The smell of a fresh morning coffee in the damp of dawn. An adventurous jeep ride in the Káli Basin. You can explore the hidden beauties of the forest on endless paths, even on two wheels. Sunset barbecue by the lake or rooftop cooking over the citylights. The latter can now be enjoyed in addition to the delicate and special flavors of Chef Áron Kelemen, as well as in the company of Pinetime’s new garments. Pine, gastronomy and timeless fashion in one place. Let’s see!
The founders of Pinetime, Gergő Koczka and Péter Szalay, are enthusiastic surf and snowboard fans, so the concept of their brand is built around the love of nature and boardsports. Their product range evokes the lifestyle of recreational sports through casual clothing: they transfer the materials and technical solutions for extreme and active sportswear to streetwear. Their current novelties include their summer collection, which features light and easy-to-wear items rather than the usual technical clothing.
The foundations of the brand were laid in 2010, since then Pinetime has been revived and debuted with several novelties, which do not disappoint the brand lovers. In addition to the new summer soft and comfortable clothing, the founders of the brand also made other specialties: within the framework of their Pinetime Advocate initiative, we can now taste a real “evergreen” menu line together with Chef Áron Kelemen. “A Pinetime Advocate likes to wear the piece with the pine logo because nature is important to them and they spend their time creating something at all times,” the founders said. This is how they chose Áron, whose story and everyday life align nicely with the philosophy of Pinetime.
Natural flavoring in Pinetime style
Áron Kelemen, by the way, was a rower of the national team for twelve years, but eventually, he felt that he needed a break from sports, so he started to do catering.
“Kitchen is often like sports to me,” he began.
“It’s a hard, monotonous environment, you can’t miss a blow, you can’t leave out anything in a meal, everything has to be perfect,” he continued. Since his family had a restaurant in Baja, he took over the management of the fishermen’s inn, then made a professional detour in the Swiss mountains, where it was finally clear to him that indeed cooking and cuisine were his vocation.
Within the framework of their cooperation with Pinetime, Áron’s idea of the dishes of a gourmet menu is based on a symbol that summarizes the spirit of Pinetime: the pine, of which he tries to smuggle almost all parts into the food. Seasonality, the use of fresh, vitamin-rich and tastier vegetables and fruits, which not only make the dishes more delicious, but also more cost-effective, was another guiding factor in implementing the dishes. In connection with the collaboration, Áron also answered some of our questions. Interview.
What inspires you in Pinetime’s brand philosophy?
Pinetime, in my view, is a brand that connects urban life with nature. It’s inspiring because it describes my current phase. I’m currently working in the city center and all my interests tie me here. Nevertheless, as I grew up near nature, I always had a strong connection with rivers, forests and mountains.
As a chef, what does closeness to nature mean to you?
I rowed for more than ten years competitively, which meant that we spent our daily workouts either rowing on the water or running in the woods. So even then, it was natural for me to take a cauldron with some ingredients down to the Danube and cook something delicious on a driftwood. I love cooking with open-air fire: in addition to cooking, it can also be grilling or BBQ. At home, in downtown Budapest, on the seventh floor, if I cook meat, I obviously do it with my own GreenEgg ceramic grill, on charcoal. And when I travel somewhere, there’s always room in the trunk for a cauldron and a small BBQ oven.
How common is pine as an ingredient in gastronomy?
Several elements of the pine have a very special flavor, but they are not a common ingredient at all. What most people know, and what Mediterranean cuisine often uses, is the pine nut, which belongs to oil seeds, and is a healthy supplement, for example, to salads. Less well-known parts are pine bud and pine needles: the former can be used to make a pleasant syrup. I once spent some learning time in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Denmark where we fermented pine needles and made sorbet out of them.
What’s your favorite dish from the Pinetime menu, and why?
The roasted eggplant salad with lamb kofta, inspired by the gastronomy of the Middle East. It’s very harmonious with the trio of eggplants, pine nuts and lamb.
Discover the dishes of the menu dreamed up by Áron Kelemen and inspired by Pinetime.
Pine nuts with roasted eggplant salad
Lamb kofta grilled on charcoal (with pine nuts)
Duck breast smoked on pine branches
Pine nuts with apricot and jam
Asparagus salad with pine bud vinaigrette
Pine bud spritzer (Irsai, pine bud syrup, carbonated water, orange)
For now, Pinetime leaves it to everyone’s imagination when and where they want to cook together with their friends, but they want the pine menu to be the main course of Friday night barbecues. In the meantime, the good news for grilled food lovers is that Áron also opened his new Petrol beer and barbeque restaurant, where experimental new wave barbeque cuisine awaits the guests.