Archive for 2013
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
We’ve met amazing people on our cooking vacations in Poland and they’ve shared with us some wonderful memories and thoughts inspired by their Poland Culinary Vacations. Here are some of our favorites:
“Yes, it was a privilege to travel with you in your home country and see the beautiful countryside of Poland and experience the hospitality of the Polish people while cooking, eating and laughing together! Connecting with our heritage including the people, culture and of course the food has significant meaning to who we are today! – Milbert, P. Indianapolis, IN
“After just returning from your wonderful “The Flowers of Lower Silesia and Wroclaw” culinary tour, I would like to offer my thoughts as a NON-culinary person (that means my wife doesn’t even allow me in the kitchen). I really didn’t want to go on this trip for that reason and I thought for sure it would be pretty boring & perhaps embarrassing if I had to do anything. However to my colossal surprise it turned out to be a very stupendous experience. I thoroughly enjoyed everything including the cooking classes. You did such a amazing job of blending trips to historical sites, exposing us to local customs, visiting production facilities of interest, and providing exposure to the Polish customs and heritage that was embodied in the cooking classes. I actually enjoyed learning about the cooking traditions. Joan & I would like to thank you & Paulina so very much for such a great insight to Poland. Poland will be on the top of my list of places to go again” – Joan & Bill T., Columbia, SC
“We all really enjoyed our visit to Poland and want to thank you and Paulina for all you did to make it an enriching experience. My Dad was still talking about how much he enjoyed the culinary trip and how surprised he was to be a guy and have that much fun on what he thought would be a vacation just for the ladies. He’s ready to go again! We loved Poland and hope to be back to explore other areas. Diana and Eric already made the salmon and spinach pierogi on Sunday! We are looking forward to getting the other recipes – we’ll all be doing Polish dinner parties in the upcoming months” - Susan G., Hermitage, TN
“It was a wonderful trip and learning and experiencing Poland was the best. Your company and with Ala was so well organized and there was not a single “glitch”. My pictures were about the same as your site so I won’t send any and it is so much fun to review them – WHAT MEMORIES I HAVE! – THANK YOU THANK YOU – Carol M., Saint Louis, MO
“Thank you for an amazing experience! Once in a lifetime” - Adrienne C., Nashville, TN
“This trip far exceeded my expectations of Poland. Thank you for all your hard work!” - Stefanie B., Omaha, NE
“Thank you for a wonderful cooking experience. You are a positive force for your beautiful Polish country.” – Tracy, H., Collegeville, PA
“I had the best time thanks to you. Enjoyed every minute. Thank you.” – Charlene B., Blair, NE
“Thank you for re-acquainting me with my heritage! Your culinary tour this September was particularly meaningful to me and your detailed planning made it wonderful to be there and experience the food, the country and the people.Everyone associated with the tour was knowledgeable, friendly, and great traveling company. You thought of everything!I had a wonderful time. Look for me, and additional members of my family, to be booking another tour.” – Joanne H., Myrtle Beach, SC
“Poland Culinary Vacations presented a fabulous culinary program, an excellent tour of Malopolska (Lesser Poland) and an overall fun time. I rate this culinary vacation a definite 10.” – Christine B., Atkinson, NH
“What an amazing experience, to walk in the country of your ancestors, meet the people and feast on the food you love! Poland Culinary Vacations far exceeded my expectations in their care, knowledge and love of “foodies”! Each guided day brought a new adventure, breaking bread with local village ladies sharing their knowledge of cooking with us, visiting historical sites, rafting and the biggest flea-clothing-shopping market anyone has ever experienced. Carefully selected restaurants highlighting local cuisine ended our evenings. Each succulent mouthful was wonderful! Top this all off, by staying in a Palace with a spa in Zakopane, was just out of this world. Would I recommend Poland Culinary Vacations…Absolutely! Would I vacation again with them…Absolutely! Would I go back to Poland…Absolutely!” - Cathy M., Barrie, ON, Canada
“Krakow, Zakopane and the surrounding areas are such beautiful and interesting places to see and get to know and don’t think that I will ever tire of visiting the Lesser Poland region. What really made this holiday such a memorable one was the cooking sessions with village ladies from the villages in the Podhale area. Allowing us to see them prepare never ending array of dishes, explaining about ingredients and various ways of preparation (inevitably each of them had their own method) was just a start. Their hospitality I could easily say was unmatched with homemade cakes and “digestives”, as they described their hand finished liqueurs and wines they welcomed us with, followed by all the dishes we were shown how to make during the course of the morning. The inevitable singing and joking would ensue and by the time we were leaving we were the best of friends. The whole experience would be very hard to match and definitely never to be forgotten.” – Maria F., Caversfield, United Kingdom
