Attila Kovacs and his partner Samantha came to New Zealand on holiday in 2007 and planned to travel around the South Island in a campervan before heading off to Europe. Things didn’t exactly go to plan. The campervan broke down half-way up a mountain and the pair never make it past Tauranga. The couple fell in love with New Zealand and have been here ever since!
Hungarian-born Attila worked in Tauranga as a chef, but couldn’t find a distinctive salami quite like what he was used to from home in Hungary. So he started to make his own at home, to eat himself and share with friends… one of whom said to him: “You should sell this, it’s such good sausage.”
As with many artisan stories, Attila and English-born Sam started by selling product at their local Farmer’s Market while still juggling day jobs. But from small beginnings, a thriving artisan business has grown, and Attila is now a full-time salami maker. Sam gets to come up with delicious ways to use it.
Attila describes the Hungarian salami as a bit similar to chorizo and the texture is slightly softer and moister than a normal salami. In Hungary, Attila’s family would make salami annually. Every year, late autumn is traditionally an exciting and busy time for the whole family as they make salamis and sausages to see the family through the cold winter. They use home-raised meat and fat, with salt and spices – paprika is one of the most important and commonly used spices. In Hungary, salami is mainly eaten at breakfast, with bread, pickles and tomatoes.
Attila is still using his traditional family recipe that has been handed down for generations. We feel very lucky he is now sharing his delicious creations and flavours from home with us here at Farro.
Using the best New Zealand pork, and mixing it with the unique blend of spices, he hangs his salamis for 48 hours in a warm room to get a slight fermentation. They are then cold smoked at 20C for 4-5 hours, before being left in the aging room for 3-4 weeks, sometimes 5 weeks, depending on the size. It takes time to perfect the ageing process.
Along with the traditional recipe, The Hungarian Artisan Co has added a range of different flavours, including a Goan-inspired sausage, arising from their travels in India, and a porcini mushroom and truffle flavour.
“Goa was a real experience. It’s a Portuguese colony, so they had big market stalls with loads of sausages. It seems like an unusual combination, to mix Indian spice and European sausage, but it really works.”
Attila uses no nitrates and no fillers, additives or preservatives and his salami is a fantastic substitute for bacon in dishes, soups and stews to add flavour to Hungarian goulash or seafood jambalaya. It’s equally delicious added to a frittata or omelette.
SPICY HUNGARIAN KOLBÀSZ CRUMB
This is Samantha’s recipe for a crumb is so simple to make and adds masses of flavour to all sorts of dishes. We love to sprinkle it on top of salads, soups, (try on a cauliflower or pumpkin soup) seafood and chicken dishes.
Add a roughly chopped 150g pack of The Hungarian Artisan Co. kolbàsz to a food processor along with a cup of breadcrumbs.
Blitz until blended to a crumb consistency.
Add the crumb to a pan on a medium to high heat with a drizzle of olive oil. After a few moments the mixture will start to sizzle. Once it has cooked through, you should have a nice crispy crumb. Take off the heat and serve sprinkled on top of your dish.
A few additions to make it even more interesting
Add Capers and finely chopped shallots in the last moments of frying the crumb. When finished thrown in a handful of chopped fresh parsley or dill and grated lemon zest. This goes well with white fish or salmon.
Try serving with a dollop of sour cream to bring an authentic Hungarian flavour to the dish.