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Sękacz roasting on a birch fire, photo: Andrzej Sidor/Forum

Fifty eggs, a kilo of flour, a kilo of sugar, a litre of cream, a spit and an open fire – does that sound like any cake you know? Sękacz is notoriously labour-intensive and rarely made at home, but it's also the regional pride of Northeast Poland.

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Птичье молоко. Фото: Марчин Клебан / AG

Crispy Prince Polo, chewy caramels…what other sweets gained popularity in Poland under communism and are still bought today? Here is our subjective and probably incomplete guide to iconic Polish candies. We encourage you to complete the list in the comments below.

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Borsht, or barszcz in Polish, is an umbrella term for several soups based on sour broth. It has been a part of Slavic culture since time immemorial, and it is just as popular as it was fourteen centuries ago.

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Two types of pearl barley and buckwheat, photo: Roman Lipczyński / Forum

Groats (in Polish: kasze, singular: kasza) have been a part of Polish cuisine for hundreds of years; they were popular even before Poland was even established as a country. Today it’s often regarded as food of the less fortunate, yet groats were common at the aristocratic tables as well.

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Geese on a meadow, Kałuda Wielka, photo: Daniel Pach / Forum

After decades off Polish tables, goose is making a comeback.

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It has been known in Poland for centuries, not only as the basis of diets during periods of fasting, but also a tasty and healthy snack. Even before 1939, restaurants served it before lunch as an appetiser, usually with a shot of cold vodka.

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Pickled cucumbers, photo: Grażyna Makara

Pickles are an essential component of Polish cuisine, and the main source of its characteristically sharp taste. There is an incredible variety of recipes for them, but a few classic preparations have already conquered pantry shelves all over the world.

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Łazanki, photo: Grażyna Makara

Hated by some and beloved by others, this Polish ‘lasagna’ can bring back bitter memory of communist food canteens or tastes of childhood

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Tymbaliki - a typical Polish jelly appetizer, photo source: winiary.pl

If you order "seta i galareta" in Poland, you will be brought pork jelly (galaretka) and a shot of vodka (seta). The alcoholic addition is the aggressive digestive kick to the popular salty appetizer that resembles head cheese set in aspic.

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Kotlet schabowy, photo source: tastycolours.blogspot.com

Kotlet schabowy: in its most traditional form, this pork cutlet coated with breadcrumbs should be fried on lard, served with potatoes and browned or pickled cabbage.

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Carp Jewish style, photo: Andrzej Zygmuntowicz / Reporter / Forum

There is no exaggeration in stating that carp is a culinary symbol of Polish Christmas Eve. On this day, Poles usually eat the fish fried in batter or breadcrumbs, served cold in a jelly, or simmered with sweet seasonings – the so-called Jewish carp recipe. At times the fish is also served with a typical gray gravy.

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Oscypek,  source: trzyznakismaku.pl

Oscypek is a decorative traditional spindle shaped smoked sheep's cheese from the Podhale region. The best way to savour it is sliced or fried over a hearth with a dash of cranberry marmalade.

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Gołąbki, image: Tasty Colours

It’s not clear whether Poland owes its gołąbki to Turkish, Armenian or Jewish influences. They were apparently first served in the Eastern borderlands. A 19th century cook books speak of “stuffed cabbage”.

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Bigos, photo: Damian Klamka / East News

The history of Polish bigos, commonly known as “hunter's stew” in English, begins many centuries ago. Bigos is a traditional single pot dish, usually made during the winter months or for special occasions.

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Pierogi with fruit, photo:  Mari Hem/Reporter

During decades of communist regime, Poles usually could only "enjoy" the simple rural versions but nowadays extravagant stuffing and fancy toppings often turn this simple dish into a gourmet delicacy.

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牛肝菌(Boletus badius),FoKa / Forum摄影

Poland has a long tradition of mushroom picking, and accordingly forest mushrooms are essential ingredients of the Polish culinary tradition. The aroma of forest mushrooms, in particular dried ones, is one of the trademarks of the Polish national culinary heritage.

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kielbasa_wedzona_east_news

Sausage has always been an important part of Polish culinary culture, and top chefs and amateurs alike are now going back to its roots and rediscovering all its subtleties

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