Watermelon. The word alone is enough to evoke childhood memories of summer – pale pink juice running down your chin, competing in seed spitting contents with your friends, and the irrational childish fear that watermelon would grow inside your stomach if, by accident, you swallowed one of those seeds.
Your tastes may be more refined as an adult, but watermelon will forever mean summer. It’s perfect to use in a refreshing cocktail and for an avant-garde twist on the classic martini, mix fresh watermelon juice with vodka and limoncello, sip, and enjoy.
For something unconventional and unlike the sweet memories of your youth, watermelon can be enjoyed pickled, Russian-style. However, if you long for a flavour more pure then you simply have to slice off a wedge and savour the taste. Juice will still run down your chin, but happily, some things never change.
In Europe, every second watermelon is grown in Spain but Hungary also plays a part in its production. Békés County lies in the Carpathian Basin and its fertile soil churns out melon after melon in the summer.
Thermals baths dot the countryside in this region well-known for the beauty of its nature. The Körös River is a popular waterway for swimming and fishing and the river valleys are a picturesque backdrop for riding and walking tours.
In the city of Gyula, Gyulai vár is a castle built in the 15th century. In the summer open-air theatre performances are organised within the castle walls, as are jazz concerts at the lake nearby. It sounds like a perfect opportunity to pack a picnic – and don’t forget the watermelon.