Text: Veronika Vávrová; Edit: Martina Hošková; Photo: Kus Koláče Archive
If you walk along Korunní street, close to Perunova tram station in Prague Vinohrady, and see a long queue of people, sometimes reaching as far as the corner of the next street, you don ́t have to wonder what is going on anymore. The people are waiting to buy a fresh ‘koláček’, the best in Prague, made with a lot of love and butter… Welcome to the mouth-watering world of Veronika Vávrová and her Kus Koláče bakery, where the work of skilful hands marries traditional reimagined recipes to give birth to A Piece of Cake.
TOUCHING THE HEART AND SOUL OF THE CZECH FAMILY
Baking has always been a significant part of my life. I would say that it is mainly because of my origin and culture. When you are born in the Czech Republic or Slovakia, baking is a type of generational activity that is part of your upbringing. I was no exception – I started to bake with my grandma and mom. I cannot imagine Christmas without baking our family recipes and sharing baked goods among family members, friends, and neighbours. The very first thing I baked was a simple gingerbread cookie. I will always remember its smell, my sticky fingers covered in dough, the taste, and the overall atmosphere, which I can feel even at this moment when I close my eyes.
Baking is my Zen and always has been. It has a magical power to transport yourself through memories and satisfy your heart and soul at the same time. I believe it is very important to remember our traditions, origins, and roots, because I have been noticing the lack of history in our generation in the nowadays “hipster” era. Baking and the tradition of sweets as a meal were indeed unique in former Czechoslovakia. I cannot think of any other culture that would eat sweet meals for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Rich kolaches, sweet dumplings, yeasts poppy seed buns, and tvaroh noodles with butter are just a couple of examples of our amazing cultural treasures.
Before opening our bakery, I felt that all the traditional baked goods tasted the same, nothing tasted inspired, and it was very difficult to find a Czechoslovak product where you would taste love infused into the pastry. And while I was baking just for fun for my friends and family, I started to realize that this could be a path I could take and improve upon and bring back to our generation – so you could not only remember your holidays with grandma baking bundt cakes, but you could also actually eat a pastry from Kus Koláče and relive at least a glimpse of that moment again.
MAKING CUSTOMERS A COMMUNITY
Our bakery started out as a small production – as a supplier of baked goods to different cafés in Prague. Our offer was simple but honest. Ever since we started, we have been using the most basic and natural ingredients of the highest quality. Traditional kolaches, buns, pies, strudels filled with poppy seeds, tvaroh, walnuts, local fruit and jams – simple recipes but reimagined, not only through our passion for baking but with care for every single ingredient chosen. We wanted to become a small neighbourhood bakery where we would establish a little extra besides the standard business-customer relationship. We were hoping to bring a piece of cake that would also connect our lives.
Nearly two years have passed since our opening, and we could not ask for a better start. It is amazing to see that a small traditional local bakery can really make a difference in the current modern era and in someone’s daily life. If you take the best of yourself and the best of quality ingredients available and put them into the product you offer, you can be sure that you will create a meaningful business that will succeed.
I love what I do and so does every member of our amazing team. We truly believe that you can taste not only honest ingredients, such as simple butter, but also our love and passion for what we create. We are so thankful that we have managed to establish a shop where customers become a community and happiness is shared through freshly baked buttery kolaches.