Archive for the ‘Polish Recipes, Food & Drinks’ Category
Monday, April 4th, 2016
A total of 52 restaurants have been recognized by the Michelin Guide for 2016 in Poland: 28 (up 4 on 2015) in Warsaw and 24 (up 3 on 2015) in Cracow. Atelier Amaro restaurant in Warsaw specializing in seasonal Polish cuisine held on to it’s one-star for the third year! A new restaurant, Senses, also based in Warsaw received one-start this year making it the second restaurant in the country to hold the esteemed distinction. Senses restaurant describes itself as “combining modern cooking techniques with classic Polish and international traditions.”
Chef at Belvedere restaurant in Warsaw, Poland.
The rest received anywhere from one “fork and spoon” designation to four; two Warsaw restaurants received Bib Gourmand mark and a NEW for 2016, Zazie restaurant in Cracow also received Bib Gourmand mark by offering “exceptional good food at moderate prices”.
Excited to point out that four restaurants on Poland Culinary Vacations itineraries are recommended in the 2016 Michelin Guide: Ale Gloria, U Fukiera, Belvedere and U Kucharzy in Warsaw.
WARSAW 2016 Michelin Guide Recommended Restaurants
Atelier Amaro – * Michelin Star
Senses – * Michelin Star
Michel Moran – Bistro de Paris
Platter by Karol Okrasa
Brasserie Warszawska – Bib Gourmand
Strefa – NEW for 2016
Dom Polski Francuska
Dom Polski Belwederska – NEW for 2016
U Kucharzy – NEW for 2016
Butchery and Wine – Bib Gourmand
L’enfant terrible – NEW for 2016
Opasly Tom – NEW for 2016
Dom Wodki – NEW for 2016
Hoza – NEW for 2016
CRACOW 2016 Michelin Guide Recommended Restaurants
Amarylis – NEW for 2016
Cyrano de Bergerac
Pod Nosem – NEW for 2016
Bottiglieria 1881 – NEW for 2016
Zazie – NEW for 2016 – Bib Gourmand
Miodova – NEW for 2016
Hana Shusi – NEW for 2016
Smacznego! – Enjoy! – Bon Appétit!
Thursday, July 2nd, 2015
The Tri-City, an urban complex extending along the Bay of Gdansk in the north of Poland, is one of Poland’s largest tourist attractions. The cities are especially popular during summer months, where vacationers flock to enjoy beautiful beaches of the Baltic Sea coast, luxurious SPAs and delicious food, especially seafood.
Flounder served at Brovarnia Gdansk
Gdynia’s famous and historic Fish Hall offers all kinds of fresh seafood and is a must-see for any foodie. The Polish Baltic coast is rich in herring, flounder, eel, cod, turbot and salmon. Many culinary events are organized “To Taste Pomorskie”, like the Slow Fest Sopot, Cod Fish Harvest, and weekend breakfast markets. Here are a few recommendations for best restaurants in the Tri-City offering delicious, fresh, seafood, Kashubian regional specialties and more traditional Polish fare:
Restauracja Pod Lososiem
Restauracja Tlusta Kaczka – Polish cuisine restaurant
Restauracja Kubicki – wonderful Polish food with piano music
Restauracja Velevetka – offering traditional Kashubian cuisine
Restauracja Wave at Sheraton Sopot Hotel – offering regional, Polish and mediterranian cuisine
Restauracja Bulaj – Sopot
Bar Przystan – order delicious fisherman’s soup!
To join us on culinary journey through the Tri-City view our day-by-day itinerary for September 2015 “Coastal Cooking in Pomerania and Gdansk” trip CLICK HERE
See you in beautiful Gdansk, Sopot & Gdynia in 2015!
Monday, March 11th, 2013
If you love traditional Polish dishes, you’ll also love sophisticated modern Polish cuisine at the following trendy restaurants in major cities throughout Poland.
Warsaw is leading, with talented Polish chefs opening their own restaurants and bravely mixing old and new. Pay them a visit on your next trip to Poland and you’ll be in for a “tasty” surprise!
Warsaw – Warszawa:
Chef Karol Okrasa (left) at Platter restaurant in Warsaw, Poland.
Platter Restaurant is led by chef Karol Okrasa
. Here food is a form of an art. After all, art is all about arranging elements in a way that they stimulate our senses, beckon our eyes, provoke our thoughts, and tease our emotions. Chef Karol Okrasa creates flavours that evoke many things: warm memories of long-forgotten childhood tastes, a surprising sense of fun, and an invitation to take pure pleasure in food.
Karol Okrasa is one of Poland’s most celebrated and popular chefs. He hosted a few, very popular TV shows and wrote a book: “Cook with Okrasa”, which includes 105 of his own recipes.
As an expert in local cuisine, he promotes the use of Polish flavours in dishes, and offers distinctive combinations. He delights in combining familiar natural ingredients with unusual and forgotten ones, and in giving traditional Polish cuisine a modern flair.
