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From grandma’s garden into the jam jar - Kapolcsikum

We’ve visited the fruit garden of the young couple that produces syrups and jams under the Kapolcsikum brand and we also dropped by grandma’s house in Kapolcs to see where the tons of fruit go through a metamorphosis, ending up as syrups and jams. Now we know what makes raspberry syrup delicious, and whether the quality of good lemonade depends on the soda-syrup ratio.

It was around the time when the Káli Basin started emerging as a region of interest that Ivett Farkas and Attila Leitold realised: the fruit garden of their parents could be used for much more than producing the family’s vitamin C supply for winter. Ivett was still in high school when they threw themselves into the garden, that is, into improving it in a conscious way. The story of two-person fruit start-up began with 160 bottles of experimental elderflower syrup and a few dozen jars of strawberry jam, which were snatched up immediately. This initial success confirmed the young couple’s intuition which told them that soon home-made, artisan products would be in high demand around Balaton.

By now, their fruit garden covers an area of several hectares. Our visit to Kapolcs took place at the time of the raspberry harvest, but the blackberries were nicely ripening too, and the elder bushes in Csórompuszta were in full bloom. No wonder that the entire summer is a period of endless harvests and canning: right after the June cherry, sour cherry and strawberry season comes the redcurrant, raspberry and blackberry harvest, followed by apples and grapes in autumn.

We were pretty surprised when we were taken from the raspberry fields to grandma’s house in Kapolcs: this is where the thousands of litres of syrup and the many different kinds of Kapolcsikum jam are made, in a tiny room in the back garden. Don’t expect a laboratory. All you need for a bottle of quality syrup is a stove, a press and big containers; making jam requires even fewer tools.

What is the secret recipe of Kapolcsikum syrups? After tasting the raspberry syrup, we can say with 100% certainty that it’s the tons of fruit. One litre of raspberry syrup is made from 1 kg of fruit, a little water and 500 g of sugar. Ivett says she cannot recommend a perfect soda-syrup ratio because everyone’s taste is different. “You just have to make your first one, and you’ll definitely get the combination you like best the second time around.”

According to Attila, raspberry syrup is the current summer hit product, so much so that it is slowly pushing elderflower out of the market. They also produce syrups from strawberry, sour cherry, cherry, red- and blackcurrant. Everything else is used to make jam: more traditional flavours such as apricot, strawberry, sour cherry, redcurrant and blackberry are naturally available, but new, experimental combinations, like their delicious dark chocolate-plum jam, are worth trying too.

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