INTERVIEW WITH Jana Zumbaum

If you live in Barcelona, you’ve surely had the chance to taste some of Jana Zumbaum’s creations. Via her project Más Meriendas, Jana stocks up the city’s specialty cafés with her delicious treats. Her cookies, cakes and granola bars have become the must-have accessory to a good coffee. She also bakes delightful and delectable cakes for celebrations and parties, decorating them with edible flowers and extra love.

Thanks to her other project, La Mesa, created in collaboration with friend Mariló, last year Jana transported us back to our childhood with a recipe for beignets to make as a family. (You can find it in the following link).

Today we want to share Jana’s project with you and discover the woman behind each sweet treat.

How did Más Meriendas begin? What led you to start your own business?

Without a doubt, becoming a mother made me switch paths, change pace and change my life. I studied to be an architect, but one day I suddenly felt that I wanted to connect with that I always wanted, to grow and manage myself, and be able to balance that with my new responsibilities as a mother. That’s how Más Meriendas was created, in a small, quiet manner and it’s been growing with me in a very organic way. I started working out of my home kitchen and now, I’ve had my own bakery for three years. I let it grow like that, and while it sounds far more idyllic than it is - having your own business is so much work - I wouldn’t change a thing.

Was there a turning point that led you to leave your career as an architect to dedicate your life to the kitchen? What advice would you give to someone who wants to do something similar?

In all honesty, my architecture studies were long and hard and I never found the space to be creative or develop my own work style, or the freedom I needed. But it wasn’t until I finished, and while pregnant with my first child, that I stopped to think about what I truly wanted to do. Reflecting on it now, perhaps I could have had that moment sooner, but I needed that strong shift to happen in me for this to come about. So I’m grateful for everything I learned in my studies, despite having changed course completely. The only advice I can give is to trust in life, don’t be afraid, and most of all don’t lose your connection to yourself and your inner voice. Your job needs to fit your life, not the other way around.

What flavors most remind you of your childhood?

It’s a cliché, but there is some truth to it. In Germany, cakes and snacks are very important in our day-to-day lives. My mother likes to skip lunch so she can really enjoy her afternoon tea. I don’t go to such extremes and am fairly strict with sweets, but the smell of a cake fresh out of the oven, with toasted hazelnuts and chocolate, or buttery shortbread cookies, those smells transport me back to my childhood. Another thing I love and that whenever I can I bring over from Germany is seeded rye bread. I eat it with plenty of butter. I guess it would have been simpler to just say ‘butter’ :)

When you imagine your “perfect” culinary experience, what soundtrack would be playing?

It really depends... when decorating a cake, I like listening to Belle and Sebastian for example, music that lifts me up and gets me singing. If I’m sitting down enjoying a meal, I might say silence, or perhaps background piano music, something like Bill Evans. There’s so much noise during the day between the oven, the city, the kids... I like to limit the stimuli when I can and just focus on one thing!

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