His philosophy is: food in not only an occupation, it’s a lifestyle.
Tamka 43 Restaurant
Tamka 43 restaurant is a magical place. It’s an authorial project of Pawel Kwiatkowski, a well known promoter, concert and event producer and Robert Trzópek, one of the most famous Polish chefs. Chef Trzopek gained his experience among others in the Copenhagen’s Noma and the Spanish elBulli restaurants. Menu at the restaurant changes regularly and is entirely based on the best, carefully selected and seasonal Polish and European ingredients. Surprising combination of flavors and sous vide cuisine make up for the unique character of this place.
Sowa & Friends Restaurant
Robert Sowa cooked for the Polish national soccer team, the luxurious Jan III Sobieski hotel in Warsaw and composed menus for LOT National Polish Airlines. Last year he decided to open his own restaurant. Sowa & Friends quickly became one of the most famous restaurants in Warsaw, certainly a must see or rather a “must taste”.
Robert Sowa loves seafood and is a big promoter of old, forgotten Polish recipes: simple, interesting and healthy.
How Sowa creates his excellent dishes?
“Provisions are formed in the head, on paper, in a pot, a pan, a plate. I can compare it to compose music. Composer hears sounds, I feel the taste. He creates a song, I mentally compose a dish, even though I’m not sure what it will be. He arranges the score, start to write down notes, I write down products. He sets his orchestra, I instruct cooks. He has the instruments, I ingredients. He begins to play, I cook. At the end his work is assessed in concert halls, my on a plate.”
(source: Robert Sowa webpage: http://www.sowarobert.pl/ ).
Atelier Amaro Restaurant – Poland’s First Michelin-Starred Restaurant!
They do not work with the “la carte” concept, instead they offer prestigious menus in different formats, from three to eight delicious dishes, introducing supreme Polish flavor combinations. Atelier Amaro is also a member of Slow Food Poland Association. Last year, Atelier Amaro became the first restaurant in Poland rewarded by the prestigious Michelin Rising Star, appearing in the world’s best culinary guide and this March became the first restaurant in Poland to be awarded Michelin Star for culinary excellence! Atelier’s chef, Wojciech Modest Amaro, is the author of a bestselling book: “Polish Cuisine of 21st Century” and one of the most award–winning Polish chefs. He developed his skills with famous chefs, like Ferran Adria (Elbulli), Yanick Alleno (Le Meurice), and Rene Redzepi (Noma).
Chef Wojciech Amaro likes to show that being creative with traditional dishes can give magnificent results.
Opasły Tom PIW Restaurant
Arranged in the interior of the National Institute of Publishing (PIW) bookstore, Opasły Tom PIW shares tradition with an old café, that existed here in the 60s, visited by many Polish actors and writers.
Opasły Tom PIW is led by Agata Wojda, a very talented Polish chef. Menu in the restaurant is always short, sophisticated, and tasty! It includes dishes made from locally sourced, specially selected products. Juices are brought in from Maurerów, sheep cheese and other cheeses from the shepherd Wojtek Komperda, herbs from Maciejowice village and eggs only from the chicken barn and farm in Podlasie region, in eastern Poland. Opalsy Tom PIW is a place worth visiting if you’d like to experience the best of local cuisine!
Magda Gessler’s famous AleGoria restaurant is more than a restaurant. It is an invitation to meet Polish art and Polish cuisine – fine, intelligent, drawing on tradition, and at the same time served in a contemporary setting. AleGoria may be called an embassy of Polish art in a modern version. “The art in harmony with the universe, the art that might impress contemporary Europe” – Magda Gessler points out. It is a ‘Polish culinary fusion’. If you want borscht, it has got to be prepared with raspberry syrup and beets marinated in balsamic vinegar. Tomato soup requires dill and a fresh pickled cucumber. Faworki (deep-fried pastry ribbons)? Yes, but … made of carp on kogel mogel (egg yolk stirred with sugar). ‘Polish fusion’ is also expressed by the interior design. Kurpie paper cuttings decorating … a modern elevator. Stags antlers of …. wooden branches and doll beads. Easter palms at the entrance all year round. Traditional embroideries made by Polish highlanders (the so called “parzenica”) and lace tablecloths.
Magda Gessler is the most recognizable Polish chef. She hosted Polish version of “Kitchen Nightmares” and “Master Chef” TV shows. She’s not only a chef, but also a painter. Her restaurants have most astonishing and wonderful look among all Polish restaurants!
Kraków – Cracow:
Herring appetizer from Ancora restaurant in Krakow, Poland.
Ancora Restaurant, lead by chef Adam Chrząstowski is a unique place. If you visit Ancora during winter season, you will encounter a special menu, to make a chilly weather a little warmer.
The chef and the co-founder of Ancora Restaurant Adam Chrząstowski is a philosopher by education, but he dedicated his career to flavours, aromas and wine at a young age.
