The authentic Czech spiritual dish served on special occasions is vepřoknedlozel - pork cutlets, dumplings and sauerkraut.
Ceská Republika (the Czech Republic) is situated in Central Europe, covering the larger part of the Czech massif, part of the Central Europe's central mountain strip made of granite, gneiss and crystal slate. As far as the political structure is concerned, the Czech Republic is a parliamentary republic, occupying an area of 78 866 km2, with a population of approx. 10.2 million.
The Great Moravian Empire was destroyed by the Hungarians who brought with them their traditional dishes, one of which was goulash. In the Czech Republic, goulash is made from beef, without vegetables, and is not as spicy as its Hungarian cousin. It is also made from game and chicken.
One of the oldest foodstuffs that the Czechs like to use is lentil, followed closely by proso millet, brought to Europe by Arabian merchants together with cinnamon, ginger and cummin. Ginger gives the dishes a hot taste and has a cleansing and stimulating effect, while caraway is used in many dishes, especially pork dishes, and is sometimes sprinkled on bread.
The Habsburg Family ruled the Czech Republic for over four centuries – from 1526 to 1918 (in 1918 the Czech Republic and Slovakia united to form a single state). During this long period of time, Czech and Austrian cuisines mingled. What the Germans call spaetzel would in the Czech Republic most probably be referred to as halušky. They are a cheap and filling substitute for pasta. These tasty little dough pieces were introduced into Czech culinary creations from the neighboring Slovakia, a country the Czech Republic shares a lot of its history with. They are eaten in combination with zelim (sauerkraut) or bryndzou (creamy goat cheese). Whether thanks to the Germans or the Austrians, it is a common habit in the Czech Republic to add sugar to dishes, especially to salads.
Features of Czech cuisine
Whether thanks to the Germans or the Austrians, it is a common habit in the Czech Republic to add sugar to dishes, especially to salads.
The historical peoples left traces in present-day Czech cuisine as well. For example, goulash, brought to the Czech Republic by the Hungarians, is quite frequent these days as well, as are the spices, lentils and proso millet, brought to Europe by Arabian merchants. The Habsburg Family also had a large influence. They introduces the tiny dough pieces - halušky.
The Czech Republic abounds in rivers and lakes, so that freshwater fish is very frequent in Czech cuisine. Following carp, the second most popular fish is trout. It is prepared in several ways: boiled, baked or fried.
One of the main elements of Czech cuisine is the ever-present rohiky, a banana-shaped bread served with main courses. The Czechs dip it into soft cheese or sauce, top it with pate or eat it as a hot-dog.
Knedliky are soft dumplings and the main side dish to many Czech dishes with sauce. They are prepared in many different ways, with bread, potatoes or bacon (spekové knedliky), and are filled with fruit (ovocné knedliky), mainly plums (švestkové).
The Czechs often eat sýrecky, better known as olomoucké tvaruzky, for snack or light lunch with beer, bread and onions. It consists of small pieces of cheese recognizable by their strong aroma.
The authentic Czech spiritual, special-occasion dish is vepřoknedlozel, short for vepřova, knedliky a zelí - pork cutlets, dumplings and sauerkraut.
Smazeny syr is a dish made from mild, breaded and fried cheese that can be compared to fried mozzarella sticks. It is served with hranolky (Frech fries) and Tartar sauce.
Mushrooms (houby) are also popular.
Svicková na smetanĕ is one of the most favorite dishes of President Vátslav Havel. It is a relative of goulash, and is made from fried beef steak in sweet creamy sauce, topped with a lot of whipped cream and raspberries.
When you visit the Czech Republic, don’t forget to try Czech beer and utopenice, sour dried sausages served with pickled onions.
Top 10 Czech beers:
- Pilsner Urquell
- Velkopopovický Kozel
As early as in the 10th century, the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague, was described as a large trade center. During the reign of King Charles of Luxembourg IV (1316-1378), Prague was the European artistic center, a city that gave a Slavic soul to Germanic architecture, a city rich in culture and art that has been connecting worlds and people for centuries.
According to the citizens of Prague, the Vltava River runs just like Smetana described it in his music, and the spirit of Kafka and Capek is still felt on the streets of the city.
The must-see sights for millions of world travelers are the Hradcany Castle, the Old City, the Charles Bridge (Karluv most), the Vltava River and its bridges, the Jewish Quarter, and other historical and cultural sights of the Czech capital.
The character of the good soldier Svejk is so irresistible that it brings many people straight to his native city. Beerhouses and wine shops are no less important sights of Prague. Although the Czechs don’t exactly know in which beerhouse the good soldier Svejk enjoyed his beer while experiencing the great world events, whichever you choose is sure to offer you delicious local specialties (with a lot of potatoes and dumplings, of course).
- Pivní sýr is cheese soaked in beer until soft. It is best tried with whole-meal bread and tiny chopped onions.
- "Zlatého tygra" is the legendary old-city beerhouse, famous because writer Bohumíl Hrabal used to spend his time in it writing down the stories he would overhear there. The regulars did not let themselves get confused when Vátslav Havel brought Bill Clinton to this beerhouse to enjoy a mug of the finest Pilsner Urquell.
- Prague’s butcher shops offer, besides the famous Prague ham and sausages, excellent salads with mushrooms, fish and other.
- The Czechs comment on their cuisine in the spirit of the good soldier Svejk, saying: "It’s heavy, exhausting, but so tasty."