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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.