He learned his cooking skills in Switzerland, Poland (prestigious Hotel Bristol restaurant led by Kurt Scheller) and… China. Adam worked for two years at two Shanghai restaurants. This experience enabled him to create his unique, signature cooking style, famed for unconventional fusion of flavours and aromas.
Menu changes often, according to season, or upcoming holidays.
After exploring Wawel Castle, and Krakow Market Square visit Ancora Restaurant for a delicious meal full of surprises!
The Tricity – Gdańsk, Sopot, Gdynia:
Metamorfoza Restaurant – Gdansk
Located in the city of Gdansk by the Baltic sea, Metamorfoza restaurant offers very interesting mix of Polish cuisine with plenty of seafood dishes.
At Mertamorfoza traditional Polish cuisine is combined with flavours from many other regions of the world; some ingredients undergo molecular change to enrich taste values. A vast majority of dishes are cooked sous vide, the products are fresh, not frozen, and come from regional suppliers, ecological farms, and fishermen – straight from their fishing boats.
Walczyk Smaków Restaurant – Gdynia
“Restaurant only for connoisseurs of outstanding flavors.” The restaurant “Walczyk Flavors” welcomes guests interested in fine dining, sophisticated both in terms of menu selection, master cooking and serving the professional qualified personnel experienced in handling VIP guests.
Why the “Walczyk Flavors” is so special?
It’s friendly for business meetings and foreign tourists, offers discretion, care for the atmosphere and most importantly an outstanding menu. .
Simply put, “Walczyk Flavors” is worth experiencing for two good reasons:
First, the Chef – Jarek Walczyk, forever committed to offering top quality ingredients in all of his carefully prepared recipes.
Second, is “Thursday’s Live Cooking”. It’s very attractive form of spending time during business, family or friends meeting. All participants can take an active part in the preparation of dishes, which enriches the event. So, if you would like to try to cook with a master chef, visit “Walczyk Flavors”.
Art Hotel Restaurant
The capital of Lower Silesia offers many good restaurants, in which traditional Polish cuisine is mixed not only with modern flavors, but also with regional, Silesian dishes.
Good example of that is an Art Hotel restaurant, lead by chef Grzegorz Pomietlo. Located in a renaissance tenement, one the few so good preserved in Wroclaw, with authentic stone portals, and 18 century paintings, offers highly varied cuisine. If you want to try regional flavors of Lower Silesia, it will be a very good choice. The cuisine of Wroclaw is like it’s history; rich, fascinating, and still not completely discovered. It’s recipes were influenced with many other cultures.
Grzegorz Pomietlo is not afraid to present you with these flavors, and mix them with many modern recipes, creating tasty, unforgettable cuisine.
Pork knuckle served with horseradish sauce at JaDka restaurant.
JaDka Restaurant is located in a cozy Wrocław theatre nook, near old, medieval butcher shops. Under its Gothic vault you will find a rich variety of flavors. The appetizing aroma of sauces and pungent smell of spices emphasize the unrepeatable nature of Polish cuisine. All this is completed with a subtle nonetheless inspiring composition of salads.
At JaDka you can experience the taste of cold yogurt-and-beetroot soup, Zurek – sour rye soup eaten with potatoes, white sausage, hard-boiled egg and sometimes served in a bread bowl, golden chicken consommé with noodles, double fried lard mixed with onion, marjoram, apples or prunes – often spread over bread and served together with pickles as an appetizer before the main meal, steak tartar: raw minced beef with chopped onion and raw yolk, beef sirloin with mushroom sauce, Polish sausages, spare pork ribs in honey, roasted or grilled lamb, Bigos – seasoned “Hunter’s Stew” made from sauerkraut with chunks of various meats and sausages, Jewish carp in aspic with raisins, pierogi – very traditional small white dumplings, larger than ravioli, filled with sauerkraut and mushrooms, cheese and potatoes or with fruit or meat, pastry twisters, cheesecake, cake with apples and many, many more delicious desserts.
On your next travels to Poland experience Polish tastes at these trendy restaurants and you will not be disappointed. SMACZNEGO!
Saturday, November 3rd, 2012
Where to find the best food souvenirs in Poland?
Are you looking for great tasting, high-quality food products to bring back from Poland? One of the nice things about buying Polish food gifts is that they’re always appreciated! In Poland, there’s a vast range of branded food products of high quality. You can find them in Polish culinary stores, which are located not only in Warsaw but also in other major Polish cities. These shops sell food such as sweets, liquors or famous Polish sausages. All products are sold in traditional, beautiful wrappings, which makes them even more attractive.
