A bomb of vitality from the Altmark region meets ketchup in the tradition of the Deep South

Doreen Kröckel still fills up her Catsup bottles by hand. The new kitchen is to include a bottling facility in the future. A crowd-funding campaign is being planned to help with the financing. ©Ole von Bosse

The Culinary Star Box is a package of enjoyment from Saxony-Anhalt

Mushrooms to nibble on, fine wine, honey mustard, tomato sauce and Christmas stollen: in 2019, some 20 regional delicacies were awarded the Culinary Star of Saxony-Anhalt. The contents of the "Kulinarisches Sachsen-Anhalt” (Culinary Saxony-Anhalt) gourmet box bring together ten winners of the third competition in the federal state. The boxes are sent out as a gift to business partners, friends and relatives. Every winner of the star is an ambassador for great food which stands for regional origin and ability as well as tradition and innovation. The high quality of the products is expressed by their excellent flavour. Ideas for the enjoyment of healthy food and regional value chains gain a higher profile.

For Manuela and Vasyl Shvedyk, it is the second time that a Culinary Star has been awarded to their family business, Bio-Edelpilze Altmark. In the Hanseatic town of Stendal, they cultivate and prepare nine varieties of mushroom, including reishi and shiitake, which have traditionally been considered medicinal mushrooms in China and Japan. With antipasti, an exclusive composition of best quality mushrooms and herbs from their own organic cultivation, the Shvedyks first convinced the jury in the culinary competition in 2017.

They were awarded the Culinary Star 2019 in the Snacks category for their PAUERSTOFF shiitake hemp bread, which is healthy, delicious nibbling fun made with regional ingredients. "We combine our shiitake with hemp seeds from darumBio! from the Lindenberg farming estate in the Altmark. The bread is gently dried at 40 degrees Celsius so that all of its vital substances are preserved. It’s a crunchy snack and is something really special," reveals Manuela Shvedyk. "We want to offer our time-stressed customers something to nibble on which is tasty and full of vital ingredients of certified organic quality."

Both the hemp seed and shiitake are rich in high-quality protein and all the essential amino acids, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and trace elements. Due to the dietary fibres of the gourmet mushrooms, nibbling the bread quickly satisfies the appetite while supporting the energy- and nerve metabolism.

Those interested in baking their own shiitake hemp flour at home can buy the PAUERSTOFF as well as fresh mushrooms, mushroom powder in raw vegetable quality, Reishi confectionery, gourmet mushroom Bolognese or Vegi friki (vegetarian mushroom fricassee) in the farm shop or order it online.

The company has been running a deposit system for products filled in bottles and jars since 2015. The Shvedyks sell their compost, with its substrate residues, to farmers as high-quality organic fertilizer, their heat is generated efficiently with an air heat pump, while the residual heat from the drying processes is used to support the mushroom cultivation. This conserves both resources and the environment.

The gourmet mushrooms grow according to the species so as to develop their full flavour. They thrive in the daylight which floods through the windows and they are spray-watered. With nine different varieties including rose oyster, pearl oyster, king trumpet and lion’s mane, good neighbourliness is also important, as mutual compatibility can't be taken for granted. "The micro-climate has to be right. We check on the mushrooms several times a day; they are very sensitive," emphasizes the expert.

Leading chefs in the Altmark also appreciate the quality of the products, and order fresh mushrooms from the Shvedyk family: these include the Atrium restaurant in Stendal and the Hotel Schloss Storkau in Tangermünde, which are known for their excellent gourmet cuisine.

A Culinary Star for Catsup from Magdeburg

HiesigLecker, the shop operated by Erhalt durch Genuss GmbH which is based in the capital of the federal state of Magdeburg, also stands for good taste from the region, seasonal freshness and ecological management. For their shop concept, managing directors Doreen Kröckel and Ole von Bosse drew a circle with a radius of 120 kilometres around Magdeburg, which takes in some of the neighbouring federal states. "We know the producers, we taste the products. We only offer products that have passed our tasting programme and which we are convinced of," explains the Director.

The HiesigLecker team also makes its own food, largely from regional ingredients, including fruit liqueurs, egg liqueur, mulled wine and sage syrup. Doreen Kröckel and Ole von Bosse won a Culinary Star in 2019 in the category of delicatessen and tinned foods with Catsup, which is tomato ketchup in the Deep South style. Ripe tomatoes bring the sweetness into the glass, aromatic apple cider vinegar harmonizes the sweetness and acidity, while ginger rounds off the flavour with a slight piquancy.

The products in HiesigLecker's product range that are sourced from Saxony-Anhalt include wine from the Hey vineyard near Naumburg, fruit juice from the organic Lampadius-Gaube orchard in Aschersleben, poultry from Demmel im Huy organic farm and poultry farm, and honey from the Magdeburg district of Ottersleben. In addition to flavour, the criteria for the selection of the products include environmental protection and animal welfare. "The suppliers also include small-scale producers which make organic products without being certified as organic. The quality is what counts," explains Doreen Kröckel.

A separate deposit and return system ensures sustainability in the regional shop from the very start. Every jam-, sausage- or yoghurt jar to be sold in the shop is gladly welcomed back. Many products are also available without packaging.

A treasure trove of Culinary Stars from Saxony-Anhalt

The star product of Catsup, like the Shiitake Hemp Bread, is included in the "Culinary Saxony-Anhalt” gourmet box. The treasure trove also contains MOSTI apple spritzer from Diesdorfer Süßmost-, Weinkelterei und Edeldestille GmbH, original Naumburg Christmas stollen from the Bäckerei & Konditorei Block, raspberry jam from Obsthof Müller, Honey Romance - two varieties of honey from Spargelhof Kalkofen, Querfurter Tröpfurter - an apricot liqueur from Obsthof Müller, Honey Mustard Classic from the Bördebiene apiary, “Gosecker Dechantenberg” white Riesling wine from Kloster Pforta wine estate, as well as the Halberstädter Kleine Strolche sausages from the Halberstädter Würstchen- und Konservenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG.

The "Culinary Saxony-Anhalt" competition is held by the Agricultural Marketing Association of Saxony-Anhalt and supported by the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt.

Note for orders: the "Culinary Saxony-Anhalt” gourmet box is available to order from the Magdeburg Media Group at www.bibershop.de.

Author: Bettina Koch

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