Czechia, also known as the Czech Republic, offers a cuisine steeped in Central European tradition. Rich, hearty and comforting, here are the top tips for immersing yourself in Czechia’s robust food culture.
1. Start with Soup
Soups are an integral part of Czech meals. From classic ‘česnečka’ (garlic soup) to ‘kulajda,’ a dill soup with mushrooms and a poached egg, these warming starters set the tone for a traditional Czech meal.
2. Savor Traditional Main Dishes
Try ‘svíčková na smetaně,’ marinated beef served with creamy sauce, cranberry compote, and bread dumplings. Also, don’t miss ‘vepřo-knedlo-zelo,’ a satisfying dish of roast pork, bread dumplings, and stewed cabbage.
3. Sample Czech Sausages
Czech sausages, such as ‘klobása’ and ‘párek,’ are popular street foods often served with bread and mustard.
4. Enjoy Czech Pastry
Czech pastries are a delightful treat. ‘Trdelník,’ a sugar-coated pastry, is a common sight at Prague’s street stalls. Also, try ‘koláče,’ sweet pastries topped with poppy seeds, special cheese or fruit jam.
5. Indulge in Czech Desserts
For a sweet ending, try ‘ovocné knedlíky,’ fruit-filled dumplings sprinkled with sugar, or ‘medovník,’ a rich honey cake layered with cream.
6. Visit Local Pivovars
Czechia is the birthplace of Pilsner and known for its beer culture. Visit local breweries, or ‘pivovars,’ to sample a wide variety of Czech beers.
7. Try Becherovka and Slivovitz
Becherovka, a herbal liqueur, and Slivovitz, a plum brandy, are traditional Czech spirits. They are strong, so enjoy them responsibly!
8. Explore Farmers Markets
Farmers markets, like the ones at Náplavka or Jiřího z Poděbrad in Prague, offer fresh local produce, cheeses, baked goods, and a chance to interact with local producers.
9. Respect Dining Etiquette
In Czechia, it’s common to say ‘Dobrou chuť’ (Bon Appétit) before starting to eat. Also, it’s customary to clink glasses and say ‘Na zdraví’ (Cheers) before drinking.
10. Engage with Locals
Czechs are proud of their food culture. Engage in conversations with locals for the best restaurant recommendations and to discover hidden culinary gems.
Czech cuisine, with its comforting soups, hearty mains, indulgent desserts, and world-renowned beers, offers a culinary experience that reflects the nation’s history and cultural influences. Whether you’re savoring a traditional meal, sampling a local brew, or trying a sweet treat at a street stall, your taste buds are in for a Central European treat in Czechia. Enjoy your gastronomic journey!