Poland Culinary Vacations guests visiting – E. Wedel Staroświecki Sklep in Warsaw, Poland
The most famous brand is Poland’s largest and oldest confectionery company E.Wedel . The company has gained recognition not only in Poland, but also abroad. There are many varieties of chocolates produced by E. Wedel but its best brands are: Ptasie Mleczko, Torcik Wedlowski or Mieszanka Wedlowska. Although Wedel products are sold in every supermarket in Poland, the company has its own unique, chocolate shops and lounges. In Warsaw it is Staroświecki Sklep often visited by tourists. But, the lounges can be found throughout Poland in shopping malls and market squares. The tradition of Polish lounges is quite old but today they are real chocolate-lovers attractions. While there, you may taste delicious chocolate desserts, drinks made with white, milk or dark chocolate. To find out more about the lounges visit Wedel’s lounges website.
Mieszanka Wedlowska- Wedel’s popular candies
In Krakow (Cracow), you can find a place for lovers of real chocolate – Lwowska Manufaktura Czekolady
(Manufacture of chocolate), located on Szweska
street. It’s a place where chocolate is not only sold, but it’s also made right in front of you, step-by-step!
Manufacture of chocolate
Variety of chocolate
You can watch how to make delicious chocolate in different shapes like: shoes, animals, cars, monuments and even furniture from chocolate.
Chocolate motorbike for your husband
Chocolate shoe for your wife or chocolate motorbike for your husband – it can be really original and sweet souvenir!
To taste more traditional Polish products, you must visit a very elegant and popular culinary store, Krakowski Kredens (Kraków Pantry). This high quality brand sells traditional Polish food. Krakowski Kredens products are wrapped elegantly, and can be found in main Polish cities. The range of products varies from sausages and honeys to sweets and liquors. If you need some souvenirs you can either choose from delicious, elegant foods or you may also buy beautiful porcelain.
Krakowski Kredens-Kraków Pantry- some of the store’s products.
Since Poland is famous for its tasty, high-quality cold-cuts and sausages you should try terrine of hare or loin of pork in Skarby Smaku,
another Polish culinary store. Unfortunately, the stores are located only in Warsaw. However, there’s a possibility to order all Skarby Smaku products online.
All kinds of quality preserves, candies, syrups are also available at Produkty Benedyktynskie, Benedicite. The stores purchase not only foods but also hand-made craft products or cosmetics made of natural ingredients. The items are beautifully wrapped and may be sold as great gifts. Benedicite’s main store is located in Kraków but there are three other locations in Warsaw.
Produkty Benedyktynskie – Benedicite’s products
In Poland, you can also find nice gifts for cheese-lovers. For example, a traditional smoked sheep cheese called Oscypek,
you can buy in Zakopane (in the mountains in the south of Poland).
Oscypek – traditional cheese from Zakopane
is smoked-dried, so you don’t have to be afraid of your journey. You can easily bring it home for your family and friends. Oscypek
has a little bit salty and original taste. You should try it!
Maybe would you like to buy some Polish vodkas, meads or wines? For example, Żubrówka – Bison grass vodka – makes a nice gift. It can be served in shot glasses or as a cocktail drink mixed with apple juice. You can find Żubrówka in every supermarket, grocery store and liquor store around Poland.
Żubrówka – traditional Polish vodka
Your family and friends will love Made in Poland, delicious food souvenirs! Make them happy!
Saturday, September 29th, 2012
Autumn in Poland is really beautiful! A lot of colorful leaves, chestnuts, landscape is changing, days are getting colder and colder…
Beautiful autumn colors
What are Polish people doing to warm up? Eating soups! Typical Polish soups are famous all over the world!
Thick and hearty soups made in Poland often contain vegetables, meat, eggs, rice or noodles and are eaten as full dish with bread slices for lunch. Soups are one of traditional foods, eaten throughout the year. Definitely, you should try it during your vacations in Poland! It’s mandatory! Soups are also a great source of vitamins and minerals! Made mainly with vegetables – excellent to keep you warm and cold free during long autumn and winter months! There are variety of Polish soups, you can find a few examples below:
Kapuśniak (cabbage soup)
Pomidorowa (tomato soup)
Grzybowa (mushrooms soup)
Another typical Polish soup is Żurek – Polish Sour Soup made with sausages and hard boiled eggs. Żurek is often eaten on Easter Sunday morning during breakfast celebration. If you like to cook, you can try to prepare it on your own! Here’s a recipe for Zurek – Polish Sour Soup and enjoy!
Żurek – Polish Sour Soup
Ingredients in this recipe:
- 6 cups sausage cooking water (fat removed)
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 link white Polish sausage, casing removed, sliced 1/4″ thick
- 1 link smoked Polish sausage, casing removed, sliced 1/4″ thick
- 6 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks and boiled
- 6 hard-cooked sliced eggs
- 6 slices light or dark rye bread
- salt and pepper
- In a large pot, add sausage water and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 5 minutes.