“We’d like to thank Sarna Rose, our fabulous host, for the great Culinary Vacation. It exceeded all expectations. The small group made it possible to be very flexible, especially with such an accommodating driver and wonderful guide. We were privileged to cook in a restaurant, a community center, the Culinary Institute in Krakow and in a private home where the local village ladies patiently shared their knowledge of cooking and culture with us. Moments to treasure! We relished the marvelous cuisine in a variety of restaurants and the sightseeing tours were incredibly interesting and varied. We would recommend it to any age of either sex.” – Ed & Terri H., Victoria, B.C., Canada
“I can’t speak highly enough about my tour to Krakow and Zakopane with Poland Culinary Vacations. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken! Malgorzata ‘Sarna’ Rose runs a first-class operation. I am not a fan of large tour groups so this tour with its small number of participants and its flexibility really appealed to me. Our time was divided between cooking, sightseeing and, of course, lots of good eating. Because I’m of Polish descent the tour took me back to my “roots”. The hotels and restaurants chosen for us were excellent. My fondest memories are of the cooking sessions with village women in their kitchens. They were so welcoming and eager to share their recipes with us. After enjoying the lunch we had prepared together we were treated to singing by the women.” – Nancy J., Springfield, VA
“Want to say it has been a wonderful trip! I especially enjoyed the countryside, towns and shopping was good, too.” – Kris A., Great Falls, MT
“If I had to pick a highlight I couldn’t, I’d pick three. The three mornings we spent cooking with the country housewives were great. From the food to the nalewki it was great. There was plenty of wonderful food – especially borscht and croquettes. But, the highlight was being in those kitchens, working as a group, then sitting down to a great lunch you had a hand in making. If you’re lucky there will be singing – and you will probably be lucky.” - Jim B., Minneapolis, MN
“I recently spent a wonderful week in Lower Silesia, Poland, participating in a culinary tour. Our accommodations were great staying part of the time in a 16th century castle! How often can you say that, lol. It was a beautiful place to stay in the countryside of Poland. We spent part of our time in the country visiting some of the villages and participating in the hands on cooking with the village ladies. These wonderful women cooked and sang for us sharing their cooking knowledge. We made pierogi, golabki, and red beetroot borscht among the many dishes they shared with us. Our week was busy with touring as well as cooking. We got to experience the Polish culture and history of the area. We ate in fine restaurants, eating the tasty Polish cuisine. Being third generation Polish I found it a very emotional trip. My Grandmother had grown up near the area I was touring and I felt a part of the country. My thanks goes out to all who accommodated us, especially Sarna, the President of the Poland Culinary Vacations, Inc.” - Barbara M., Great Falls, MT
Friday, November 8th, 2013
A culinary vacation in Poland is a gift of a lifetime !
Think out-of-the-box this HOLIDAY SEASON and GIFT a culinary vacation in POLAND as a present! If you’re hoping to create a memory Your loved ones will remember forever, consider one of our six, week-long culinary and cultural vacations in various regions of Poland.
See photos from our August 2013 “Flavors of Lower Silesia and Wroclaw” & POLISH POTTERY FESTIVAL in Boleslawiec, Poland trip and September 2013 “Coastal Cooking in Pomerania and Gdansk” trip to get an idea of activities and sights we visit:
“Flavors of Lower Silesia and Wroclaw” culinary vacation in pictures:
“Coastal Cooking in Pomerania and Gdansk” culinary vacation in pictures:
GIFT CERTIFICATES ARE AVAILABLE!
Call us Toll Free 888-703-8130 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to
GIFT Poland Culinary Vacation TODAY!
See You and Yours in Poland in 2014 and Happy Holidays!
Monday, September 30th, 2013
With the 2013 travel season behind, we are very excited to announce SIX wonderful week-long culinary vacations in various regions of Poland for 2014! So bring your family and friends to Poland on our fun filled and delicious adventures and discover the tastes and flavors of each region. We would love for you to join us in Poland in 2014!
Coastal Cooking In Pomerania Gdansk 2013 – culinary vacation on Poland’s Baltic Sea coast.
