Current Affairs First kosher shop since WWII opens in Prague
For the first time since the war, a shop with kosher food has opened in the Czech capital. Located in Prague’s Old Town, just metres away from the all the attractions of the Jewish town, the shop now offers groceries for the upcoming holiday of Passover. But the shop owners say much more is yet to come.
Whether you’re planning to have people over for Passover this year, or if you’d just like to try some of the delicacies of Jewish cuisine, you’ll get all you need in King Solomon’s Bakery and Deli, a new kosher shop that opened just off Prague’s Jewish Quarter on Tuesday. The store offers matzos and gefilte fish as well as meat, wine and many other groceries that until now were only available on the internet. One of the owners, Michal Günsberger, opened a kosher restaurant in the early 1990s. He says a kosher grocery store was the logical next step.
“People were asking, ‘ok, you produce food, so can you open a restaurant?’ So we opened a restaurant, where mainly foreign tourists come. Over time, more and more people were interested in kosher food and Jewish cooking. But to run a kosher restaurant is very expensive, so we decided to open this shop to offer kosher food to the general public.”
At the moment, King Solomon’s Bakery and Deli only offers products Passover, as leavened products made from grains are prohibited during the two-day festival. The store’s owner says they sold things for the holiday last year, and the success made them consider opening a permanent store.
“We opened a small place for just two weeks, next to restaurant, and there was great interest, people were coming for matza, and we also heard of lot of stories when people came and remembered how kosher matza were made in Prague before the war. The Czech people can relate to this kind of food, and this is the reason why we chose this location. Many people come here to look for gourmet food; Bakeshop Praha is right next door, and the Gourmand. But we are also close the Jewish Quarter – the Spanish Synagogue is just a few metres from here.”
The shop should soon open its own bakery and also offer kishka, pastrami and other Jewish specialties. Michal Günsberger hopes that King Solomon’s Bakery and Deli will become a popular stop for Prague gourmets, and for everyone else.
“I’m not going to lie – the madness in Hollywood is also helping us because Paris Hilton, Madonna, Donald Trump and even David Beckham – they all eat kosher. Don’t ask me why, but some also covert to Judaism, like Madonna, who was our customer. From the business point of view, it’s sure great help, because we can buy larger quantities and go down the prices, and in effect, it’s more available for the rest of the people.”