The magnificently rich fauna of the neighbouring countryside of the Archabbey Pannonhalma is a natural gift for pursuing the ancient Benedictine art of studying, collecting and utilising plants. Manuscripts of the 16th and 17th centuries

pannonhalmi bencés borecet

preserved innumerable recipes of herb teas and herb drinks of alcoholic content.

While exploring the medicinal history of the Archabbey Pannonhalma valuable manuscripts and printed materials from the 16th and the following centuries were found in the central library showing that the Archabbey on the Saint Martin's Hill prepared wine vinegar and medicinal vinegar for medical and culinary purpose as part of its wine-growing activity.

At that time big quantity of wine vinegar was needed for flavouring the dishes and before the modern refrigeration technology the vinegar played a more important role in the food conservation. Meat, mainly in those days well-consumed game as well as vegetables were flavoured and marinated with vinegar. The steward's journals kept minutely between 1702 and 1776 bears witness to the variegated eating habits. The Benedictine monks used a host of spices and herbs: garlic, onion, parsley, pepper, marjoram, caraway seeds, saffron, nutmeg, tarragon, juniper berry, nut-leaves, sage, ginger, lavender, salt, vinegar.

Bálint Keller Benedictine cellar master dedicated in his Latin manuscript "Insctructio" dated from 1763 a whole chapter to the art of vinegar making and its storage: "Care should be taken of providing healthy, strong and fiery basic material (vinegar bed) which should be made of noble wines. That wine must not be of this year vintage but a vintage of three or four years. Take clear and noble wine with the highest possible alcohol content. Since nothing will be achieved of nothing, the bad will become bad, the good will become good and the strong will be strong."

The age-old wine and vinegar making tradition of the monks of the Archabbey has met the expertise and modern technology of the BUSZESZ-ECET Zrt., the successful wine vinegar production company of Óbuda. On 21 August 2006 Archabbot Asztrik Várszegi and general director László Zentai signed the contract the result of which is the product-family of the Benedictine wine vinegars of Pannonhalma. The recipes for the industrial sized production of the Benedictine vinegars were developed in the laboratories of the company BUSZESZ based on Bálint Keller's ones. Of course, the basic material of the vinegars is the wine of the Abbey Winery Pannonhalma, while its flavouring also follows the traditions of Pannonhalma. The herb of one of our vinegars is the lavender, which has been favoured for its cleaning properties, scent and sedative effect since the Antiquity. The other wine vinegar contains nut leaves and sage whose curing effect is also well-known for a long time past: the Latin name of sage is "salvia" that originates from the verb "heal", while nut leaf tea is used for curing dysorexia, for cough relieving and cleaning the blood.

The real value of the spice-flavoured Benedictine vinegars lays in the rich content and natural taste of the herbs and the wines of the Archabbey Pannonhalma, which is a message from the past to the men of our age.

Quality which stands the test of time!

Father Cirill