Upcoming vacation to Pomerania:
Coastal Cooking in Pomerania and Gdansk (Click on date to learn more)
Upcoming vacation to Silesia:
The Flavors of Lower Silesia and Wroclaw (Click on date to learn more)
Upcoming vacations to Lesser Poland:
Cooking Your Way From Krakow To Zakopane (Click on date to learn more)
Upcoming vacation to Mazovia:
A Taste of Poland in Mazovia and Warsaw (Click on date to learn more)
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for more photos from 2013 trips in Poland. Smacznego! Enjoy!
Saturday, August 31st, 2013
Are you curious about the taste of Polish wines and would like to discover Poland’s emerging wine regions and industry?
Winnica Jasiel – Jasiel Vineyard in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship, south-eastern Poland.
It may still be a well-kept secret, but Poland is home to a young and dynamic wine country that’s producing exquisite cool-climate “wina” – as wines are called in Polish. Actively trying to promote their beautiful, small, family-run vineyards and wine regions various members of the national and regional industry are working hard every-day to successfully market their wines and wine-related experiences.
Poland Culinary Vacations guests recently touring Adoria Vineyard during “Flavors of Lower Silesia and Wroclaw” culinary vacation in south-western region of Poland
Wines produced at Adoria Vineyard in the Lower Silesia region of Poland.
If you happen to be visiting Poland during summer and fall seasons, plan on visiting these popular wine festivals where you’ll have an opportunity to meet Polish wine makers and taste their very fine wines:
Galicyjski Festiwal Win – Galician Wine Festival – Galicja Vitis – June of every year. This year it was held in Rzeszow, in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship, south-eastern Poland.
International Wine Days – August/September of every year – in fact, this festival is going on this very weekend, August 31 – September 1, 2013 in Jaslo, in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship, south-eastern Poland!
Winobranie Zielona Gora i Dni Zielonej Gory - September 7 – 15, 2013 in Zielona Gora, Lubusz Voivodeship, in western Poland.
Wine Day Celebration in The Treasure City – September 7, 2013 in Sroda Slaska, in the Lower Silesia region of Poland.
Poland Culinary Vacations is working on bringing you an exciting, week-long, SPA and wine vacation experience in southern Poland soon. We will be blogging about Polish wine and wine regions so please keep checking our blog for updates. Na zdrowie!
Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
Poland is one of the largest, most diverse countries in Europe. Many regions, despite Poland’s rich history, have not yet been fully discovered. Even though Poland’s largest and capital city of Warsaw, with a population over 2.5 million, is located in Mazovia, this region can still be considered an agricultural one, its agricultural land consists of about 65% of the region’s total area.
Mazovia is very often categorized as a horticulture and fruit farming region. More than half of the apples and 25% of strawberries produced in Poland are grown in the Mazowieckie Voivodeship. Mazovia is also a leading producer of vegetables and the second largest grain producer in Poland, as well as being the leader in milk and meat production.
This is probably the most diverse region in terms of culinary exploration. Here we can observe not only the influence of Polish regions such as Kurpie or Kujawy, but also an impact that international (not only European) cuisine has on Mazovie. This is visible especially in Warsaw – the capital city. Since the XVI century, when Warsaw became the capital city of Poland, the quality of local cuisine has significantly improved. The city that has been so often destroyed and each time risen from the ashes, had to fight to remain Polish even pertaining to food. For this reason, Mazovian cuisine is considered to be the most traditional one in Poland.
The most traditional and most characteristic ingredients in Mazovian cuisine are czarnina, cooked groats, baked duck (stuffed with offal, parsley and bread), mushroom soup and sour soup, and traditional Warsawian beef tripe. The capital city of the region has always concentrated different tastes from all over the world.
Agriculture – The Best Getaway From the Hustle and Bustle of the City
Farming has always been very important in Mazovia and healthy eating habits are promoted through agrotourism farms. There are many farms where one can find plenty of interesting flavors: traditional regional dishes, homemade cheeses, jams, meats, homemade roast and smoked sausage. What’s more, in some restaurants and most of the agrotourism farms tourists can get involved in the process of jam or cheese making.
Sierpc – the Museum of the Mazovian Countryside
While in Mazovia, it is worth visiting Sierpc, where the Museum of the Mazovian Village is located. The Museum of Mazovian Village in Sierpc is a detailed reconstruction of a little village lost in the plains of Mazovia sometime in the second half of the 19th century.
