I ended up here in a roundabout way."
As you enter the Farmers’ Market area, you’ll immediately notice the little stand with the flowery decorations, on which “UNGARN” (Hungary) is written quite simply but in big letters. Gizella, the operator of the stand, is the newest member of the Markthalle community and has been selling products from her homeland only since the beginning of 2016.
Gizella – you come from the small Hungarian town of Pécs, south of Budapest. How did you end up selling products from your homeland in Innsbruck of all places?
I ended up here in a roundabout way. I used to work in the Tyrol in the hotel industry and knew the Markthalle in Innsbruck from daytrips. I did a little research on renting a space and, because I find the atmosphere here so fantastic, the decision to found a “little Hungary” here was quickly made.
You have the typical Hungarian foodstuffs such as salami, paprika, dessert wines and spices in your range – but I also see other products that you wouldn’t immediately associate with Hungary.
The various types of honey that I offer here are produced by my family at home – it was only natural that I would offer them for sale here in the Tyrol. The chocolate, too, and the marzipan in my shop are traditional products that might not be thought of in Austria as being typically Hungarian. But the special brands that I offer have a long tradition in my homeland and are greatly appreciated by Hungarian customers in particular. It was also important to me that I offered not just foodstuffs but also the little bits and pieces that I associate with my homeland, so I also have ceramics and fabric bags that are decorated with typically Hungarian floral patterns.
Are there really so many people in the Tyrol with Hungarian roots?
I’m really surprised how many people have already heard about my stand and travel over sometimes quite long distances to shop here with me. But Austrians also appreciate Hungarian foods. Many have already visited Hungary on holiday and learned to love the cuisine. I have a little map here on which visitors like to show me where they have already been.
So you have made many of your compatriots very happy with your decision to move into the Markthalle.
Yes. I spend the majority of my time talking to people – something that I enjoy very much. I’m still learning German, after all, and at the beginning it was very difficult. laughs