One doesn't need to spend much time in Slovakia to realize Slovak people have a special relationship with their snacks - whether it is the all-time favourite Horalky wafer bar with peanut filling, the salty sticks (tyčinky) from DRU, bananas covered in chocolate (banány v čokoláde) or the endless supplies of Deva and Rumbaat grandma's house, these snacks have been a must-have in any Slovak household for decades. However, probably none of these snacks are as shrouded in legend as Chrumky.
What are Chrumky?
This peanut-coated corn snack somehow withstood the test of time in terms of taste and presentation and for decades has been synonymous with any party, movie-night, family visit or journey on the road. A party without Chrumky is like a hamburger without bacon - not done! Every Slovak without a nut allergy will have some memory connected to the sticky fingers you end up with after you unashamedly munched away an entire bag, only to be left with a sort of empty feeling of sadness because it was your last bag and the store is already closed.
Chrumky is the kind of stuff you don't just eat. No, you devour it till the last grain of sticky peanut dust is licked from your fingers. You probably don't even bother putting just half of the bag in bowl for comfortable eating, as there is no way you would leave the other half untouched in the food cupboard. It seems equally impossible to buy just one bag...mind you, these things go for 60 cents at Tesco. Before you realize it, you have stuffed three bags in your shopping basket and leave the store with a nagging feeling you probably should have grabbed a fourth one, just in case of emergency.
Where does Chrumky come from?
What makes Chrumky so fascinating, apart from this obsession among many Slovaks, is how little we actually know about the product and its manufacturer and how it somehow defies all laws of modern business.
Reading up about Chrumky online will not give you much to go on. Its manufacturer, MIVA spol. s.r.o., established and owned by a man call Dušan Kuča, has no company website, is nowhere to be found on social media, and does absolutely nothing in terms of marketing. The bag in which the Chrumky are sold has never changed its design since it first hit the shelves decades ago, so it still looks as socialistic as it could ever be. The taste never changed, which I guess confirms the saying "never change a winning concept." Mr. Kuča has zero interest in doing interviews and promoting his product which, by the way, seems to be the only thing produced by his company. All of this begs the question: how in chrumky's name can this company and this product still be in business?
Whether it is the taste, the wrapping, the memories, or the law-defying business-man behind it, Chrumky has nevertheless stood the test of time and become a household product that will probably never disappear. Veiled in mystery, Chrumky truly has become stuff of legend.