When asked about the world’s most famous brands, the logos for Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Facebook and Google might jump to mind. But Hungary has also given the world some pretty big brands and products, here we take a look at some of the most well-known of the Hungarian brands, a few of which are instantly recognised all over the world. Some, such as Zwack Unicum and Pick Szeged winter salami, are easily associated with Hungary, while others, such as LogMeIn or Prezi, you might be surprised to find out that they have Hungarian origins. Let’s get started.
This Hungarian brand is especially well-known for it’s eosin-process porcelain, which changes colour depending on the light but is typically a green, gold, red or blue hue. While Zsolnay‘s decorative items are easily recognisable, you might be surprised to known that Zsolnay tiles have been used in some famous Hungarian buildings too – particularly during the Art Nouveau period. The Zsolnay porcelain manufacturer was started in the 1800s in the city of Pécs by Miklós Zsolnay and today it’s a much-loved brand with its pieces considered a treasured item by those lucky enough to own one. Find out more here.
Hungary is famous for its cold cuts like salami and sausages, and Hungary’s most famous producer of these meaty delights is Pick Szeged. Each year the business which originated in the town of Szeged produces close to 45,000 tons of meat products, both for domestic and international consumption. They’re also the largest Mangalica meat producing business in the world. Probably their most famous is the Pick winter salami, of which they make about seven million sticks per year! For almost 150 years now it’s been made using the secret recipe of Márk Pick. Aside from the winter salami, they also produce dried sausage, salamis and other yummy treats for those not watching their cholesterol. Find out more here.
Prezi was founded in 2009 by Hungarians Peter Arvai, Péter Halácsy and Adam Somlai-Fischer. We wrote about their Budapest office and about their phenomenal invention earlier. Although they also have a Californian office (something they say is a must for a globally-thinking startup), they have firm Hungarian roots. They have some 50 million users, which is awesome for a business that’s just over 5-years-old. So what is Prezi? It’s a presentation software that transforms boring presentations into something dynamic, easy to digest and fun to tell. We love them, and so do millions of others because so far some 160 million Prezis have been made. Cool!
Bull’s Blood of Eger
Although some might say the quality of this type of wine from the region of Eger is variable, Egri Bikavér is undoubtedly Hungary’s most famous red wine. During the siege of Eger castle, it’s said the Turks thought the Hungarians were so fierce because they were drinking wine spiked with bull’s blood for extra strength. While there are of course many vineyards in that specific region that make Bull’s Blood of Eger there are strict and specific standards which must be met for a bottle of wine to bear this name.
Szamos is a well-known Hungarian confectioner that offers delicious chocolates and marzipan. You can find various Szamos products in many stores in Hungary – even at the airport. The most famous of their sweets is probably the marzipan rose, which it’s said the then apprentice Mátyás Szamos mastered back in the 1930s. Now they offer ice cream, chocolates and other desserts too. Find out more here.
LogMeIn was founded in 2003 in Budapest but now has global reach and is based in Boston. The software allows users to securely log in to their home or work computers from elsewhere in the world using remote access technology. The company’s aim is to increase people’s mobility and connectivity. Pretty awesome that they’ve achieved so much success.
Another of Hungary’s famous porcelain manufacturers is the porcelain of Herend, also known as “Herendi.” It was founded by Vince Stingl in the early 1800s, although Mór Fischer is also credited with making the brand and the porcelain manufacturing as successful as it was. Today it is one of the world’s largest producers of porcelain and is a prized object of those who are lucky enough own one. Each item has the famous Herend stamp on it. The fine items of Herend have been taken to many world fairs. Specially made porcelain has also been made for the Hungarian Presidency and the Hungarian Parliament. Find out more here.
Csabai and Gyulai sausages
As we have already mentioned Hungarian salami and sausages are particularly well-known. There are many different versions from dry, smoked and boiled to hot and mild variations. While many different companies (and individuals) make sausages, two kinds have what’s known as the Protected Geographical Status – a protection of the names of quality products from certain regions. These are Csabai and Gyulai, the first being from the city of Békéscsaba the latter from the city of Gyula. The sausages from both these regions, that meet the strict criteria, are among the most popular in Hungary and sought after around the world.