- Fork-blend the flour and sour cream. Temper the sour cream with a little hot sausage water, then return to pot, stirring until thickened. Add sausages, potatoes and eggs to pot and heat until warmed through. Season to taste. At this point, some people add a pinch of sugar or a tablespoon of vinegar. The soup should have a pleasantly sour taste.
- Into 6 heated bowls, tear rye bread into bite-sized pieces. Ladle hot soup over bread.
Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
Although Poland is not among the European leaders in exporting cheese, cheese is very popular in Poland and grocery stores sell many types of cheeses in variety of flavours. There are as many as 60 varieties listed on The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Poland website on the List of Regional and Traditional Products made in Poland. The most famous – oscypek – has been recognized by the European Union and is a protected trade name under the European Union’s Protected Designation.
Oscypki sheep cheese production process.
Oscypki sheep cheese production process.
Oscypki sheep cheese production process.
Oscypki sheep cheese production process.
Oscypki sheep cheese production process.
Eating cheese is seen as absolutely essential in a healthy diet. In Poland, most popular are artisan cheeses made from organic ingredients in small quantities on family farms. Polish cheeses together with breads are considered to be very unique and of high quality. Cheese is also a crucial ingredient of many traditional dishes, for example the filling of pierogi ruskie – stuffed dumplings, contains white cheese called twaróg, potatoes and onion.
Polish regional appetizers. Smoked sheep cheese, butter, moskole - regional potato pancakes and cranberry jam.
Because Poles love “slow” and organic foods, there are many varieties of Polish artisan cheeses. They may be soft or hard, made from cow, sheep or goat milk, but the flavor is always rich and exquisite. Food festivals and workshops are often held in various regions of Poland where attendees learn the secrets of artisan cheese making. Every June, a very popular cheese festival,“Czas Dobrego Sera” (“Time for Good Cheese”) is held in Lidzbark Warminski, in Warmia-Mazuria region of Poland.
Here are our choices of small artisan cheese producers from around Poland, whose products are really worth tasting!
When heading to Greater Poland region, one should try Kreuzer cheese, made by awarded producer – Ekosery. Kreuzer cheese is made from fresh milk, rennet, spring water and rock salt. In Dutch forms the cheese ripens for at least one month. It is served plain or with basil, oregano or caraway seeds.
Kreuzer cheese. The winner of many awards in 2009. The name is protected under Polish Patent Office.
Awarded Cygier cheese, produced by Ekosery and protected under Polish Patent Office. Very delicate and unique. Albuminous cheese, which belongs to the category of whey cheeses. Tastes similarly to ricotta.
In Warmian- Masurian region, sheep’s milk cheese can be sampled in Sorkwity. If you like famous French Roquefort, you’ll probably love hand-made blue sheep’s milk cheese which you can taste in Ranczo Frontiera
For those who like cheeses with herbs and garlic, Sery Gradzkie (Greater Poland region) offer garlic cheese made from cow and sheep milk or other rennet.
Sery Gradzkie. Ripening. The production of artisan cheese is more complex but the flavor is very rewarding.
If you’re in Bieszczady Mountains (Subcarpathian Voivodeship), try exquisite sheep’s milk or goat’s milk cheeses, which are considered to be the healthiest. Visit Family Organic Farm “FIGA”, where all products are hand-made. You may try bryndza (traditional goat cheese) quark or Vallachai goat smoked cheese. To find out more about artisan cheeses from “FIGA” Farm visit their English website http://www.serykozie.pl/rge_eng/index.htm
Bryndza produced by "Figa" Farm. Traditional rennet cheese made of sheep’s milk. Strong and distinctive taste goes perfectly with whole wheat bread.
Poland is also famous for its white cheese called twaróg. Twaróg or twarożek is made of soured milk. It is usually served with chives, garlic or radishes. What’s more, twaróg cheese features as a basic ingredient of various foods: appetizers, cheesecakes, sweet crepes, dumplings or pasta. There‘s a whole range of twaróg cheese sold in grocery stores throughout Poland.
Polish twaróg - white cheese
Of course the best known Polish cheese is oscypek made in the southern, mountainous region of Poland. Oscypek is smoked cheese made of salted sheep milk. The recipe is strictly protected and even the shape can’t be changed. Oscypek is produced exclusively in the Tatra Mountains region of Poland, and is considered to be Polish delicacy. Similar to oscypek is gołka cheese however, it’s made of cow’s milk and has a different spindle shape.
Various types of smoked Polish cheese, including oscypek, displayed in Kraków
Traditional yellow cheeses, for example, tylżycki are also very popular in Poland. Commonly sold sliced, yellow cheeses are used on sandwiches or kanapki.
Popular yellow cheese
Cheese is the basic ingredient of one of the most favourite Polish cakes – traditional cheesecake or sernik. There are many variations and recipes of this dessert but Poles prefer traditional cheesecake with thin crust and fresh cheese topping. It may be flavoured with raisins or covered with chocolate.