The beauty of the museum has captivated not only the tourists, but the skansen provided backdrops to such films as With Fire and Sword [Ogniem i Mieczem] and Master Thaddeus [Pan Tadeusz], as well as numerous advertisements and video clips.
The museum was established in 1971. Presently, its exhibition covers the cultural heritage of north-western Mazovia, a region inhabited largely by peasants and minor gentry.
Many vodka connoisseurs from around the world consider Polish vodka to be the best! Many special occasions and holidays are celebrated with vodka as the traditional drink of the country. Very famous culinary attraction worth seeing in Mazovia is the Chopin vodka distillery in Krzesk. Chopin Potato Vodka has became one of the most iconic of Polish vodkas. The Chopin Vodka distillery dates back to 1896 and is owned by Tad J. Dorda, who has converted a restored country house into a hospitality center for visitors who can watch the distilling process from a series of catwalks constructed on the exterior of the distillery. While speaking about alcohol, also worth mentioning are Mazovian honey beer, beer from Ciechanow, as well as Zakroczyn cherry liquor, made primarily from cherries grown in home-garden orchards.
The Land of Blossoming Apple Trees
Mazovia, often called the land of blossoming apple trees, has a lot to offer from the beautiful landscapes to tasty fresh fruits from organic farms. The beginnings of “Europe’s largest orchard” date back to the times of Queen Bona, who was famous for her passion for gardening (especially fruit-farming). After receiving large areas of land in Grójec poviat, she strongly supported gardening and farming by establishing many privileges for garden owners. Today, the Grójec area is known for apple tree farming, which provides around 40% of domestic apple production.
The Five Most Famous Mazovian DishesWorth Trying While Visiting The Region
1. Szlachcice – Polish dumplings with potatoes.
A traditional dish from Eastern Mazovia and Southern Podlasie regions. These are large, boiled dumplings with a filling made from grated fried potatoes with addition of diced bacon and onion, fried on lard, seasoned with salt, pepper and marjoram. The characteristic feature of “Szlachcice” is their size, as they are at least twice as large as typical Polish dumplings or pierogi.
2. Kogutki from Radziwiłłów (Roosters of ”green-legged partridge” hens)
”Green-legged partridge” hen is a Polish breed adapted for natural raising, very characteristic for Mazovia.
3. Baba Cake From Rye Bread
The baba cake is made of rye bread that is dried and ground with addition of eggs and spices: cinnamon and clove. It is served with a chocolate topping and sprinkled with walnuts.
4. Pańska Skórka
It is a soft, white and pink, rectangular candy. It has a very sweet, milky, slightly almond and caramel taste.
It is especially liked by children and sold mainly in Warsaw in city parks.
5. Sójki Mazowieckie Dumplings
A well-known dish made in the eastern parts of Mazovia are dumplings made of thinly rolled dough and filled with sauerkraut, bacon or fatback, millet and mushrooms, and then fried.
Warsaw – Famous Polish/Regional Restaurants Worth Visiting While In The Capital City
1. Atelier Amaro
Atelier Amaro is a new restaurant concept that combines a culinary studio, deli and the scene. The Restaurant is run by Wojciech Modest Amaro, the most outstanding Polish cook, who amazes his guests with original compositions of flavors. It is very elegant, for people who are constantly looking for new taste sensations, located right next to Agricola. There are thirty seats and it is necessary to book a table a few days before the visit. Atelier Amaro is the first restaurant in Poland which received the Michelin star – the most prestigious awards in the culinary world.
2. Folk Gospoda
The inside of the restaurant is designed in a way so that you feel you have gone back a century or two, surrounded by waitresses in traditional dress and thick wooden interiors and furniture. The music is traditional Polish and the food on offer is very traditional Polish as well.
3. Dawne Smaki
It’s a traditional Polish restaurant amongst the endless string of international eateries on Nowy Świat. Dawne Smaki thrives on old style Polish cooking, where you can sample a comprehensive range of home-grown specialties.
Bazyliszek is everything that a tourist could want in a restaurant on the Main Square: costumed staff, kegs used as part of the décor and a beer menu with reasonably priced Tyskie. On the menu we can find for example the pierogi variety plate (meat, cabbage, and cheese and potato). It’s a great way to sample your way through a staple.
