ハンガリー生まれの農業家ゲルゲイが耕すグルメガーデンGG FARMの旬やハンガリーの食などを綴っています。

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カテゴリ:English Dialy( 73 )


Dear All,

During our second week, we took the chance to discover Calheta area,
which is situated east of Funchal City.
Its climate is rather close to Faja dos Padres,
makes it very suitable for growing sugar cane for rum making,
wine-grapes and Brassicas (especially Portugese cabbages).


There are now mainly ruins of the once-upon-a-time
agricultural paradise. Terraces, we looked around,
were often abandoned and overgrown by perennial weeds,
used to be sugar cane plantations, the production of
it became so seldom and scattered all around the hills of Calheta.
There is a cane sugar museum down in the village,
where you can taste wine-barrel aged rum and
locally baked cane sugar cake. It is a genuine opportunity
to witness how local people made a brillant use of the limited
resources they could produce!




Another place I highly recommend to visit is Quinta das Vinhas,
a fantastic inn upon the hills of Calheta.
The view over the ocean is just astonishingly unique,
the very old buildings have remained in original condition.
The garden is non-formal English style which is so harmonious
with the landscape. The atmosphere is beautified with
surrounding experimental vineyards planted with classic Portugese
and Madeiran grapes. The autumn leaves of some varieties
turned dark purple due to high concentration of anthocianins.
There is definitely something special about Portugese grapes!
First time I saw yellow lupins (Lupinus luteus)
intersown between the grapes as green manure.



by gg-farm | 2013-02-13 21:50 | English Dialy | Comments(2)

Dear All,

We managed to spend two weeks in Madeira,
it is a pristine island south east of Portugal, near off Africa.
The place unfortunately has become a tourist paradise,
but we constantly found ourselves still unspoiled areas.

We could recall the old haydays of Madeira,
since Churchill often traveled to Funchal
(precisely his favourite destination was Camara de Lobos
just next to the capital) and we saw his Madeiran paintings.
There was lots of vienyards and sugar cane plantations,
unlike now, when the golden fruit is the banana which
has almost completely replaced the grapes and the cane.



Of course this shift of cultivation has a drastic effect on the landscape.
Also growing grapes has become problematic
since the climate change disturbs some factors of the
good grape production: especially the flash floods in the recent
years has caused worriness amongst growers. The unpopularity of
Madeiran wine has also reduced the price of grapes
prompting farmers to switch to a better paying crop,
which is banana at the moment.


But there is one garden, which has originally grown
bananas for half a millenium, a tiny 20 hectares of sheltered
coast which enjoys a considerably warmer weather than
anywhere else on this island called Faja dos Padres. 

Thanks to Mr Chimoto we could find this oasis in the desert of tourist traps.
【Mr Chimoto's official home page】

The isolation of the place cries for special agricultural
methods to use. The land manager is an enthusiastic and
very knowledgable young man, called Pedro; reminds me jun. Weninger,
the Austrian wine-maker friend. He makes use from the recent
sustainable research results (see Hemery, G. A novel silvo-poultry system, 2005)
and adopt them to maintain subtropical mixed orchards and combine
them with livestock, like chickens. We could sample banana,
mango, papaya, avocado and pitanga (Eugenia uniflora,
a plant from the Myrtle family). The grape season was already over.
The banana was strikingly different from any ever tasted one.
The colour of its flash
was golden orange and tasted so 'umami', that we all
got obsessed with it. The aftertaste was sour and
minerals played the main rule. My other favourite was the ripened pitanga,
it was like a real Poully-Fume with its superb acid-mineral balance.


Pedro kindly showed us around and of course we checked
the handmade compost hips. The experiments showed that
even under subtropical conditions, we still need to consider
carefully the C/N ratio, despite the higher temperatures.
The animal husbandry includes black pigs (Porco Preto Iberico),
goats and chicken.



Later we had a fantastic lunch, the pork steak was crushingly
flavoured with natural fattiness. We were told that pigs there
are slaughtered in a traditional fashion (a necessary step
for preserving quality against the modern electric
shock system used everywhere). The local wine, a blend
of Vitis vinifera americana, was smooth and suited with local
grilled sea bass and porco preto! What an extraordinary
agricultural and gastronomic wonderland Faja dos Padres is,
please do not hesitate to visit!



by gg-farm | 2013-01-21 16:12 | English Dialy | Comments(0)

Dear All,

Let me tell you here that had a fantastic journey to Portugal this November.

During some blog entries I would like to highlight

some of the amazing culinary experiences we witnessed.

Portus Cale, the puzzled Roman name of Portugal by historians,

gave me the impression of a new translation ‘The Port of Kales’.

I have never been to a country where kale (wild cabbage)

grows that abundantly!


Our first destination was Sesimbra on the Peninsula of Setubal,

approx 30 km South of Lisbon. Famous for its deep-sea fishing,

sardines and special flora attracted us to explore the place.

The seaside restaurants offer top-notch seafood dishes

with absurdly simple preparation with salt and charcoal.

Take a vegetable soup with plenty of carrots and root veggies pureed,

with fragments of lemon balm on the top.

The starters are local raw ship milk cheese, Alzeao.