Traditional cheesecake with sugar glaze
If you want to bake traditional, Polish cheesecake, try this easy recipe:
4.5oz or 125 gram of margarine
3.5oz or 100 gram of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
10.5oz or 300 gram of baking flour
2.2lb or 1 kg of white cheese
2 glasses of sugar
Lemon juice (from one lemon)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a bowl knead all the dough ingredients until smooth. Roll the dough. Grease a spring form pan and press ¾ of the dough into the bottom .
Mix well cheese filling ingredients and cover the dough. On top of cheese filling add the remaining ¼ of the dough. Bake in preheated over for 60 to 70 minutes. You can use sugar or chocolate glaze for topping.
Many of Poland Culinary Vacations trips include visits with artisan cheese makers and hands-on cheese making in various regions of Poland. Learn more and view pictures from past trips on our website: www.PolandCulinaryVacations.com
Saturday, December 24th, 2011
Christmas trees, lights and colorful ornaments usually come to mind when we think about Christmas. However, in Poland, Christmas celebrations are always related to feasting and unique dishes served only during the traditional Christmas Eve dinner. Similarly to Easter, Poles have rich culinary traditions as they celebrate The Birth of Christ. The preparations start many days before Christmas because traditionally there are twelve dishes served during the Christmas Eve dinner. Today, not every Polish household follows this custom but even if there are not exactly twelve dishes, they are very unique and rarely served at any other time of the year. Moreover, the number twelve is very symbolic; there were twelve apostles and twelve months in a year.
Pieces of blessed wafer - opłatek
During the Christmas Eve dinner pieces of blessed wafer or oplatek are handed around and broken. This beautiful tradition is kept not only in Poland but all over the world among people of Polish ancestry.
Herring with onion served during the Christmas Eve dinner
Wigilia dinner is traditionally a meatless fare. Fish, such as carp or herring is often served. Other typical dishes include cabbage stew with mushrooms, Christmas Eve borscht with dumplings or barszcz z uszkami and dumplings with various fillings or pierogi. For dessert, there’s poppy seed roll or makowiec, honey-spiced cake or piernik, fruit cake, fruit compote and gingerbread cookies orpierniczki. In some parts of Poland, kutia is served, a very unique dessert with wheat and honey. Similar, but not so sweet is makówki, a dessert made of bread, poppy seeds and honey. Makówki is a South – Western Poland delicacy and kutia is popular in Eastern and Central Poland.
Makowiec - poppy seed roll
All the dishes are put on a carefully set table. Traditionally straw is put under white tablecloth. There is also an additional seat kept for a stranger who may appear during the Christmas Eve and would be invited to join in the feast. After Wigilia dinner, families sing Christmas carols or kolędy and exchange presents. At midnight, many people in Poland, even non-Christians, attend the midnight Mass, known as Pasterka – “the Mass of the Shepherds”.
Home-made gingerbread cookies or pierniki beautifully decorated with various sprinkles. See the recipe below.
To bake Polish Gingerbread Cookies please try this easy recipe:
Polish Gingerbread Cookies
10 dkg or 4oz of honey
7 flat teaspoons of spices (ginger, nutmeg, cloves)
1 tablespoon of water (should be added to honey)
30 dkg or 10oz of flour
30 dkg or 10oz of butter
8 teaspoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking soda
Dissolve spices with honey and a teaspoon of warm water and let the mixture cool down. In a large bowl, combine and knead flour, butter, sugar, eggs and honey. Place dough in the refrigerator for half an hour. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Put on a greased form and heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius or 300 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for about 20min.
Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
There are many religious holidays celebrated in Poland, but certainly Easter holiday is the most important. This is the time when Poles commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Interestingly, even some non-Christian families follow many of Easter traditions. However, there are various regional traditions, which origins are both Christian and folk. Because Easter meals are deeply symbolic, many customs are connected with food. Just like Christmas, Easter food plays a crucial role in the celebrations.
It all starts on Holy Saturday when people head to church with baskets full of food. The old tradition of blessing food before the resurrection is still present in Poland, and should ensure a good harvest year. The Easter basket contains bread, which symbolizes Christ’s body, hard- boiled, colored eggs, which stand for rebirth. The basket also includes ham, salt, horseradish, sausage, home-made cake, and sometimes a sugar lamb.
The custom of decorating and coloring hard-boiled eggs is still kept in some regions of Poland.
Polish hand-made pisanki. These beautiful eggs have been decorated by Patrycja, a 20-year old young lady in Poland. She enjoys decorating Easter eggs and treats it like a pastime.
The food blessed on Saturday is then served on Holy Sunday after the Resurrection mass. During a traditional Easter breakfast the table is beautifully decorated with white tablecloth and flowers. Among the traditional dishes are baked ham, sausages, eggs, bread and home-made cake. In some parts of Poland there may be some soups served; zurek or barszcz – beetroot soup.