5. Chłopskie Jadło
It’s a nationwide chain devoted to serving rustic Polish food from the countryside. The décor is country farm kitsch, with strings of hams and ancient machinery dangling from the walls.
Famous Warsaw Based Polish Chefs Worth Knowing About
It’s also worth mentioning that in Warsaw we can find many restaurants run by the most famous Polish chefs. Some examples are:
1. Robert Sowa and his Sowa & Przyjaciele Restaurant.
2. Karol Okrasa and his restaurant Platter. One of the most exclusive restaurants in Poland.
3. Magdalena Gessler – U Fukiera & Ale Gloria Restaurants to name a few.
4. Wojciech Modest Amaro and Atelier Amaro Restaurant. Already mentioned above.
There is plenty to see, do and taste in Mazovia and we hope you’ll visit this amazing region of Poland soon. You are welcomed to join us on our “Taste of Poland in Mazovia and Warsaw” week-long culinary vacation in the region or “A Three-Day Culinary Adventure Around Warsaw” if your time is limited. Please visit our website www.polandculinaryvacations.com for dates and details. See you in beautiful Mazovia!
Friday, May 31st, 2013
During hot spring and summer days, after walking in the sun from early morning hours and taking 1000 pictures of churches, statues and lovely little streets, all we want is relax with delicious food and drink to get more energy for taking another 1000 pictures. During days like this, there is nothing better than eating some fresh fruit and vegetables. Juicy, cold, sweet – the real taste of summer!
Undoubtedly, super fresh fruit and vegetables in Warsaw can be bought daily in Mirowskie Halls – a historic food market in the heart of Polish capital.
Hala Mirowska – historic fresh food market in Warsaw, Poland.
HALE MIROWSKIE – WARSAW
Address: Plac Mirowski 1
Monday – Friday -7:00a.m. – 8.00p.m.
Saturday 7:00am – 6:00am
Mirowskie Halls were built between 1899-1901. Formerly the baroque pavilions were barracks of the Crown’s Mounted Guards. Mirowskie Halls, except for the walls, were almost entirely destroyed during Warsaw Uprising (bullet holes are still visible on the northern wall of one hall) and then rebuild after World War II.
The west hall, called Hala Mirowska, since 1997 has been owned by the company called “Społem”. The east hall, called Hala Gwardi, for many years served as a sports centre.
Nowadays, it’s “a heaven on earth” filled with fresh foods. People from Warsaw say that it’s worth coming here even from the farthest parts of the city. It’s not just about the fruit and vegetables, but great atmosphere and surroundings. The beautiful architecture makes this market a perfect place to shop and edmire. Here you can find all kinds of vendors – elderly ladies with fresh eggs and homemade jams, exotic stands with purple potatoes and kids selling wild blueberries they picked with their grandmothers in the morning.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to pay with credit cards and sometimes there are long lines, especially during the spring weekends, but despite that, the place is amazing. Make sure you find time to stop by during your stay in Warsaw.
Stary Kleparz – fresh food market in Krakow, Poland.
STARY KLEPARZ – KRAKOW
Adress: Rynek Kleparski
Monday-Friday: 7.00a.m. – 7.00p.m.
Do you know how to recognize real Cracovian? That’s the person that will always haggle over the price during shopping. That’s just the way things are here and there is no better place for that than Stary Kleparz and Hala Targowa. People have been shopping at Stary Kleparz since the 17th-century. Located in the center of the city, the place is always full of busy people – shouting sellers, gossiping ladies and shoppers exchanging recipes.
Sellers are nice, there are many choices of fresh products and the smell is seductive, guiding you through the entire market – from colorful stands with seasonal vegetables to the line for fresh milk and cottage cheese ( Polish cottage cheese is fabulous!). There is also a fish-stall with the best fresh fish in all of Cracow. It’s one of those places where shopping is a real pleasure. The best time for shopping is always in the morning before noon, later you might have problems with finding what you want. Many Cracow’s famous chefs shop here, too.
Another special place for fresh food shopping in Cracow is Hala Targowa. During the week you can find a lot of small shops with clothes, meat, bread and spices. On Sundays, it’s a flea market. You can find everything there – from household goods to shoes, silver watches, sweets to guitars and clothes. It’s a unique mix of trash and treasures. Of course haggling over the price is obligatory!
Kielbaski z Niebieskiej Nyski – Sausages from the Blue Minivan in Krakow, Poland.
