The Czech Republic may be better known for its reasonably priced and more than reasonable tasting beer, but the nation also has some delicious dishes that are worth trying during your holiday. As with many other Central and Eastern European countries, many of the widely eaten meals were created through a need for the lower classes to make scant ingredients go further. Therefore, you’ll find plenty of hearty meat and veg combinations and stomach-warming stews – perfect for those winter nights exploring the Prague Christmas market.
So, if you find yourself on a Prague or Cesky Krumlov city break, here are some great dishes to seek out.
Svíčková Na Smetaně
This relatively simple dish will send your taste buds into a frenzy, as it presents an intriguing combination of sweet and savoury. Literally translated as ‘sirloin in a creamy sauce’, it’s certainly a comfort food dish that will have you falling in love with Czech cuisine straight away. The steak is served in a sauce made from root vegetables such as carrots, parsnip and celeriac. It’s then topped with a generous dollop of cranberry sauce, a squirt of whipped cream and served alongside traditional dumplings called knedlíky.
If you’re looking for a snack to eat on the go or a light lunch, chlebíčky is a great choice. These open sandwiches are a staple during casual gatherings and parties, and you’re likely to see them lining the windows of any delis that you pass. As far as toppings go, there are plenty of options. Oily fish like mackerel and herring are definite favourites, but you’ll also find cheese, egg, salami and beetroot – amongst others.
Another great takeaway option, you’re sure to see smažený sýr being sold by vendors on the streets of Prague. If you like cheese then you’ll love these gooey, deep-fried slices of joy and find yourself going back for more. Usually, it will be Edam or a local cheese called Niva and it goes deliciously with a fresh salad.
Czech cuisine is so characterised by soups that we couldn’t produce a list like this without including one. These hearty options are usually served as a gentle starter before the heavy main arrives, but can equally be a great choice for a light lunch. Česnečka is a garlic soup which includes potatoes, broth, onions and a final flourish of grated cheese as the other ingredients. Crispy bread croutons are often included too, an addition that helps this dish be the trusted hangover cure it is purported to be.
If you’re looking for something sweet to finish your meal off with or a slightly naughty snack to nibble on as you explore your city of choice, you’re likely to be tempted by the various stalls selling trdelník (chimney cake) and palačinky (pancakes). However, for a real treat and something completely different, opt for a slice of medovnik. This layered cake is made using honey and is so addictive that it is known to cause honey cake fever in the Czech Republic. The way that each individual layer can be seen makes it looks beautiful and the taste of the cream in between each one will leave you in heaven.
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