Sourdough, rustic bread varieties, pastries and giant cruffins seasoned with international inspiration: nothing in the concept of Budapest-based Arán bakery is by chance. Every detail starting from the choice of their location, the ingredients used, the repertoire and the interior design of the place is carefully considered and deliberate. We asked founders Kinga Pécsi and Attila Pécsi about their bakery.
Arán bakery is located on the corner of Nagy Diófa utca and Wesselényi utca. Once you enter the premises, you can feel it right away that this is something very different than an average bakery experience. The details hidden in the interior slowly guide us to the solution: the maps of Dublin hanging on the walls, or the seemingly out of place green figurine boasting a red beard on the counter reveal their Irish inspiration and connection.
The founders of the bakery, Kinga Pécsi and Attila Pécsi lived in Dublin for 10 years, but were also inspired by several other nations and cultures. It almost seemed as if they were to stay in Ireland forever, but after the birth of their son, they decided to move back home and realize their dream. In addition to all the experience gained, Kinga also completed the Baking and Pastry Arts Management at the Technical University of Dublin, while Attila, as a second generation hospitality worker spend most of his childhood in a restaurant – thus it’s only natural that expertise and high quality can be observed in every corner of Arán.
But what gives its peculiarity?
The same as the soul of every bakery is the bread, bread-baking is the closest to Kinga’s heart, too. Therefore it is not by chance either that they named the bakery Arán, meaning bread in Irish. “Bread is our second child” – Kinga and Attila told us. The characteristic, sour smell of the bread comes from their starter named Paddy, nurtured by Kinga for more than five years. “Paddy is a true traveler, we took it with us on many of our trips and it received various types of flour over the years” – they added. And why the name, you ask? Paddy is short for Patrick: Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, and one of the most popular Irish names, at the same time.
Arán’s identity is not only defined by their delicious sourdough bread, but other specialties, too. Despite the fact that both Kinga and Attila like traditional pastries, they didn’t want to stand in the line and follow the mainstream – as a result, instead of the regular cottage cheese bundles and cocoa swirls, here we find mushroom pillows, spicy-cinnamon swirls and many other exciting treats. “We placed the emphasis on the pastries found typically in Anglo-Saxon countries, as well as the popular and classic French and American products: we tried to give them a little makeover to fit our taste and also adjust them a bit to the Hungarian market” – Attila highlighted.
An additional curiosity is the muffin-shaped cruffin made of croissant-dough and available in multiple flavors, but their sandwiches made of simple ingredients are also very popular. As a way of utilizing the opportunities of their neighborhood, Kinga and Attila also pay attention to making sure that their ingredients, such as cottage cheese or the meat and vegetables used for their sandwiches, come from the neighboring market halls and from local producers, but one of their most frequently used ingredient, the BL-80 flour is also the product of a small family mill, and is ground from their locally grown wheat. The coffee served in the bakery from the very beginning is the product of One Eleven, a Hungarian roastery in Sopron.
Even though the number of customers and interested visitors keeps growing, it seems we can only get our hands on an Arán pastry or bread in Wesselényi utca for now: “It’s not likely that many other Aráns will be opened in the city. We think our bakery can preserve its originality and authenticity as long as we are here, as long as we pay attention and work, even if not on a daily basis behind the counter. We would love to have a second store, perhaps even a third later on, but this is not sure at all. We would like to maintain our quality, prepare fine bread and bring joy to the people for a long time. This is our goal” – Attila explained.
The same as in the case of composing their selection, they didn’t want any compromises in terms of the interior of the bakery either. The clean yet spectacular space with a touch of industrial also mirrors the taste of the founders, and would stand its ground in any Western European city.
The good news is that you can already order the goodies on the online store of Arán to your home. It also deserves to be mentioned that in addition to the permanent repertoire, customers can also choose from a seasonal pastry offer. For the fall-winter period, Kinga and Attila will prepare with a blue cheese-fig-walnut pillow, a chestnut cruffin and classic walnut and poppy-seed bejgli, the all-time Christmas favorite. We can’t wait to try them!
Photos: Balázs Csizik