Zeli!’s handmade traditional Czech sauerkraut is a naturally fermented, probiotic super food made in small batches from locally sourced produce. In addition to the traditional sauerkraut made with cabbage, salt and caraway seeds, owner Vrati Smida developed three flavours for the New Zealand market; chilli, coriander and ginger, and turmeric. Rich in vitamin C, B and K, sauerkraut balances stomach pH, helps break down proteins, is low in calories and high in calcium and magnesium, and is a good source of dietary fibre, folate, iron and potassium.

“Back home in Czech there is only one way to make sauerkraut and that is the Classic Caraway. It is so simple and delicious, but I wanted to create a product that could be used much more widely in New Zealand’s varied modern cuisine. About a year and a half ago I could not find any nice sauerkraut, everything was imported, pasteurised and vinegar added. Nothing raw, crunchy and fresh,” Smida said.

Using his Grandma’s recipe, he started creating four different flavours using an 1888 wooden mandolin brought over from his homeland. Smida uses a commercial kitchen in Orakei and is currently selling his product at local markets and via mail order. Smida plans to set up his own commercial kitchen for production, meaning he can upscale from 40kg per week to 140kg or more. Once he is able to supply a larger market, he wants to expand into specialist food stores and suppliers of vegan and raw products. He also plans to extend supply to other parts of the country and the restaurant trade.

For more information contact Vratislav Smida on 027 473 7475 or email zeli.cznz@gmail.com.