Discover CZ
 
Lifestyle in the Czech Republic
 
Gastronomy

 

Food and drink

 
photo:  (flora.cz)
 

In this chapter, we would like to present the Czech Republic to you from a rather different point of view. We hope that upon leaving the country, you will be familiar with at least a little Czech cuisine and have some insights about the Czechs themselves, as the cuisine reveals a lot. We can confidently say that Czech cuisine has built up a considerable reputation around the world and has found many advocates.

 
 

Traditional food

Czech cuisine has developed over hundreds of years and has been influenced by Austrian and Hungarian cuisines, yet it has also influenced the cuisines of its neighboring countries in return. Czech national cuisine is based on ingredients that can be grown domestically, i.e. cereals, leguminous plants and potatoes, which are usually served with pork, beef or poultry, or, in some places, with freshwater fish. These seemingly ordinary ingredients have been used to create excellent and original dishes that you can truly only find in Czech cuisine.

What are the dishes like and what do today's Czechs eat?

The classical breakfast consists of white bread rolls or sliced bread, although wholegrain breads have become popular recently. The bread is mostly served with pork or chicken ham or other smoked meat products such as salami or sausage. Other options include cheese, eggs or jam. The Czechs also like to eat something sweet for breakfast, which can be the traditional Christmas yeast bread, stollen, or doughnuts.

The Czechs mostly drink tea with lemon, filtered coffee, hot chocolate or fruit juice with breakfast.

They often have lunch in their favorite restaurant, many of which offer lunch menus for discount prices. Lunch usually consists of soup, a main course and sometimes a small dessert.

Czech cuisine offers countless soup varieties: Beef broth with noodles and liver dumplings, potato soup, garlic soup, goulash soup, tripe soup, spring vegetable soup or the Krkonoše sour soup are the most popular options.

The basis of meals is usually meat - pork, beef, poultry, game, venison or freshwater fish. Meat is prepared in various ways, either fried, stewed or roasted, and it is always served with a side dish such as potatoes, rice or traditional bread or potato dumplings. Sauces are phenomenal in Czech cuisine.

Further typical examples of favorite Czech dishes are dumplings, pork and cabbage and beef sirloin in cream sauce, again served with bread or potato dumplings.

Other popular dishes that can also be served on special occasions include meat goulash or potato salad with pork schnitzel. These dishes have become traditional in Czech cuisine although they were originally taken from other national cuisines. However, if you replace the schnitzel with carp, a Czech freshwater fish, you will have the traditional Czech Christmas dinner.

Potatoes represent an important component of Czech cuisine. For example, potato pancakes (bramboráky) are another typical Czech dish.

With regard to dinner, customs observed among Czech families differ. Someone in the family circle may prefer a light dish, another may like a heavy dinner with a structure similar to lunch, while, in recent years, we have seen more and more family members opting for fast food from take-away restaurants. Many families occasionally go to a restaurant and combine dinner with a nice opportunity to sit and chat with family members or friends outside the home.

Czech pork feast (Zabijačka)

The Czech pork feast is a typical Czech specialty. The killing of a home-bred pig traditionally takes place in winter and becomes a special, mostly family event. A wider family will meet at the feast and they will not only help with the pig product processing but they will also receive a hamper. This is given to friends and neighbors as well.

An experienced butcher kills the pig in the house (and pig) owner’s yard, and all the meat, intestines, and in fact nearly all parts of the pig, are then processed on the spot.

Very finely chopped meat, intestines, peeled barley, garlic, marjoram, and pig's blood are used to prepare white pudding, black pudding, brawn and blood soup. These products are so popular that you can find some of them on the menus of many Czech restaurants throughout the year.

Regional meals


It is definitely worth mentioning some special dishes that are typical for particular regions of the Czech Republic. For example, the city of Olomouc in Moravia has become famous for its local curd cheese. The Czech Republic has requested that the European Union give exlusive registration for a regional trademark for this Czech manufacturer. In the area of Pardubice, you can try delicious gingerbread. Unique cakes are baked in the area of Chodsko; South Bohemia is typical for dishes with freshwater fish, and Prague has become famous for its ham.

