Czech brand secretly imports ‘Znojmo pickles’ from Turkey, locals cry foul

Despite the regional Czech name, Znojmo pickles can be made anywhere

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 15.09.2020 13:56 (updated on 15.09.2020)

One of the delicacies from South Moravia is Znojmo pickles, but there have been complaints recently about poor flavor in one brand. A little digging in the dirt has turned up a possible cause: the pickles were actually made in Turkey due to a poor local harvest in Moravia, the eastern half of the Czech Republic.

One of the best-known makers of Znojmo pickles is the Znojmia brand, which claims to use the original recipe. Until recently, they also claimed their cucumbers came from exclusively from South Moravia, but that claim has quietly vanished from their advertising.

On a Facebook group dedicated to the city of Znojmo, several people said the new batch of pickles tasted like mud, and there was no crunch.

A PR manager of Orkla Foods Česko a Slovensko, which owns the Znojmia brand, confirmed to news server iDnes.cz that some production took place in Turkey.

“Although we have always produced and produce Znojmo pickles in the Czech Republic and we prefer to buy them from traditional domestic growers, we had to make use of temporary production in Turkey this year,” Orkla Foods’ Milan Linka said.

View of St. Nicholas Church in Znojmo, on the Czech Austrian border.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many cucumber growers did not plant a crop this year, and for those who did, unfavorable weather dramatically reduced their harvest.

“Production in Turkey, where there is enough quality raw material, is carried out according to traditional Znojmo recipes, including pickle marinate from the Czech Republic, and under the strict supervision of our experts from the plant in Bzenec [South Moravia],” Linka told iDnes.

So far the issue with imports seems to affect only the one brand.

According to experts, a muddy taste may be the due to water content, the cucumber type, or the freshness of the cucumber. For Znojmo pickles, the cucumber should be processed as soon as possible after picking to retain the crunchiness.

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Unlike some foods and beverages such as Champagne, which must come from a specific region of France, there is no legal protection in the European Union for using the term Znojmo pickles.

Pickles in Znojmo have a history going back to 1572, when a monk managed to sprout cucumber seeds from Hungary. Only certain types of cucumber will grow under local conditions. The ones in Znojmo are known for their crunchy texture and bumpy surface.

They have been an important part of the local economy ever since. Typical Znojmo pickles are a bit spicy, as hot peppers are used to help preserve them.

While South Moravia is known mainly for wine and wine festivals, there is also some pickle tourism. Travel promotion agency CzechTourism has been active in boosting Znojmo’s pickle scene.. “The beginning of August in Znojmo is given over to the Cucumber Festival. You can try them here in various forms, from the simplest pickled cucumber to refined specialties in local restaurants,” they said.