In the heart of Poland, on the plains of Mazovia, on both banks of the Vistula, there is a wonderful city.
Over the centuries, it has been repeatedly shaken by rebellions against invaders and foreign monarchs, it was wiped off the face of the earth and burned to the ground.
And each time, Warsaw, like the Phoenix bird, was reborn from the ashes, while miraculously preserving its image and traditions in the memory of subsequent generations.
Modern Poland is only 25 years old this year. In 1989, the Poles finally gained complete independence and began to collect their national identity bit by bit.
For example, there is still no certainty who exactly should bring gifts for kids to Christmas: in Warsaw, St. Nicholas, in Poznan, Gzidzdor with a goat, and in the eastern regions Santa Claus sometimes has a cotton wool beard.
Approximately the same thing happened with Polish cuisine: a lot of cultures mixed here: Russian, German, French, Jewish, Turkish.
Among all this variety, the Poles are trying to find their own, dear.
Warsaw begins with the airport Chopin.
The great composer — the national pride of the Poles, so his name can be found at every step: the University.
Chopin, Chopin’s Bridge, Chopin Cafe, in the shops you can find chocolates and Chopin Vodka, and you shouldn’t find souvenirs with portraits at all.
Four years ago, in Warsaw, to the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great composer, fifteen musical benches were installed in places connected with his life.
They can not only sit and relax, but also listen to Chopin’s music, as well as download it on a mobile phone.
There is even a special tour “For Chopin’s Places”: the village of еляelazow Volya, where he was born; the living room of the Chopin family in Warsaw, where he spent his last years before leaving; Lazienki Park, where the most famous monument, and, of course, the Chopin Museum in the baroque Ostrogsky castle. Here is the largest collection of Chopin’s relics in the world: letters, personal belongings, a grand piano and even a cast of his hand.
Frederic Chopin was buried in Paris, but his heart, according to the will, returned to his homeland — to Warsaw — and was immured in a column of the Church of the Holy Cross.
Chopin Days are held every spring in Warsaw in spring, and then you can try the composer’s favorite dishes in restaurants, such as stuffed goose or bigos with apples.
By the way, some Poles are sure that Mazurek (mazurek) — a traditional Polish dessert — owes its name to Chopin, who was very fond of mazurkas and put many of them as the basis of his works.
In 1932, another pianist of Polish origin, Arthur Rubinstein, who gained world fame by that time, proposed ballet dancer Aniela Mlynarskaya, and not just anywhere, but right at the Chopin Monument in Warsaw. No one knew then that the talent of the bride in cooking was equivalent to the talent of the groom in music.
After 50 years, she will write the main culinary book of Poland — “Kitchen Neli” (“Kuchnia Neli”), it contains the best recipes with which she surprised the family and friends of her husband from the music world.
Neli herself admitted that she loves to cook, but tries to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen.
Therefore, in her book you can find not only exquisite, but also simple dishes, as well as tips for beginners: how to make sweet butter, caramel, homemade pasta or beetroot soup.
In some restaurants in Warsaw, and now serves dishes according to the recipes from this book, are held «Neli Dinners».
And then in the menu you can find crawfish stew, goulash, scrambled eggs a-la Aniela (eggs, green onions, cream), apple pie.
The main tourist artery of the city has always been the Royal Route. It connects the castle with the summer residence in Лазazienki and leads through the Krakow Suburb, Novy Svet Street and Uyazdov Alley to the Belvedere Palace.
Here is a huge number of cafes, restaurants, hotels and shops.
On the way, you can drink a cup of hot chocolate in the oldest Warsaw-based coffee house Blikle, which was founded in 1869 and has never closed!
Here you can also try branded Polish sweets: classic donuts, the recipe of which was invented about 150 years ago, the royal grandmother and delicious brushwood.
Not far from Novy Svet Street there is an interesting place — Opasly Tom Bistro, which belongs to restaurateurs famous in Warsaw: brother and sister Agnieszka and Marcin Kreglissi. Once there was a bookstore of the State Publishing Institute, but in the 60s a legendary cafe appeared, which for several years became a refuge for the Warsaw intelligentsia. It is said that Stanislav Jerzy Lec and Andrzej Wajda often sat there for a cup of coffee.
Small and quiet place contributed to the conduct of intellectual wars, because of which it was then closed by the Communists.
Today the bistro again receives guests and has already managed to receive several Michelin signs.
Chef Agata Voida treats intricate dishes based on Polish regional products: smoked trout mousse, beetroot and apple puree soup with goat cheese, pike perch under porcini mushrooms and salsify, goose with bison and buckwheat with plums, baked with bone marrow and truffle.
Of course, in Warsaw, much has been preserved since Soviet times: the famous Palace of Culture and Science, lanterns on Constitution Square, Marshalkovsky residential quarter with bas-reliefs on houses depicting ideal workers with tools. But the “strongholds of communism” most loved by young Warsaws are the dairy bars (mleczny bar).
They, like a time machine, provide a unique opportunity to get to Poland from the time of the Eastern Bloc. Then the milky bars were subsidized by the state, and only workers and students could afford to eat there.
Subsidies did not apply to meat — hence the name. Along with the fall of the Iron Curtain, many milk bars were driven out of business, but some of them survived. Here you can dine very cheaply, but you have to defend two lines — first to order, and then to pick up a tray with food.
