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Paprika – the red gold of Baranja

Category: Gastronomy | Date: 24.06.2014.

All that glitters is not gold, says an old folk proverb. Like all folk wisdoms, this is also true. There is a gold that does not glitter, but it sure smells wonderful, and has beautiful red colour. And its taste is of gold. According to experts, it has a sensory effect that when it is put into the food it makes it worth much more just like as gold's value rises in times of economic crisis.

Have you already guessed what it is? This is dry gold active on our taste buds and senses is paprika. Hot and sweet. Crisis or no, it remains to be true, that the chopped or minced paprika is always fresh and dry. When someone cries out "burning!" in Slavonia we do not immediately think of the worst case: fire. Burns by its Strength, by that which makes a fierce csárdás music.

This food which is extremely valuable in terms of diet was brought to Europe by the Spaniards in the 15th century. It is interesting that from Spain it did not go further to Europe, and it doesn't have any tradition, even in Western Europe. Later, however, it reached Turkey via Africa, and from there it was transferred to Hungary and then continued on to other regions as well. Today, there are nearly 50 different pepper varieties in Europe.

A village in Baranja, Lug's sign is the paprika. Red, freshly grounded, hot and sweet paprika of Baranja. In Lug almost every household deals with growing paprika, so it is not surprising that the Paprika Festival is held annually in Lug, which is an excellent occasion to get to know the details about the red gold. The festival is full of programs, with several cultures included. They have also created a Zany game. Of course a Zany festival can not exist without fish stew cooking. Some of the programmes are held in the fall as part of "the kettle Carp" event.

The production of paprika in Baranja has centuries-old tradition. Connoisseurs know what our mouth and tongue also know: that the paprika of Baranja is much better than the other paprikas that grow in other parts of Croatia. Baranja and the paprika are simply a love affair. Well, let them belong together. Combine them with other spices as well.

The production of hot paprika of Baranja was created through a training program for women, by the Baranja Association and their partner, Beli Monastir. Twenty women participated in the project and received a certificate. The stems of the paprika are dried, ground and packed.

The culinary offerings of Slavonia and Baranja are ranging from different types of kulens and sausages to all kinds of stews made of fish or pork. Based on Cobanac the quality of Baranja paprika is well-known. The excellent properties of paprika in Baranja are wonderfully highlighted by the climate and soil. Of course, nothing could be possible without careful work. The red gold of Baranja County goes through even ten times the hands of people, especially the ladies' during the manufacturing process. The work pays off. The paprika of Baranja is rarely cultivated on farms, so a market is always available and the number of loyal customers will not change so the cumbersome production pays off. In addition, Baranja paprika is an excellent gift.

The cultivation and preparation of paprika powder is a traditional and well-known activity in many families of Baranja. However, only recently has the Baranja paparika been named proprietary as a gift item under the name of "Baranja paprika powder". The centuries-old traditional production contributes to the survival of local rural economies, farmers’ enterprises through social enterprises.

The Baranja Association believes that the quality domestic gifts are quality end-products produced by using quality ingredients that contribute to the expansion of tourism supply, to create the conditions for the economic growth, both for individuals and for the society. Packed in an appealing form, the products decorated with motifs of Baranja are not only classic souvenirs that remind us of a journey, but practical ingredients for cooking and for preparing traditional recipes. The paprika powder is essential in any kitchen today. The ground red paprika is typically of natural red colour, an aromatic and delicious ingredient. The red paprika is used to flavour dishes like: stew, goulash, meat dishes, vegetable dishes, rice and cheese. Not only does it add flavours, but also gives the characteristic red colour to the dishes. The ground, red paprika is essential in the preparation of certain dishes, such as a stew. In addition to stews hot paprika is used for various meat and bean dishes, as well as for the preparation of most Mexican food.

Speaking of Mexico, it should be noted that different varieties of paprika are grown around the world, some of which, like the chilli pepper is similar to the paprika of Baranja, but that's another story. The strength of the spice does not match its quality. Even the several percent of alcohol content does not guarantee the quality. This is what experts call the bouquet. When the paprika of Baranja is compared to wine, we can say that they both have interesting and very complex bouquet.

Did you know? Studies in the USA have shown that this little spice, ground red paprika is certainly a big help for those who wish to lose weight. At the time of their variety of slimming diets it's a very simple and delicious solution. Researchers at the University of Purdue, Indianapolis found that in fact, the ground spices right after the meal contributes to a more efficient calorie burning and it controls appetite. Laboratory experiments have confirmed what everyone knows who loves the Baranja paprika, which is the food prepared with its "burns".