”The fermentation of meat products is not very developed here” – interview with Gábor Áron Kovács, the chef and owner of the Castle Restaurant
Gourmets don’t have to travel far to taste special, fermented, noble mould salami. Gábor Áron Kovács,the chef and owner of the Castle Restaurant in Sfântu Gheorghe, makes salami with a technology that is a real novelty in our country. Guests arriving in the area can taste delicious products, that are fermented for several weeks, wrapped in noble mould. We asked the chef about the specialties as well as about his future plans.
Where did the idea to prepare fermented, mouldy salamis come from?
I go skiing to France or Italy every year and I’ve always wondered why salamis hang over in stores and are not in the fridge. However, if the same thing would happen here, they would simply be banned. In our country, the fermentation of meat products is not very developed. The products there were very tasty and I always brought some of them home, because they have a different world of taste. Finally, under the curfew due to the coronavirus, I decided to start preparing them myself. I had time, so I did a research on the internet, I called a couple of foreign colleagues, Hungarian chefs for advice. I had been to Vienna before at a prosciutto manufacturer, he prepares salami in his house, I saw the so-called home technology, so I also made myself a small chamber at home. He explained in detail what you really need to pay attention to.
What kind of technology do you use? What is the secret of good salami?
The secret actually is that you need a good pantry. Abroad, for example in Spain, Italy or France, the place is given by nature, as the temperatures in the mountains never exceed 18-20 degrees, so it is neither too hot nor too cold. We don’t have this, but it can be made in the same way in the pantry and technologies had to be combined. I looked for a specialist to help make my pantry, so that all the conditions to be met.
What products do you make?
I mainly make salamis, but I also tried extrawurst and frankfurter. I would definitely like to operate as a manufacturer. My idea is to make about three hundred kilos of salami in 60-65 days. I want to keep it small, for restaurants, gourmet people and actually those who are open and would like to taste a salami made with a different technology. So far, I have made salami with two kinds of spices, but basically I developed four types of salami. A tiny mosaic batch of salami, into which I put pistachios and others into which I put Brazil nuts, and there’s a bigger batch that’s matured the same way, just with different seasoning: one with truffles and the other with pecans. However, these will not be on the market, the truffles will remain from this and the pistachios one, but we also want to market a peanut flavored one.
What are your long-term plans?
My long-term plan is to help the caterers. I would like to make the work of chefs and restaurant owners easier. A maturing fridge which has a couple of steaks or a salami with noble mold, would sell itself in a restaurant. You don’t need a lot of expertise in the kitchen, you just have to slice the product. So it’s actually selling itself. The Italians, the Spaniards, the French have been doing this for years.