can choose from many authentic dishes on the permanent menu, including deer, wild boar, rabbit, bass or catfish.
The Gemenc forest, Hungary’s largest protected floodplain mainly covered in woods lies along the Danube. The Gemenc gives home to many backwaters and several islands, which were formed naturally by the stream of the Danube flowing significantly slower due to the minimal drop in level. The forest with a rich fauna is mostly known for its large wild game. Visitors can easily meet red deer, roe or wild boars when walking amidst the trees.