Eva and Maria Konecsny grew up in a family of home bakers.
“Our Great Grandmother Rosa, our Oma Liesel and her two sisters were always crammed into the tiniest kitchen making cakes, noodles or a family meal,” recalls Eva of their childhood Christmases, often spent in their homeland of Germany. “Maria and I were involved from a very young age and we spent a lot of time with the four “Omas”.”
Their initial foray into the world of work had nothing to do with baking.
“We grew up in an entrepreneurial family and were always working or thinking up a new idea from a young age,” says Eva. “We both studied and then decided on a less traditional career path and started our venture together in small scale property investing. Buying, renovating ourselves and selling again in affordable regional areas mainly in Far North Queensland.”
Having learnt from their experiences in business, the sisters were eventually lured back into the world of culinary creativity, opening their unique self-scoop spice store in Carlton in 2010, followed by other stores including the South Melbourne Market stall which opened in 2019.
For Eva and Maria, the products in their stall are inextricably linked with happy memories and traditions.
“The process of cooking together with the kids, making recipes that we loved growing up, telling them about our childhood and Oma is very special,” says Eva. “At Christmas we bake “plätzchen” (Christmas cookies), celebrate the four Sundays of Advent, put the boots out overnight for St Nikolaus to fill them with goodies and organise our family Christmas Eve get together. We also embrace new traditions that bring the family together including Thanksgiving in Maria’s garden with a delicious Pork Roast feast using our Crunchy Pork Crackling Spice of course!
“A beautiful German Easter tradition is the Osterstrauch. This is a branch or small tree decorated with hand blown and decorated eggs.
“We usually make this with the children, poking pinholes at each end of the shell and blowing the contents out (saving the egg yolk and egg white mixture for Easter baking). Allowed to dry out, the egg shells are then dyed and hand painted. We hang the eggs from twigs in a vase by inserting a broken match with string or ribbons into the hole. The decorated eggs also make a great chocolate free Easter egg hunt!
“Easter baking is also important and there’s always plenty of Hot Cross Buns on offer. Osterkranz is a popular braided pastry made with a yeast dough that can be sweet or savoury and Easter Babka is a delicious alternative to hot cross buns that we all enjoy making together.”
Unsurprisingly, the sisters hope to pass on their passion for tradition and enjoying good quality food together through their products.
“Our mission at Gewürzhaus is to create inspiration to nurture cooking at home. We would like our customers to not see food as just substance or calories, but rather inspire them to get together with friends and loved ones and to connect through food and real conversation.”