But the most important part of Hala Targowa experience is trying Sausages from the Blue Minivan. That’s the only place in the world where you can get a grilled sausage, with fresh bread and orangeade from two gentlemen serving it from the Blue Minivan. “Kiełbaski z Niebieskiej Nyski” – as they are called, are for everyone. There is always a line from 8p.m. till 2a.m. There you can see students, tourists, hipsters, kids, and even nuns enjoying the sausages. It’s just a sausage, with fresh bread, mustard and an old Polish drink, but somehow it’s special.
Hala Targowa – fresh food market in Wroclaw, Poland.
HALA TARGOWA – WROCLAW
Adress: Piaskowa Street 15
Monday – Friday: 8.00a.m. – 7.00 p.m.
Saturdays: 9.00a.m. – 3.00p.m.
There is also something for fresh-food lovers in Wroclaw. Hala Targowa was build in 1908 and from that year on became a very popular place to buy fresh meat, fish, vegetables, sweets and flowers. There are also small shops with cosmetics, clothes, leather goods and jewerly on the upper floor. One can easily spend an entire morning browsing, tasting and experiencing this unique place. Make sure you bring your camera for an opportunity to take great pictures of fresh produce and people.
For a local shopping experience visit these fresh food markets on your next travels to Poland!
Sunday, April 28th, 2013
The city of Gdańsk is one of the most beautiful in Poland. Among its many delights are unique architecture, white sand beaches, the largest port, a power plant converted into a symphony hall, trendy night clubs, interesting summer festivals , UNESCO sites, museums, and gourmet cuisine served in stylish restaurants.
The Naptune Fountain on Dlugi Targ Street - Gdańsk, Poland
Gdańsk is more than 1,000 years old and part of a larger area called Tricity, an urban complex extending along the Bay of Gdańsk including cities of Sopot and Gdynia. The Polish spirit is strong here. The Poles regained their independence in 1918, after a century and a half of occupation, and it took them less than 10 years to build one of the greatest ports on the Baltic Sea. Gdańsk is where the strikes of 1970, 1980 and 1988 brought down the communist system. In 1980, Lech Wałęsa led the strike at the Lenin Shipyard that started the Solidarity social movement. Walesa later became the president of Poland and won the Nobel Peace Prize.
AROUND THE CITY
The architecture and displays of cultural heritage in the Tricity area are impressive, in spite of wartime destruction. The Main Town in Gdańsk is a classic example of a Hanseatic (coastal trading) town. The narrow façades of picturesque Mannerist houses line streets that were once lively with traders from many countries. Several museums feature displays that illustrate northeastern Poland’s rich and colorful history. The National Museum houses a collection of old paintings and other crafts. The splendor of apartments once occupied by Gdańsk’s aristocrats is displayed in the Gdańsk History Museum. Exhibitions of maritime culture can be viewed at the Central Maritime Museum.
The Neptune Fountain is on Długi Targ Street, and behind it is the Artus Court, once the center of political life and merchant societies. Also nearby is the Gothic Main Town Hall, which houses a collection of Gdańsk carved furniture. Just off a narrow stone-paved street is Mariacka (St. Mary’s) Basilica, the largest brick Gothic church in Europe.
Delicious pan-fried flounder served with beer at Gdansk Brewery & Restaurant.
Restaurants in Gdańsk feature every variety of cuisine — from seafood to meat-based to vegetarian. Here you can sample sophisticated meals based on traditions from the Middle East, Asia to original recipes from old Gdańsk cuisine and of course delicious Polish cuisine. The waters off the Polish Baltic Sea coast are rich in herring, cod, salmon, eel, turbot and flounder, so seafood specialties abound in the Tricity area. Beer that has become popular throughout Europe has been brewed in Gdańsk for centuries.
Famous Goldwasser liqueur from Gdansk.
Other local specialties include Goldwasser, a clear herb liqueur infused with gold flakes; Piołunówka, a modern version of absinthe; and Dzika Pszczoła (Wild Bee), a honey vodka made with forest herbs.
For an in-depth, off-the-beaten-path exploration of Gdańsk and Pomerania region join Poland Culinary Vacations on our “Coastal Cooking in Pomerania and Gdańsk” culinary and cultural vacation. We usually offer two trips to select from per year. Click here for day-by-day itinerary and vacation details. See you in beautiful Gdańsk, Poland!
