The magnificent harmony of end-of-the-summer vegetables, slightly smoky red pepper and eggplant. Fall, home and the taste of Transylvania locked in a jar: meet Gálfi zakuszka by Kinga Gálfi!
Kinga Gálfi moved to Budapest from Miercurea Ciuc back in 2003. He finished the college of health sciences and also worked in the field for a short time, but finally she opted for a different career path. “I knew I wanted to work with people, and amongst people, but on a different field” – Kinga added. She started to work at the gastronomy magazine Magyar Konyha (Hungarian Cuisine) as a member of the cleaning staff, and soon she received more and more responsibility. The owners of the magazine started their cooking school around the time, and Kinga could help them in organizing the courses and events, procuring materials and keeping in contact with chefs. After the school had been terminated, Kinga continued her career in the world of gastronomy as the right hand and assistant of Zsófi Mautner, until finally she felt that she wanted to create something on her own.
“As I have been working in the field of gastronomy for fifteen years, I have an immense love for cooking. I decided in June this year – mainly because my husband kept urging me to do it – that I wanted to create my own product. I make zakuszka every year, so I thought why not choose it?” – Kinga told us.
Kinga says it was all fate’s doing, but from the outside it looks much more like a deliberate path where everything fell into place and finally concentrated in a jar of zakuszka – with both the inside and outside being Kinga’s work.
“I had the product, I drew a label for it with my hand, and I showed it to a graphic designer friend of mine, who was very nice and helpful and polished my drawings and my technique until the final label was born. I was holding the jar in my hand within a week” – she explained. “I went for a coffee with Zsófi Mautner with the labeled product in my bag, and when I showed her, she liked it so much and was so enthusiastic about it that we agreed right on the spot that I would obtain all permits and I would distribute it” – she added.
The zakuszka is made of natural ingredients only, from materials produced by local producers, by adding some rapeseed oil, salt, pepper and bay leaves. “All I want to say about the Kinga Gálfi recipe is that I try to come as close to the flavor I experienced as a child as possible” – Kinga highlighted.
“For me, zakuszka is the flavor of the best years of my childhood! I will never forget waiting every year for the time when we cooked zakuszka. When we did this, all the female members of the family gathered up, prepared the jars of various shapes and sizes, cooked all day long, and chatted, laughed and drank coffee in the meantime. I used to make their Nescafé, and I was also allowed to get a taste of the zakuszka in the making – it was like a feast! – she continued.
Gálfi zakuszka is currently operating as a single-person manufactory, but Kinga plans to create a larger kitchen, and she also plans to surprise her customers with two new flavors next year.
Kinga recommends the zakuszka primarily as a starter, with high quality sourdough bread, and perhaps with some natural cheese to bring out its flavor. In addition, we can also use them as a main course and sauce with good quality pasta, or we can eat it with grilled meat or cheese.
“But of course the best is to eat it straight from the jar with a spoon” – Kinga highlighted.
Photos: Áron Erdőháti