Anybody who has traveled at least once among the beautiful sloping hills of Zala has a picture and a memory what a truly fairytale like region this is. Alright, one has to admit that it takes quite a bit of time to get there – roughly 2 and a half hours by car from the capital city of Budapest –, but the distance is almost exactly the same as to Vienna or Debrecen, both being quite popular destinations among Hungarians. So why not choose Bázakerettye – ah, what a beautiful and exotic sounding name to a small village – instead? It is definitely worth a detour.
Bonne Chance hotel and restaurant sits right at the corner of a stunning forest and has been welcoming guests ever since 2010. When Bonne Chance opened – meaning good luck in French and having been the traditional greeting of the miners working in the area – it truly was a dream come true: to introduce the cuisine and hospitality of Zala to tourists and anybody who felt the curiosity to visit.
Thanks to the micro-climate secured by the woods the organically planted and treated spices of the restaurant’s garden – their number now being over 500 and with that probably the biggest in Hungary – also feel perfectly home here. The list is almost endless, but here’s a few of the species they grow: French Lavender, Savory, Chervil, Sweet Sage, Thai and Lemon Basil, Blood Sorrel, Stevia, Gold Oregano, Red Basil, Lovage, Tarragon, Lemongrass and also Lemon Thyme.
The restaurant – that uses fresh ingredients bought mainly from the local region produced by local farmers and family run small businesses, and where the dishes are cooked from traditional, family recipes – is now ranked within the top quality gastronomic places of the countryside by the most trustworthy guides.
The hotel has 11 rooms – some of them apartment like suitable for families – and a newly built boardroom that can easily hold up to 50 people for smaller business conferences, trainings or even more pleasant activities, such as a team building cooking class.
“One of the nicest compliments we have received so far was of an elderly lady. After having finished her lunch she thanked me for the nice experience and told me that she liked our traditional Sunday chicken soup even more than her own. I think these are the moments we truly live for and these moments make the restaurateurs’ life joyful.
Here even the complete staff is involved in making the recipes perfect. Everybody has their own word, skill and opinion – and all these are welcome as long as they are constructive and bringing the dish towards an even more satisfying experience.
One of the first positive feedback came when the ratio of escalope – that being an absolute household dish all over the country – sold decreased and not because of its poor quality. It was rather due to the fact that our guests started to like our other dishes as well. That is something I consider as success. This namely shows that though slowly, but people react and open up to new things that were previously not common or known to them. I know how difficult it is for I myself am stubborn sometimes with tasting new flavors. This is why I truly appreciate when I see that my guests make that very important first step and they do it here in our restaurant. When I have to define the style of the Bonne Chance cuisine I usually say that we are trying to bring those flavors to the plate that everybody’s looking for. Because they like these flavors or one has a special remembrance to it probably from a childhood memory.”-said Csilla Csatlós, owner of The Bonne Chance Hotel&Restaurant
Photos by Árpád Pintér