What’s paprika? No, I know its a spice. I know its red and comes in a few varieties. Its taste is kind of hard to describe. But where does it come from? Is it a seed like cumin or pepper? Is it a leaf like basil or sage? Is a fruit? Does it grow on a tree? As it turns out, it’s a vegetable.
Paprika is literally dried, ground, and mixed bell and chili peppers, or “capsicum” if you consider tea a substance worth warring over. In fact, the word “paprika” means “pepper” in Hungarian, which is where the spice is commonly produced.
To add to the confusion, there are a number of varieties of paprika beyond just the “hot” or “sweet” versions that we’re used to in America. From Wikipedia:
• Special quality (Különleges) the mildest, very sweet with a deep bright red color.
• Delicate (csípősmentes csemege) – color from light to dark red, a mild paprika with a rich flavor.
• Exquisite Delicate (Csemegepaprika) – similar to Delicate, but more pungent.
• Pungent Exquisite Delicate (Csípős Csemege, Pikáns) – an even more pungent version of Delicate.
• Rose (Rózsa) – pale red in color with strong aroma and mild pungency.
• Noble Sweet (Édesnemes) – the most commonly exported paprika; bright red and slightly pungent.
• Half-Sweet (Félédes) – A blend of mild and pungent paprikas; medium pungency.
• Strong (Erős) – light brown in color, the hottest paprika
I’ll try pretty much anything described as “Pungent Exquisite Delicate.”