Polish food has its own style of cooking and preparation. However, due to its history, the polish cuisine shares many similarities with its neighbouring countries such as Germany, Czech and Slovak. During my long weekend trip to Krakow I discovered that food such as sauerkraut, cabbage rolls, pea soup and sausages etc. are traditional food in Germany as well. In general, Polish cuisine are mainly rich in meat and uses spices and herbs.
There are other interesting local products and food. Below are a list of food I have tried during my visit to Poland.
Krówki, literally meaning “little cows,” are type of semi-soft milk toffee candies. They are hard and crispy on the outside, but the inside is more “fluid” than solid. The flavor is sweet and the texture provides a great mouth feeling. The grainy sugar crystals dissolve quickly and the candies are not sticky. I bought a big pack on the street market in Krakow. There are different flavours.
Polish sausage comes in dozens of varieties. Every region having its own specialty, smoked or fresh, made with pork, beef, turkey, chicken, lamb or veal. Being not fond of lamb, I have never eaten a lamb sausage before. I wanted to try it, however. So I ordered one as my lunch when we were in Krakow. It tastes a little spicy but quite juicy but not really tastes like lamb meat. And, I liked it very much.
Bigos is a stew of sauerkraut and meat. I know “Sauerkraut” from German cuisine. It means pickled cabbage. In polish cuisine it is cooked with meat. I like it because it is similar to one of my own recipes. This type of polish food makes me really good appetite.
Local wild mushrooms (always used as ingredient in polish food)
In the mountain areas of west Krakow there are many wild mushrooms. Some are edible and others are toxic. It is quite often to use wild mushroom in local recipes. Zupa grzybowa/pieczarkowa is a mushroom Soup. The mushroom soup is made of various species of mushroom.
The mushrooms are sometime used as sauce ingredients. I had a dish in Zakopane which is a pork fillet with gravy mushroom sauce. The mushroom sauce is thick and not so creamy, and is very tasty. Other example is the polish dumplings, Pierogi. One type of Pierogi is made from sauerkraut, mushrooms and meat.
The plum vodka is popular in Poland and Russia. It is made from local plums and vodka. The mixed drink tastes very fruity. Once when we finished my meal in a polish restaurant, we were treated to a complimentary shot of a red (or dark pink colour) drink in a small glass. I though it was some sweet fruity cocktails but it turned to be the Polish cherry vodka. It is very fruity, a little sweet but with less percentage of alcohol.
Pierogi is a very traditional type of polish food. It is usually filled with sauerkraut and/or mushrooms, meat, potato and/or savory cheese. The sweet versions are curd cheese with a touch of vanilla, or fruits such as cherries or strawberries and sometimes even apples—optionally topped with sour cream and/or sugar for the sweet versions. I tried one filled with mushrooms and sauerkraut and another one with chicken meat. Both are great.
Oscypek (Goat Cheese)
Oscypek is a smoked cheese made of salted sheep milk and produced in a traditional way in little shepherds’ huts. In springtime shepherds take their sheep to pasture in the mountain meadows. The cheese is made from May to September only. Until the end of October it is available for the market. Polish highlanders make it entirely by hand using only wooden tools. Oscypek is an absolute must taste when you visit Polish mountains area.
Tours in and near Krakow
If you have a short stay in Krakow, you can join tours to experience the polish culture. Please check at the following platforms to find a reasonable offer:
Where to Stay
In case you don’t drive a car, it is suggested to stay in Krakow. The hotels are cheaper than some of the resorts areas such as Zakopane. And, most tours start from Krakow as well. Please take a look at the following platform for a good offer.