They suit well with the local and acidic Palmela red wines.

The area’s famous dessert is a crepe covered with

a thick layer of custard and caramel sauce and of course,

lots of high quality cinnamon powder on the top.


The local market was stunning point to view how local people dine.

The sausages, cured hams, raw milk sheep

and goat cheese of all variations

(what a criminal produce of the dear EU regulations!).

I have to agree with Andy Hayler, who only eats raw milk cheese.

Once you hook on the richness and brutal nudity of flavours

while sampling any of these small handmade cheeses, you won’t have

passion anymore to opt for the sterile pasteurised versions!
by gg-farm | 2013-01-08 09:20 | English Dialy | Comments(8)

Leaving Hungary for Japan


Dear All,

During the one year period of stay in Hungary
we learnt a lot how to set up and run a garden in a
rather different environment and climate.
We wished to stay over in Hungary for another year,
but unfortunately my occupation in the castle
was obscured by the fact, that the hotel
has closed down for the winter months.


To work in a different place opened our mind
and we feel recharged with astronomical amount of energy.
This delightment gave us the courage
to return to Japan.

Also there were other reasons like that facts
we adore Japan,
the way Japanese people think of and do gastronomy.


The passionate and spiritual treatment of each ingredient
is the very particular essence of the Japanese cuisine
which we could not find matching anywhere else.

We had long thought where to come back and reside in Japan.
Many of you know how much I wanted
to establish a garden in a rural environment,
without much compromise,
where my fantasy could let go astray without limitations.

I also missed some elements
which I need for the four seasons concept
like snowfall, substantial day and night time temperature difference, summer showers, deciduous forests nearby and so on.

Japan consists of an interesting set of geographical conditions,
which local
chefs here have cleverly been exploring.


The first meeting point of mountainous landscape
with abundance of forests, streams and rivers.
Another point of attachment comes
when these rivers reach the Sea of Japan or the Pacific Ocean.

These seas' another feature is
the deep trenches surrounding Japan,
which creates constant cold and warm turbulences
under and above the sea.

Ideally we can have a spot between the two set of meeting points.
Such places can yield fantastic ingredients,
just think of the wild salmon caught
at the River Tweed in Scotland.

Our attention has turned to spot such a place
in Japan for setting up the ideal GG Farm.


by gg-farm | 2012-12-15 09:48 | English Dialy | Comments(5)

Dear All,

Spring and autumn, the very two seasons
which are getting lost in the gardens.
There are several reasons for this shift in exclusive aims
for summer and winter (or summer only; think of tomatoes
and Californian peppers all year around in the supermarkets)
vegetable growing.

by gg-farm | 2012-06-06 22:23 | English Dialy | Comments(0)

Dear All,

the climate change has hit us again this spring,
our area is facing a massive drought
(7 weeks without any rain)
and finally it rained during this weekend.
During March the daily temperatures were almost every day
above average and speeded up the flowering
of fruit trees especially.

by gg-farm | 2012-04-09 02:26 | English Dialy | Comments(0)

Passion for onions


Dear All,

after the rather hursh February,
March has been very dry and warm
(some days have been the warmest on record!)
above 20 degrees almost every day.

The plants have speeded up in development,
there are some flowers, like tulip and narcisses
which bloomed almost a month before usual.

The tendency of heating up gives me hints
about the coming summer.
I can predict a hot and dry time ahead,
therefore I am going to follow the Plan B, the Middle-Eastern,
African and South American dry tropical plants.

by gg-farm | 2012-03-25 20:13 | English Dialy | Comments(0)

Dear All,



We are coming out of the winter
with very nice Southern spells.
These winds warm up the air
with plenty of sunshine.
The soil conditions are just right
to begin the spring work.

The two protected houses have been rather hot,
so I need to open the doors halfway for cooling aeration.

But the nights are still freezing cold,
so the winter vegetables and herbs
I planted there still retain their sweetness.

by gg-farm | 2012-03-06 01:38 | English Dialy | Comments(0)

Dear All,

Humans are never fully satisfied
with their own results
when it comes to compare their own products with Nature's.

This happens all the time when the gardeners
who breed their own vegetables, herbs and spices find out
that wild plants have the omnipotent power
above tehir creaations.

This is because when we begin to
form our own plants from wild ones,
we cannot breed for all aspects which Nature can.

For example if we want a sweet parsnip
we need to sacrifice some of its bitterness
and full flavour of the wild parsnip.
Therefore in the garden the 'cultivated' plants all represent compromise
between the holism of Nature and the requests of humans.

by gg-farm | 2012-01-30 19:48 | English Dialy | Comments(2)

Berries in the garden


Dear All,

as you know me well enough, I am the gardener
who never can stop thinking of ideas
which could make chefs' work easier and more productive.
Of course the basic of my ideas is the constant search
for more sophisticated textures and flavours.

There is also a need to supply more things
its is possible to grow in the garden.
After years of growing many kinds of vegetables,
the fresh herbs and later spices came
as really necessary ingredients for all the kitchen I supplied.
Also these chefs had huge struggle to source the local,
fresh and outdoor grown fruits.

by gg-farm | 2012-01-08 06:26 | English Dialy | Comments(0)