On 17 April 2008 PaprikaMolnar’s Paprika Museum opened and since then every April we like to look at and celebrate what we did, how we fared and what was good about the past year. I can hardly believe that in 2021 the Paprika Mill and Museum is celebrating its 13th birthday! A small family entreprise with a big idea and a dream is holding out and we’re about to publish a book, the Paprika Book.
An extraordinary year
What a year this was! The Museum was just about to open for spring and summer tourism in 2020 when we had to close down. All our efforts with organizing tours for the year were in jeopardy and the lockdowns, restaurant closures seriously affected our sales as well. So, what else could we do but use the quieter times to do up our infrastructures, improve our processes and create new dreams… Here are some photos of what we did since last spring, all photos unedited, I’m afraid:
- First, like everyone else, we sewed paprika masks:
2. We created boxes and packages for our online sales in our webshop. We were surprised to see how popular our Hungarian webshop was among customers.
3. We experimented with new recipes and created paprika spice mixtures. Our favourite was the paprika cake: for this we used a cake-like bread recipe. Before baking we brushed the dough with a mixture of paprika seed-oil and a little extra paprika spice. We also cooked traditional paprika dishes in the Museum, among them our favourite – paprikash with noodles – and experimented with taking our own food photos – not too successfully, I’m afraid… But the paprikash was really good…
4. There were a lot of group travel cancellations throughout the year, unfortunately. One of our losses was an American group of chefs that cancelled their fall visit. But, thank God, Hungarian visitors were all the more active, like this local heritage group from Szeged and a senior club from Kistelek.
5. Our life and human interactions may have been disrupted with the pandemia, but nature took its own course. We planted in good times in May and did the harvest in September and October.
6. Although the harvest was poor in general due to cold weather and excessive rains in June, we ended up buying enough raw crop to fill the drier, the mill and our bags. We started selling smoked paprika sweet and hot in these pretty jars and a textile top and our customers love it: it’s 100 % hand-made and pairs nicely with the sweet and hot seed-oil.
7. We received some cool new items in the Museum. Here’s a brand-new wooden mortar carved by Tibor Császár. It copies old hand-mortars and can crush dried paprika into nice flakes and course powder.
Paprika Museum top news: garden and books
8. One of our top news is the building of the Paprika Museum garden. The idea and all the work came from Zsuzsa and Albert Molnár, founders of PaprikaMolnár. In the first photo they’re standing in the garden just before sowing the grass seeds. We didn’t know at the time but the garden work proved threapeutical: it offered an escape during spring quarantine 2020 so for a while we named it Quarantine Garden.
By summer the garden was in full bloom and we and our visitors enjoyed a beautiful sight until late fall.
9. Another summer surprise: we were very happy to see the Paprika Museum included in Noémi Kocsis’s book as 1 of the 777 top tourist attractions and adventures!
10. By far our greatest news and pride in the Paprika Museum is that in May 2020 we decided to go for and realise an old dream of writing the story of Szegedi paprika, which I’ve been referring to as Book of Paprika. Author is 100 % me, Anita Molnár, and the book is currently in its final stage of revision before it goes to print hopefully in May.
We planned publication in April 2021, which is obviously not going to happen in April but it soon will, hopefully in June. While waiting for the designer to finish his work I’m writing photo texts and doing some last-minutes photo changes from the huge database of the Paprika Museum. The content is final, the accents and highlights are hopefully there and expressed in a way that they will come through. More news on the Book of Paprika to come when the book is out. I hope one day it will be in some form available in English, too.
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