Traditional drinks

We will start with the most wholesome and important beverage, i.e. water. If we speak of drinking water quality in the Czech Republic, we can without hesitation say that the water is not harmful to your health, i.e. you can drink it, and its quality conforms with European standards.

One of the biggest mineral water producers is Karlovarské minerální vody, a.s., based in Karlovy Vary. In stores you can find a number of other natural and mineral waters such as Poděbradka, Hanácka kyselka, Aquila, Dobrá Voda, Toma Voda and Rajec, a new brand of spring water.

We would also like to draw your attention to some soft drinks that were very popular during the communist regime. The best-known is Kofola, with its core ingredient being Kofo syrup.

Beer

Brewing has been a traditional activity in the Czech Republic for centuries. This is evidenced by one of the oldest breweries in Bohemia, the Regent brewery, which was founded in 1379 by the Rosenberks. To date, this brewery has kept to the traditional method of brewing.

The best known Czech breweries include Plzeňský Prazdroj, Zámecky pivovar in Dětenice, Budějovický Budvar, Krušovice and a smaller private brewery, Bernard. It is interesting to note that there are more than 60 breweries in the Czech Republic.

Wine

In the Czech Republic, grapevines grow best in South Moravia. This is the area where the country’s first vineyards were established, around the year 300 A.D.

In the 13th century, the Czech aristocracy tried to fertilize barren fields. Most towns in North Bohemia had sloping land lots, which were, in combination with the local climatic conditions, suitable for growing grapevines. The wine trade boomed in this period, being much more profitable than the cereal trade. Viniculture therefore gained much in general popularity.

Emperor Charles IV showed the best sense of orientation in the new situation. He issued a decree that vineyards should be founded on all suitable hills and slopes. It was thanks to him that Burgundy Blue, called Pinot noir in France, took root in local vineyards. The Czechs began to call it “Rouči modré” or “Černá aranka.” In addition, the Czechs began to grow German grapevine types such as Nemcina (Traminer), Tarant white and Lampart white and the Klenice (Goher) types imported from Hungary.

Delicious wines can be found in these regions:
  • The wine city of Valtice
  • Znojmo
  • Mělník

Becherovka

Becherovka is a traditional, high-quality Czech liqueur made purely from natural ingredients. It is made from the spring waters of Karlovy Vary, high-quality ethanol, natural sugar and a very specific and harmonious mix of herbs and spices. Nothing else goes into the making of Becherovka.

The traditional quality of Becherovka has survived for centuries. At the beginning of its nearly 200-year tradition, Becherovka was actually not imbibed but was used as a stomach medicine in drops for better digestion. The reaction of the offer and demand caused its mass consumation in gastronomy and in households.

Fernet

The origins of the bitter Fernet Stock date to 1927. The recipe is of course top secret, but core ingredients include herbs imported from the Mediterranean region and from the Alps.

 
Author:
 
Added: 03.01.2010
 
 
 

Related articles

 
Customs and traditions
 
 

Young wine – St Martin’s wine

Every year, on St. Martin’s Day i.e. on 11th November, at 11 a.m. sharp, perhaps every winery and...

 
 
Cultural tips
 
 

Vendage and burčák

Vendage is a traditional wine making celebration, which is deeply rooted in the history of the Czech...

 
 
Food
 
 

Prague boasts two Michelin Stars

The year 2012 will be written in golden letters in the annals of Czech gastronomy due to the enormous...

 
 
Gastronomy
 
 

What you must taste in the Czech...

The first part of this “gastro” series was devoted to primarily the main dishes that a visitor to the...

 
Most favourite

History of Czech fine art

What happened in the realm of fine art at the very beginning of the Czech…

Climate

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in moderate geographical…

The most significant current discoveries

During the last decade, Czech science has made many revolutionary discoveries…

Czech language

The Czech language belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. From another…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

 
 

Facebook recent activity


 
 
 

Upcoming events

 
 
14/11/2014