Easter in Poland - Traditional Easter breakfast. Photo courtesy of Joanna Sowicz, from Upper Silesia region of Poland.
Undoubtedly, many pastries and sweets are eaten during the Easter time. The most common are babka, mazurek and sernik – cheesecake. Polish babka is made of yeast dough with raisins. Mazurek is a flat Polish cake made from different bases. Mazurek may have various toppings depending on the region and family. Unlike mazurek, which must be rather flat, babka may be put in a traditional form or in a form resembling a lam or a hare. An Easter hare is not purely a Polish tradition but has been adapted from Germany and now is one of the symbols of Polish Easter.
Babka in forms of an Easter hare and a lamb.
Polish Easter babka in a traditional form. See the recipe below.
If you’d like to bake Polish Easter Babka, you may try this easy recipe:
Polish Easter Babka
5 dkg (2oz)of yeast
3 glasses of flour
200g (7oz) of butter
1 glass of sugar
1 glass of milk
1/4 tsp. salt
Dissolve butter in warm milk. In a large bowl, combine and knead butter, sugar, eggs, flour, salt and yeast. Put dough in a greased form. Stir in raisins, nuts and wait for 3 hours. When the dough is doubled heat oven to 170 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake for about 45min.
Saturday, March 26th, 2011
…isn’t it Polish bread?
When Poland joined the European Union (EU) in 2004, many young Poles traveled for work to other EU member countries. But, if you asked any Pole living abroad, what food they miss most, the answer would probably be: Polish bread! This is what strikes us when we go abroad, we have to look really hard to find a tasty loaf of bread. Toasts, which are so common in other countries are not highly regarded by Poles. Comparing with Polish bread, which is mainly based on sourdough, toast bread is considered much too sweet, if not tasteless. But, not only Poles appreciate the delicious taste of our fresh bread. According to Polish Economy Ministry, Polish bread has recently become a leading export product. Nowadays, Poland exports four times as much bread as vodka! It has been estimated that growth in export s of bread, pastries, tarts and cakes rose by 9 percent during 2010.
Local specialty and a secret recipe! Crusty bread baked on cabbage leaves from Hania’s Confectionery & Bakery in Sosnicowice, Upper Silesia region of Poland. See Hania’s Bakery contact information below.
There are many types of bread available in Poland, most of them based on: sourdough, rye, white, wholemeal and seven-grain. Bread has always had a symbolic meaning. In Poland, still a Catholic country, this religious aspect is very important. Especially in villages, various folk and religious customs are kept. As a symbol of hospitality bread and salt are used to welcome a married couple at a wedding reception. In some parts of Poland bread is put next to traditional Christmas dishes, and some people still make a sign of cross on a loaf of bread before slicing it. Moreover, there are various festivities organized to mark the season of harvesting.
Bread at Harvest Festival in Lower Silesia region, Poland.
Harvest Festival in Lower Silesia region, Poland.
Beautiful wreath and bread at Harvest Festival in Lower Silesia.
A couple of years a ago, thanks to some passionate people, a unique Bread Museum was founded. It is located in Upper Silesia region of Poland, in a small town of Radzinków. The purpose of the museum is to mark the long tradition of bread consumption in Poland. So you can learn about history of bread baking. Many exhibits show historical bread-baking equipment and household utensils. There is also a possibility to bake your own bread.
This interesting picture shows animals made from bread. A part of an exhibition in Bread Museum in Radzinkow, Poland.
But there is nothing better than home-made bread. Some women still bake their own bread. Sometimes for the whole family, they’ll bake three or four loaves to be distributed. Edyta, a housewife from a small village in Upper Silesia region of Poland, bakes three loaves of bread every week. One loaf for her family and two loaves for her daughter’s family.
Mrs. Edyta’s home made sourdough bread. Her bread often contains various seeds: sunflower, sesame, pumpkin and sometimes caraway.
Three loaves of Mrs. Edyta’s home made bread ready to be given away.
Of course, the secret behind Polish bread are the recipes. Here’s a recipe for Mrs. Edyta’s bread:
One Loaf of Mrs. Edyta’s bread
(prepare 3-4 days earlier)
50 grams of rye bread
1,2 liter of boiled, hot water
30 grams of yeast
60 grams of rye flour
1 teaspoon of sugar
400 grams of Sourdough Starter
200 grams of wheat flour or all-purpose flour
200 grams of rye flour
1 teaspoon of salt
10 grams of yeast
2 tablespoons of oil
1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds
To make the starter, in a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Cover the starter and set in a warm place to ripen for three to four days.
In a large bowl, combine the starter, rye and white flours, salt, yeast, oil and the seeds. Knead 7 minutes by machine or 10 minutes by hand. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Knead the dough for 1 minute. Put it into a bread pan (32cm-12cm). Let it rise for another 30 minutes or until almost doubled. Heat oven to 200 C degrees.
Brush the dough with egg white and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes.