There are 7 types of fried eggs in the menu, the first dish, for example borsch, the second and compote.
It is not surprising that mainly young people and students gather here.
What has the Warsaw citizens not tried and tested during the time of democracy! The mushrooms were burger houses, pizzerias were opened on every corner, kebab sushi bars were in fashion.
Today in the trend of slow food (slow food) is a food system that opposes fast food.
It provides a healthier diet and preserves the traditions of national and regional cuisine.
The budgetary option for a snack-style snack: cheese quiches, fried dumplings (pierogi) or pancakes (naleśniki) with mushrooms and onions, served directly on a skillet.
The Poles joke that now every week a new restaurant with Polish cuisine opens in the country, because foreigners come here for this, and the locals have finally learned how to run their own business. The main elements of Polish cuisine are all kinds of roots (beets, parsnips, salsify, Jerusalem artichokes), pickles (mushrooms, pumpkin, cucumbers) and sauerkraut.
But there are products that the Poles take care of with the utmost care.
At present, the Three Signs of Taste program established by the government in Poland protects regional products. Andruty of Kalisz, Sehlonsky chapel, Oscipate, Swapper and more than 30 items are included in this list. They are very different from the products of mass production: each has its own history and traditional cooking method.
For example, redykolka (redykołka) — is smoked salted cheese in the form of some animal, bird or heart, made directly in the region of Podhale.
The weight of one rare fish should not exceed 300 grams, and the smallest, similar to a spindle, weighs only 30 g. Long ago, the shepherds invented the recipe for this cheese and passed the secret of its production from generation to generation.
Therefore, today it is produced only from the milk of mountain sheep raised in this region.
Another popular regional product is smoked goose breast (półgęski wędzone), made from white goose or oatmeal. This species of birds is bred in the town of Koluda on a breeding farm in the National Animal Breeding and Research Center for breeding geese.
This is the only such farm in the world.
The geese are kept on the run, run through meadows and pastures, drink from streams.
Because of this, their meat is very clean, healthy, without chemical additives. This goose is called “oatmeal” because birds are fed exclusively with oats for the last three weeks of their lives, which gives the meat great taste.
A branded Polish product is also oatmeal geese fat, classified as “useful animal fats” due to its high content of unsaturated fatty acids and vitamins.
In Warsaw restaurants, you can try boneless Kolud goose with minced buckwheat and giblets, broth from the wings, stuffed goose neck, jellied from goose paws, breast from goose breast.
Today in Warsaw, farmers’ fairs are held almost daily. One of the most popular runs on Wednesdays in the medieval fortress on the outskirts of the city. Here you can buy fresh goat and sheep cheeses, delicious pies and sausages (Krakow, Zhivetska, hunting, juniper), natural apple juices with rhubarb or nettle, as well as various homemade farm products: soups (pea, cucumber or borsch), carp dishes (carp in Greek, jellied or marinated in beer) and bread paste — color.
This is crushed goose meat with fat and herbs, which is stored in clay pots.
For nature lovers — fresh birch sap and young nettle.
Almost all the products farmers produce themselves in small quantities.
What to try?
Chernin, or black watering — broth from poultry meat with the addition of duck blood, dried fruit and apple cider vinegar.
Like most Polish soups, black meat is usually served with noodles or dumplings.
Jour, or «white borscht» — Traditional Polish soup, usually cooked on Easter.
The main ingredient is leaven on rye bread crusts, fermentation of which lasts at least 5 days. Zurek has many options: with smoked duck breast or sausages, with dried mushrooms or fresh horseradish, with honey or cream, served in bread or with ashes.
The Poles say that this soup is a great help to cope with a hangover.
Braised cabbage with meat has been the favorite dish of the gentry since the XIV century. Usually they took him on the hunt.
In the course were all the products that were on hand: sauerkraut, meat of all possible types: bacon, sausages, cabanos, beef in the bone, veal, as well as mushrooms, dried plums and wine.
Bigos first stews in the oven for 5–10 hours, and then it must be infused for 3–4 days, after which “that” taste appears.
Plump, melting in his mouth donuts — a symbol of Warsaw.
The Poles love them so much that they even invented one day in the year when they can overeat — Fat Thursday (on the eve of Lent).
Donuts are stuffed with rose jam or rose petals with sugar, as well as fruit, milk jelly or jam.
Old Polish liqueurs — traditional Polish vodka with herbs and fruits, created according to ancient recipes. By production the fruit of the most noble grades, organically grown, and also the best variations of spirit are used.
The taste of liqueurs is enriched with aromatic spices, vanilla, cinnamon, almonds, zest, and nutshell.
The most fragrant liqueurs — on fresh ginger, on lemon and acacia honey, on pine needles.
Zubrovka — Original vodka from Bialystok, which is drawn on the grass of the same name. In a bottle with bison, grass stalks are lowered from Belovezhskaya Pushcha.
Sometimes it is sold in cheerful fluffy bottles «under the bison.»
Goldwasser — Gdansk liquor enriched with 22-carat gold grains.
The Poles call it «Golden Water».
Nourishing honey — strong alcoholic drink, similar to liquor, infused with honey and herbs.