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A Crack(l)ing Good Place


  • Szandtner Veronika

01/08/2014 2.00am

Although this delicatessen exclusive to Hungarian handmade goods only opened a few months ago, there are already long queues in front of it in the weekends. Jenő Kocsis wears a shirt and tie behind the counter even in the scorching heat and works on making his customers check out excellent meat products instead of their smartphone screens. As far as we can tell, he is on the right path.

Goose salami, cracklings, venison ham, ramson goat cheese, teas and oils, coffee from South Italy, special mustards and grated horseradish with apple, Hungarian pálinkas and wines, lavender syrups. Pörc (meaning: cracklings) has everything that can make your mouth water and comes from reliable producers around Lake Balaton.

Not a conveyor belt

'This is no Tesco or Interspar. My dad and me, we are both old-fashioned people, who like to dedicate time to the customer.' Accordingly, the founder and mind behind the delicatessen, Jenő Kocsis wears a shirt and a tie behind the counter when receiving us. We can hardly conceal our surprise, especially when there are only people in bathing suits running around in Balatonkenese due to the extreme heat. Our host, of course, has his reasons. 'My family has been dealing in meat for 150 years now, I represent the fifth generation in the trade. In the time of my great-grandfather, it were the butchers apprentices who sold the processed meat, They were always wearing a shirt and tie to express due respect to the customers.I like that attitude. I created this shop so that the family expertise could finally find a fitting place.'

Photo: Csongor Kiripolszky - We Love Balaton

Photo: Csongor Kiripolszky - We Love Balaton

During the interview, Jenő jumps to his feet from time to time, whenever a new costumer arrives or when passers-by greet him as friends. 'I only sell products that have a beneficial physiological effect. These cheeses, hams and oils are not made by the dozen; their preparation takes time and lacks additives. This of course entails that sometimes we're out of stock on some items; it happens that the twice-knead cheese with urda will only be ready for next week, or that the yogurt spoils before time because it lacks preservatives. I have to explain this all to costumers, because it might not be self-evident.'

Photo: Csongor Kiripolszky - We Love Balaton


Jenő does not mind spending time describing the positive physiological effects of horseradish with apple, or the detailed itinerary of preparing cracklings. 'I'd like people to slow down a bit. Here, it is compulsory to have a taste and if a costumer needs it, and I spend even half-an.hour with them to assist in their choice. I'd like Pörc to be a place where customers come for a good talk , in addition to the delicacies. Just like in my great-grandfather's time!”

Photo: Csongor Kiripolszky - We Love Balaton

Photo: Kiripolszky Csongor - We Love Balaton

You can take a seat in front of the shop and enjoy Balaton wines, cheese and ham plates or a good Sicilian coffee. The next thing Jenő plans is to set up a bacon roasting demonstration, so people would turn to each other and not their smartphones while consuming their food and drinks.

Photo: Kiripolszky Csongor - We Love Balaton

Balaton products in abundance

It would be hardly possible to name all the Balatonside producers who have goods in this tiny shop brimming with excellent products. The pesto and ramson goat cheese comes from Szentantal, the cow cheeses and the pumpkin seed oil that has a mouthwatering smell arrived from Nemesvámos. The goose, mangalitza and raczka sheep salamis and hams are made at the family's own meat preparation facility.

Photo: Kiripolszky Csongor - We Love Balaton

Photo: Kiripolszky Csongor - We Love Balaton

Experience shows that there is demand for goat cheese, various syrups, horseradish products and mustards. The customers' absolute favourites are the cracklings. The Kocsis family let us in on the secret of excellent cracklings: the skin of the bacon is cut off, marinated and then roasted. To make it crack, they also add a bit of milk in the final roasting phase, as the lactose caramelizes the meat.

Jenő Kocsis knows each of his suppliers personally, and is aware of the circumstances and modes of production. The fame of Pörc is spreading like wildfire, so he does not have to go exploring anymore: a growing number of small-scale producers come to seek him out to ask him to sell their products.

The shop is already stretching the limits of the tiny parlour in Kenese, but Jenő has his own ideas of expansion. 'I've been through several major fails in life, so now I'd like to progress taking baby steps.'  The Budapest-based joint of Pörc will open in October in Lövőház utca. The shop in the capital will also be based on products from around Lake Balaton. The following steps would be, in a few years, a shop in Pozsonyi út and a delicatessen in Vienna, but the family does not wish to rush forward. For the moment, the satisfied smile of costumers after a delicious bite is success enough for Jenő.

Tip: if you visit, be sure to check out the nearby, far-famed Katica Bakery as well.

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