If you want to bake your own bread here are additional, very delicious, tested and complete recipes by Barbara Rolek, Eastern European Food, About.com Guide :
Polish Sourdough Rye Bread Recipe – Chleb Zwykly na Zakwasie
Polish Potato Bread Recipe – Okragly Chleb Kartoflany
Polish Buttermilk Rye Bread Recipe – Chleb Zytni na Maslance
If you travel to Poland and would like to visit Hania’s Confectionery & Bakery and try their bread baked on cabbage leaves, here’s their contact information: Hania’s Confectionery & Bakery ul. Gliwicka 2 44 – 152 Sosnicowice www.cukiernia-hania.pl
Sunday, February 27th, 2011
We know that some may argue with us about it but…
For as long as we Poles can remember, vodka has always been present at Polish celebrations, parties and wedding receptions. We cannot imagine any kind of party without a few bottles of vodka. Even if you don’t like vodka you have to admit that drinking vodka is a part of our Polish, social tradition. Some people claim that vodka is somehow linked to our national identity. This is especially visible during our wedding receptions. In some parts of Poland, mainly in villages, there is an interesting tradition of stopping a bride and a groom on their way to church. Men usually gather and wish the couple good luck, in exchange they get one or two bottles of vodka.
This July 2010 photo from Upper Silesia region of Poland was taken when a couple was heading to church to get married. Best man is holding a basket with a few bottles of vodka to give away.
Nowadays, there are many brands of vodkas, and Poland is among tradition vodka-making countries: such as Russia, Sweden or Lithuania. This popular liquor is made from fermented grain and potatoes. Here in Poland it is usually drunk straight up but you can use vodka in mixed drinks or cocktails, which have recently become quite popular, especially among women. Men usually drink chilled, clear vodka followed by pickles or pickled herring.
Wyborowa Polish Vodka served with pickles. Wyborowa is produced from rye grain and it is distilled two times.
As we Poles are very fond of our history, many luxurious vodkas has been named after famous Polish figures. We also have a long tradition of flavor and herbal vodkas. Among the best Polish brands are: Chopin Vodka, Pan Tadeusz, Kopernik, Sobieski Vodka, Luksusowa Vodka, Wyborowa Vodka, Wódka Żołądkowa Gorzka, Żubrówka and Krupnik.
Chopin vodka is named after the greatest Polish composer, Fryderyk Chopin and it is well known outside Poland. Very smooth potato or rye vodka, which is distilled four times with purified artesian water. Chopin vodka is quite expensive but very common. There is a possibility to visit its distillery on the border of Mazovia/Podlasia regions, the eastern Polish town of Krzesk, where the historic distillery is located.
Poland Culinary Vacations Touring Chopin Vodka Distillery in Krzesk, Poland.
Pan Tadeusz is a very common grain vodka, smooth and delicate. It is named after Adam Mickiewicz’s – Polish poet, publisher and political writer – famous national epic “Pan Tadeusz”. It was launched in 1999, when Andrzej Wajda film “Pan Tadeusz” premiered. Produced by V&S Luksusowa, Zielona Góra S.A.
Pan Tadeusz Polish Vodka in an exclusive label.
Sobieski Vodka – with Bruce Willis as its spokesperson Sobieski Vodka is well known outside Poland. It is named after the Polish King, Jan III Sobieski, and has been produced since 1864. In 2007 Sobieski Vodka was ranked as number one by the Beverage Testing Institute.
Sobieski Polish Vodka.
Krupnik– traditionally sweet vodka known as “Honey Liquour”. Very common and well liked by women. Produced by Destylarnia Sobieski S.A., Polmos Starogard Gdanski.
"Honey Liquours" and other drinks, in the background the original Krupnik.
Wódka Żołądkowa Gorzka can be translated as “bitter vodka for the stomach.” It is a sweet, amber-coloured vodka with herbal flavor. Żołądkowa Gorzka follows a long Polish tradition of fruit and herbal vodkas. There are five flavour variations: traditional, with mint, with honey, clear white, and with Bison Grass.
Zoladkowa Gorzka Polish Vodka.
Żubrówka – Bison Grass Vodka. It is dry, herb flavored vodka that is distilled from rye and flavored with a tincture of buffalo grass. The name Żubrówka comes from “żubr”, the Polish word for the European bison. Produced by Polmos Białystok.
Zubrówka Vodka - Bison Grass Polish Vodka in an interesting bottle.
Dębowa Polska In recent years Oak vodka of Poland has become very popular. With its interesting bottles it has been promoted successfully all over the world.
Debowa Polish Vodka.
Śliwowica.Together with other nations in Central and East Europe, Poland is among primary producers of Śliwowica. It is a popular beverage distilled from plums.
Sliwowica Plum Polish Vodka.
Give the above MADE IN POLAND fine vodkas a try! NA ZDROWIE! (Translation: To Your Health! – Cheers in Polish!)