Czech cuisine is hearty, filling and based on meat, dumplings, and vegetables. It is heavily influenced by the country’s historical Austro-Hungarian rule and the traditional peasant food. Dishes are often made with ingredients that are readily available, such as potatoes, bread, and sour cream. Czech cuisine is also known for its hearty soups, such as garlic soup and vegetable soup with meat. The country is famous for its beer, with Pilsner Urquell and Budweiser Budvar being two of the most well-known brands. Baking is very popular and you can taste a lot of different bread and sweet pastries. Overall, Czech cuisine offers a mix of flavors and textures that are perfect for those looking for a warm, comforting meal.
Ingredients in Czech cuisine
In Czech cuisine, meat such as pork, beef, and poultry are widely used to make hearty dishes. Dumplings made from potatoes or flour are a staple side dish, while vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions, and cabbage are frequently used in recipes. Sour cream is a popular ingredient, often used as a topping or in soups and sauces. Bread, such as in the form of dumplings, is another common ingredient. Herbs like parsley, dill, and marjoram are used to add flavor to dishes, while spices like caraway seeds, black pepper, and paprika are used to enhance the taste.
Must-eat main dishes in Prague
- Svíčková: A popular Czech dish made from a sirloin of beef in a cream sauce, served with bread dumplings.
- Roasted Duck: A roasted duck, often served with red cabbage and bread dumplings, is a staple of Czech holiday menus.
- Fried Cheese (Smažený sýr): Breaded and fried cheese, often with a side of boiled potatoes or fries and tartar sauce.
- Chicken or pork Schnitzel: Thin slices of meat (chicken or beef) breaded and fried, served with potatoes, mashed potatoes or potato salad.
- Beef Goulash: A traditional stew made from beef, onions, paprika, and other spices, served with bread dumplings or potatoes.
- Fried carp: Carp, a freshwater fish, is often served fried or grilled, usually for Christmas or other celebrations.
- Grilled Sausages: Grilled sausages, often served with mustard, bread, and sauerkraut, are a common food in Czech pubs.
- Fruit dumplings: soft dumpling filled with fruit such as strawberries, blueberries or apricots served with a sweet topping of melted butter, sugar and cinnamon.
- Liver Paté: A smooth spread made from liver of chicken, duck or venison, often served with bread or baguette as an appetizer.
- Crackling Spread: A spread made from pork cracklings, often served on bread with pickles.
- Pickled Hermelín Cheese: Pickled cheese served usually as a starter or just a snack to beer.
Czech sweets and desserts
- Pancakes (palačinky): Thin pancakes filled with sweet ingredients such as fruit, Nutella, or cottage cheese, and served with powdered sugar.
- Strudel (Štrúdl): A sweet pastry made from thin layers of flaky dough, filled with fruit or cheese, and dusted with powdered sugar.
- Honey cake (Medovník): A traditional cake made from gingerbread-like dough, layered with honey and nuts.
- Buchty: Sweet buns filled with fruit, curd cheese or plum jam, often served warm with powdered sugar.
- Větrník: A crescent-shaped pastry filled with a sweet filling, similar to a croissant.
- Kremrole: A dessert made from a puff pastry filled with a sweet cream filling and served with a dusting of powdered sugar.
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