Wizz Air is Hungary’s low-cost international airline. The carrier transports people to over 30 countries, to destinations such as London Gatwick, Brussels Charleroi and Barcelona. For more information – or if you’re lucky enough to want to book a flight – look here. Wizz Air first took off in 2004 and now there are some 360 routes to choose from!
We wrote about Tokaji Aszú in our article on 19 signs you learned to drink in Hungary, and it’s worth mentioning here again because it’s probably one of Hungary’s most famous sweet wines. Like Bull’s Blood of Eger, the name encompasses a specific style of sweet wine from the region of Tokaj.
Szegedi and Kalocsai paprika
Pretty much every Hungarian meal is spiced with sweet or hot paprika powder and the brands often associated with this red gold is Szegedi Paprika or Kalocsai Paprika. Both produce various products, but obviously the flagship is the ground red paprika powder.
This year Zwack Unicum turns 225, and so it’s no surprise that this is a well-known Hungarian drink, especially when you take into account how much Hungarians love drinking. The dark herbal liqueur is said to be made from about 40 different herbs and spices. The round bottle and the “drowning man” advertising poster are almost equally as famous as the drink.
Univer: Erős Pista and Piros Arany
It’s hard to eat anything at a restaurant in Hungary without having a jar of Erős Pista (“Strong Steve”) placed on the table. The paprika sauce/paste has ground paprika bits in it and adds a bit of paprika heat to your soups or meats. It’s surpassed only in popularity by another of Univer’s brandsPiros Arany (“Red Gold”), which is a paprika paste that dates back to 1963 and adds that distinct paprika red to soups, stews and “paprikash” dishes.
Dreher is one of Hungary’s famous beers. The brewery where Dreher beer is made has been around since 1854, and it’s Hungary’s first beer factory. Other famous Hungarian beers include Arany Ászok (also brewed at the Dreher factory), Soproni and Borsodi.
While there are many brand names for the various distillers of pálinka, as a group this fruit brandy is probably one of Hungary’s most famous “brands” or so-called hungaricums – especially in the category of alcohol. There is a rule in place to protect the label of “pálinka” so that only fruit spirits that meet strict guidelines such as being mashed, distilled, matured and bottled in Hungary can be called pálinka. There are many different flavours of this potent drink from apricot and plum to honey and apple, you must try it (at least) once!
Szentkirályi Mineral Water
Szentkirályi mineral water dates back to the late 1980s, when the owners began producing soft drinks in Szentkirály – a place 20 kilometres from the town of Kecskemét. During the manufacture of the drinks, they realised that the water from the well on site had the optimal level of minerals in it and they decided to focus on mineral water. It has been awarded as one of the world’s best mineral waters winning the Aqua-Eauscar Award in the ‘still’ category. The brand is known in many parts of the world and the brand has even appeared at the Grammy Awards and Academy Awards.
Almost everyone has tried to solve a Rubik’s Cube at least once in their life. This puzzle was invented by Hungarian Ernő Rubik in 1974. While Rubik’s Brand and the associated licensing rights are no longer based in Hungary, the copyright still belongs to Ernő Rubik and thus, for the purposes of this article, will still claim this brand as Hungarian.
Zoltán Kodály was a famous Hungarian composer in the 1900s, his principles for music eduction – the aptly named Kodály Method – have been adopted in Hungary and around the world. The emphasis is on starting music teaching at an earlier age, improving the quality of the music taught and enhancements to the curriculum used. It’s said to improve rhythm skills, singing, intonation and so forth. Do you want to be better musically? Find out more here.
Ferencvárosi Torna Club
If you know anything about football (aka soccer) you have probably heard about Hungary’s most prominent football club Ferencváros or Fradi for short. The club is both Hungary’s most successful and most popular, and all over the world people of Hungarian extraction are often likely to say they support Fradi. The club has a rich history dating back to 1899. Although the football department is the most prominent, the Ferencváros Torna Club (“Gymnastics Club”)also has other sports such as handball and water polo teams under the same brand.
There are a number of other world famous Hungarian brands. We could also mention Makó onions, Vass shoes, Ikarus, Pöttyös Túró Rudi, St. Hubertus, Gabor shoes, Béres drops, Nanushka, the AMD–65 rifle and many others. Of course one of the world’s most famous brands, Estée Lauder, also has Hungarian origins because Estée herself had Hungarian parents – although we can’t exactly claim that as Hungarian brand of course.
Are there any others? You could suggest more in the comments section below.