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Xpat Interview: Izabella Zwack
Izabella Zwack was raised in a small village in one of Italy's more notable wine regions. In 1988 she joined her family upon their return to Hungary where her father Peter Zwack got to work restoring the family business producing Unicum, the definitive Hungarian spirit.
As head of the Zwack Unicum Wines Division, Izabella's focus has been on discovering small producers making 'big' wines for her brand Izabella Zwack Wine Selections. She is also an active advocate of the Hungarian wine industry, which she feels is rapidly moving in the right direction.
Her mother Anne Zwack is the writer of several guide books, and in 2006 she published her first novel, “The Diplomatic Corpse”. Back in the seventies and eighties Anne was a journalist working for American publications like Food & Wine and the travel section of the New York Times.
1.Where did you grow up? If not in Budapest, when did you move here?
I grew up in Bolgheri, a small village on the Tuscan coast, famous for it's 5 km Cyprus alley sung by Italy's most celebrated poet, Josué Carducci, today famous for producing Italy's 'hottest wines' Ornellaia and Sassicaia. We moved back to Hungary in 1988, I was 13 years old.
2.What are Hungarian traditions bring back fond memories of your childhood here? My father always saying 'Satöbbi, Satöbbi', 'Etc' - on the phone, that's what my beautiful Vizsla is called.
3.What would you miss most if you moved away from Hungary?
The factory, my winery, the Gellért, the Kádár étkezde, Liszt Ferenc Academy, Ecseri, my friends, good gypsy music.
4.Friends are in Budapest for a weekend--what must they absolutely see and do?
The above mentioned.
5.What is your favourite Hungarian food?
6.What is never missing from your kitchen?
Gin, Tonic, Unicum, my wine, a bottle of San Giovese, coffee, milk, pasta, tomato sauce, chili, parmesan cheese, lemons, spices.
7.What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
8.What's a job you would definitely never want?
9.Where did you spend your last vacation?
10.Where do you hope to spend your next one?
11.What was your favourite hobby as a teen?
Horse back riding.
12What can't you resist?
13.Red wine or white?
Both, and more.
14.Kolbasz or Salami?
15.Decaf or regular?
16.Book or movie?
17.Morning person or night person?
18.Dog person or cat person?
19.Buda side or Pest side?
20.What would you say is your personal motto?
Salad is one of the most overrated things in today's society.