Love local: Czech craft food brands to support this holiday season

A new gastro initiative backed by Prague chefs is designed to boost the growth and visibility of small “craft” food brands.

Julie O'Shea

Written by Julie O'Shea Published on 13.12.2023 17:00:00 (updated on 13.12.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

The holiday shopping season has started in earnest, and many of us have likely been mulling over a similar dilemma – where to land a truly unique Christmas gift. 

In situations like this, the best thing to do is turn to your friends for suggestions. Especially the ones with really good connections.      

Crafted for Friends can help you tackle your shopping list this year. The new gastro initiative – established by Prague’s largest restaurant, Červený Jelen – was designed to boost the growth and visibility of small “craft” food and beverage companies in the Czech market. The collective encompasses artisan bakers, butchers, small-batch spirits and condiment makers, coffee roasters, and more.

"We want to show the Czechs, but also the whole of Europe, that even the smallest craft crafters can produce top-quality products that are fun, helpful and, most importantly, great,” says Jiří Panuška, co-owner of the restaurant Červený Jelen and one of the one of the initiators of the project.

"The Crafted for Friends project is open to all to quality craft makers and sellers, but also to all fans of non-craft products, food and drinks,” Panuška adds. “We would like to connect people who give their whole hearts, but also strive for excellence and build their businesses on high values.”

As members of the group, and with the support of Červený Jelen, these small companies can focus on what they do best – creating premium food and drink products that give the Czech consumer market more quality choices.

Whether you’re hunting for special ingredients for Christmas dinner or shopping for one-of-a-kind craft gifts for all the foodies in your life, these Crafted for Friends partners likely have just what you’re looking for.     


With a passion for sustainable and healthy foods, Živina (“Nutrient” in Czech) has made a name for itself with its pantry staples, including sauces, kimchi, bottles of vinegar and oils, and pickled vegetables. 

The company is offering a Christmas package that includes four sauces – BBQ Sauce, Hot BBQ Sauce, Chipotle Sauce and Port Sauce. The sauces were a collaborative effort between Živina and Červený Jelen. Patrik Jaroš, co-owner of Červený Jelen and a Michelin-starred chef, and Marek Fichtner, executive chef of Červený Jelen and formerly one of the judges of MasterChef Czechia, supervised the process.  


This boutique distillery based in the village of Tursko has scaled exponentially since its humble launching just over three years ago. It now distributes hand-crafted gins, vermouths, tonics, and an evolving catalog of one-off liquors and distillates across the country, as well as to the U.S., Hungary, Japan, and Thailand. The distillery continues to grow the lion’s share of its ingredients and keeps its bees, making a bottle from its shelves a real treasure.   

Landcraft’s apple collection – featuring aged apple brandy to vermouth – is one of its first products in the Crafted for Friends portfolio. The line includes cider apple, honey apple, oak apple and herb apple. 

Dos Mundos

The roots of this small Vinohrady roastery grew out of a trip to China that Lukáš Zugar took more than a decade ago where he drew “inspiration” from a Chinese copy of Starbucks. Today he and his wife, Adela, routinely travel the globe in search of the best coffee beans to bring home to Prague, where they run two cafes and hold regular coffee-related courses and workshops in their roastery.  

Beans from Mexico, Ethiopia, India, Guatemala, and Costa Rica are among Dos Mundos’ bestsellers. The roastery also partnered with artisan bakery Zrno zrnko, another Crafted for Friends company, to prepare a honey-processed coffee fermented with herbs from Columbia, especially for the Christmas season. 

Zrno zrnko

Zrno zrnko has opened several cafes around the city center over the past few years, but its multi-functional base in Nusle – which includes a children’s corner and a reading/working space where you can buy one of the secondhand books on the shelves – is where the baking magic takes place. The artisan bakery uses only the best basic ingredients to handcraft its delicious braids, pastries, and other treats. (Its coffee is from the Dos Mundos roastery.)        

Place an order for a batch of Zrno zrnko’s famous Christmas cookies or a “Box Full of Sugar,” which includes half a kilo of sweet delights.  

Čejka family butcher shop

This award-winning family-run butcher with a trusted century-old tradition emphasizes quality and freshness when it comes to its meat preparation. While its production is based in Pardubice, there is a Čejka shop and bistro in Karlín, where you can sample the butcher’s sausages, meatloaves, and pates.      

Browse Čejka’s extensive selection of sausages, hams, salamis and dried meats as well as the family’s beloved spreads for your holiday meal inspiration.   

The Real Meat Society

The Real Meat Society helped pioneer the dry-aging and organic meat industries in the Czech Republic over the last decade. Its locally sourced beef, pork, lamb, and free-range poultry are regularly touted to be among the best-quality meats in Prague.      

At its New Town shop, you’ll be able to pick from every possible cut of meat or order a Meat Box, which will set you up with your choice of meat for a week.  


The .pepper..field project launched in 2018 to make the fabulous Kampot pepper more widely available on the European market. The project, through the 100 percent fair trade purchase of pepper, aims to bring more economic growth to the small farmers who grow the peppers at the base of the Bokhor Mountains in Cambodia.      

Lovely designed Kampot pepper and salt packages will surely help spice up someone’s stocking this Chrstmas.   

Prague Chocolate Steiner & Kovarik

Prague Chocolate Steiner & Kovarik is a cherished Czech family-owned artisan chocolatier renowned for crafting high-quality, luxurious chocolates with a range of gourmet add-ins.

Their special Christmas sets, showcase the brand's most popular products. The Christmas dragees gift pack, gourmet pralines, and other creations reflect their dedication to quality and creativity, each a testament to the artistry of this small-scale producer.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more