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
Polish Easter traditions were born out of a combination of old Slavic customs, regional traditions and most importantly, the Feast of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are many Easter customs, many of them connected with the cuisine. Let’s enter the fascinating world of Polish Easter traditions!
Pisanki – colorful wooden Easter eggs hand-made in Poland.
Celebration of the Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday. Palm branches symbolize victory and triumph. It was a common belief that a child carrying high palm will grow tall in the future and that during Easter, a man will eat much more than he eats on any other holiday. Even in the homes of peasants, Easter time was a period of a great feast. That’s not only because of joyful nature of Easter, but also because it follows the season of Lent – the period of prayer and fasting in preparation for Easter. There were only few dishes which were allowed to be eaten during the 40 days of Lent and many people refused to eat anything!
Two most popular Lenten foods have always been Żurek soup or Żur and herring. Żurek soup (zhooh-rek) – made from sour rye starter, similar to that used in sourdough bread and served with hard boiled egg and herring – prepared in different ways.
Żurek – sour rye soup. Eaten without the white sausage during Lent.
Lent came to an end on Good Friday. Good Friday was a time of preparations, especially in the kitchen. Housewives and kids worked together to prepare foods for Easter.
The most important Easter foods have always been eggs. Easter eggs symbolize new life. Hard-boiled, beautifully decorated Easter eggs are called “pisanki” in Polish. Pisanki can be made by using different techniques:
Kraszanka (or malowanka) - is made by boiling an egg in a concoction of plants or natural products. It could be gold (made from bark of young apple tree), black (oak), brown (onion peels), pink (beet juice), and many other colors.
Drapanka – which is made by scratching the surface of an egg (especially kraszanka) with a knife or other sharp tool, to reveal the egg’s shell.
Pisanka – created by drawing on an egg shell with melted wax; the egg is then submerged into a dye.
Only women could decorate Easter eggs and men were not even allowed to come inside the house during that process. It was widely believed, that man entering a house, when women were preparing “pisanki” would bring bad luck!
More of colorful hand-painted Easter eggs – pisanki.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Pisanki are very important part of so called “Święconka”, which means the blessing of the Easter basket. Tradition of food blessing at Easter has very old medieval roots, and is still in widely practiced in Poland. A basket containing a sampling of Easter foods (including pisanki) is brought to church to be blessed on Holy Saturday. All baskets are very decorative. Foods inside have symbolic meanings, i.e.: eggs symbolize life and Christ resurrection, bread symbolizes Christ, salt – purification, ham – great joy and abundance.
After the blessing the food remains untouched until Easter Sunday morning.
Traditional “Święconka” – Easter basket.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.
So what are the main courses for a Easter Sunday breakfast (and dinner later), and typical, traditional Polish dishes for Easter?
All kinds of meat; baked or fried and in the villages across Poland pig roasts are common, too. Baked ham, roast leg of lamb or loin of pork, roasted veal, beef, turkey, duck or chicken. Fresh, predominantly white sausage, and of course famous bigos, know as a Hunter’s Stew. It’s ingredients vary, but most often it includes sauerkraut, cuts of meat and sausages, tomatoes (whole or pureed), honey and mushrooms.
Another characteristic dish is braised red cabbage – sweet and sour braised. Boiled potatoes with caramelized onion and dill, famous pierogi (dumplings), horseradish, various cheeses and chalka – slightly sweet, egg braided raisin bread. You can eat chalka for breakfast or with a meal.
For desserts, a full range from cakes, which could take many fancy shapes like Easter lamb. The most popular cake is “Mazurek” (type of pastry), “Babka” a rich bread-like cake, often shaped to reminiscent a woman’s skirt, hence its name Babka (Grandmother Cake). Honey cake, makowiec – which is Polish specialty (poppy seed cake), sernik (cheesecake) and many other delicious desserts.
Delicious poppy seed roll and blueberry cake.
Easter holiday is not, of course, just about food. It’s about getting together with extended family and friends and enjoying leisure time. Monday after Easter is also a holiday in Poland and most shops are closed for business. Easter Monday or Wet Easter Monday is known as Smingus-Dyngus day in Poland and that’s when boys chase after girls with buckets full of water and try to drench them with it, all in good fun!
Poland is worth visiting at Easter time, both for great food as well as wonderful atmosphere!
Wesołych Świąt Wielkanocnych! Happy Easter!
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!