KISTARCSA, Hungary (Reuters) – Almost a dozen pig slaughtering teams competed at a butchery festival south of Budapest on Saturday, putting aside politics before a national election on April 3 and toasting with homemade “palinka”, a strong fruit brandy.
The 11 teams participating in the contest in the small town of Kistarcsa brought their pigs early in the morning. After the animals were killed, their blood let and their skin burnt off, the butchers split the carcasses and chopped them up.
Each and every part of the pig is put to use. Some bits are turned into spicy sausages or Hungarian “pig cheese”, which is similar to Scottish haggis. The fat is fried to make scratchings and the legs are smoked.
Fresh pig’s blood fried with onions and served with bread makes for a breakfast to soak up the palinka.
“Luckily we don’t go into politics here. Parties and organisations represent themselves but here the mood is really good,” Istvan Juhasz, leader of the team of the ruling Fidesz party and the town’s mayor, said.
Pig slaughtering at houses is a tradition, and the seasonings used for pork products vary in each region.
“The pig breeder looks after the pig the whole year so that then everyone can have a big feast and have all the friends and neighbours together. A good pig feast is a real family occasion,” said Attila Daragos, from Torja in the ethnic Hungarian region of Romania, who travelled 750 kilometres (470 miles) for the competition.
Pig slaughter made its way into the election campaign when Prime Minister Viktor Orban recently posted a video on his Facebook page of him at a pig slaughtering feast with a family in the countryside.
Other traditional dishes on the day are pork cooked with sour cabbage and fried fresh meat with garlic.
(Reporting by Balazs Horvath and Krisztina Fenyo; Editing by Edmund Klamann)