Klara's Gourmet Cookies - A Czech Family Tradition

Klara's Gourmet Cookies - A Czech Family Tradition

Every traditional family recipe bears the same importance in the culinary history of the world. Each recipe has a rich, cultural family story that is backed with a lifetime of emotional memories that quite often define who we grow in to and become as adults and the memories we carry in to our senior years. It's these non-replaceable stories we try to preserve when cooking for family and friends, such is the case with Klara's Gourmet Cookies. Their by-line says it all 'A Taste of Family Tradition'. Taste being the key element of Klara's Gourmet Cookies because her simplistic recipe for cookies is rich in flavor and packed with family history.

Founded in 2006, Klara's Gourmet Cookies are located in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Klara's family recipes for these cookies have been in the family for generations. These rich Czech baking traditions were passed down from her Grandmother.

When asked "Why do you feel it is important for families to pass down traditional recipes from generation to generation?", Klara responded with the below story in her own words:

"To me food is very nostalgic and social. We're all so busy with our lives that a lot of traditions are disappearing. We simply don't have enough time to share them. I always remember going to Grandma's house and looking in a cabinet for what kind of baked goods she was hiding in there. Also the whole the whole process of baking with her was awesome! I remember being little, maybe 5 years old, and she let me and my sister help her with baking cookies, making dough etc... I was covered with flour from head to toe and Grandma didn't really care; her motto was "let them be, they're kids and they learn by doing". 

Now some 30 years later, every time I make cookies...which is every day... I have that memory with me. I love sharing my recipes with my daughter and telling her about my memories and stories from my childhood with a hope that one day she can share similar memories with her children. I believe that traditions passed down from generation to generation are treasures. For example, our vanilla walnut crescent cookie is a staple on Czech cookie platter. It's one of the most traditional cookies we make; it's walnutty, buttery goodness that melts in your mouth. We call it the "time machine" and the reason is that every time we do an in-store demo the most frequent comment we hear is, "Wow! My grandmother used to make cookies that tasted just like these," and from that one little bite our customer is standing in Grandma's kitchen, therefore the name "time machine".

Around Christmas time all the women in our family get together for a weekend and just bake, decorate cookies, chat and eat. I love these times. It's so relaxing, loving and peaceful. I remember one year we made a double batch of vanilla crescents (a favorite in our family) 2 weeks before Christmas and my Mom hid it in a pantry on the top shelf... Well we kept sneaking in one or two cookies every day and when Mom went to put them out there was an empty box. Needless to say, Mom was not too happy with us. Now we laugh about it. 

I believe that with passed down traditions treasured memories are made and memories will always stay with you."

The tasteful power of a traditional family recipe has been proven by Klara's in the form of a nomination for a 2014 Sofi Award at this summer's recent Fancy Food Festival (a Sofi is the food equivalent of an Oscar and Klara's won the Silver Trophy). Her coconut macaroons specifically were one of 109 finalists selected by a national panel  of specialty food professionals, "It's truly an honor that my family recipe is being recognized in such a way," says Klara Sotonova, founder. 

You can get more information on ordering some of Klara's Gourmet Cookies for yourself at klarasgourmet.com

by Craig Chapman

Klara and her Family

Klara and her Family