The Soul of Bread Festival Brings the Best Sourdough Loaves to Veszprém

gastro VEB2023 / Photos: Kenyérlelke and VEB2023

The Soul of Bread (in Hungarian: Kenyérlelke) Festival, promoting traditional bread baking for the past eight years, comes to Veszprém again. For the second year running, the bread-baking competition, initially organised in Budapest for amateur and professional bakers, is held also in Debrecen and Veszprém. This year, a new festival city, Kaposvár, will be added to the sites. On the first weekend in July (Saturday, the second, to be precise), there will be a full day of activities in Veszprém's Old Town Square, and the winners of the bread-baking competition will be announced.

The first Soul of Bread Festival took place at No. 9 Margit Street. At that time, both at-home and professional bakers participated in the competition. Interest grew, and the festival became more structured year by year

– says Áron Németh, one of the organisers, who kicked off the event with television presenter Attila Till and the manager of the Baker's Workshop Bakeries, József Vajda.

The number of artisan bakeries in Budapest and across the country has grown over the years. Home leavening and sourdough bread baking has become increasingly popular. As a result, the festival started to grow, and the MOM Cultural Centre became the home base for the event. However, demand was such that a single competition could not satisfy the interest, so last year the festival was arranged in two other cities, Debrecen and Veszprém. This year Kaposvár will be added as a fourth site.

There are countless sourdough bakeries in and around these two cities, including those linked to the festival. In Veszprém, for example, there's Derce Pékbisztró (Derce Baker's Bistro) or Makmoiselle, both of which opened their shops after their bakers took part in the festival. We hope to reintroduce this healthy bread-baking tradition to people's everyday life. The three events that we already had brought us much closer to our goal.

The number of entrants has grown by five to ten per cent every year, a good indication of the interest in the competition and sourdough baking in general. The number of loaves of bread entered had to be maximised because tasting capacity was limited.

The judges are experts who have been tasting bread at the festivals for years. In Debrecen and Veszprém, local bakers are thought to be credible judges. It is important to note that in these two locations only home-baked loaves bread are allowed to compete, while professional bakers can submit their products at the Budapest festival.

We have entrants who had entered their bread in all three competitions last year and others who came all the way from Transylvania. It's good to see the interest in the event and that some people are willing to travel hundreds of kilometres to participate.

Of course, the Soul of Bread Festival is not just a competition for home and professional bakers to test their loaves. It is a tradition-building gastro event where professional and home bakers meet, and children and adults alike can learn about the wonderful world of sourdough baking.

We always have workshops at the festivals, and this year will be no exception. On 2 July in Veszprém, for example, the Derce Bakery will organise and run the workshop.

On 2 July then, workshops, delicious baked sourdough goods, food and drink trucks, well-known bakers, and bakeries will fill Old Town Square in Veszprém. In addition to the two local sourdough bakeries (Derce Pékbisztró and Makmoiselle), Freyja – The Croissant Story from Budapest, which regularly installs mobile pop-up bakeries at Lake Balaton, will offer their award-winning sourdough croissants. In addition, the mouth-watering delicacies of 'Szabi, the Baker' will be on offer to be tasted.

Entries for the Veszprém competition of the Kenyérlelke Festival will be accepted until 29 June. For more information, please visit the festival website.


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