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Overview of Czech Cuisine History Edit
The Czech history, tradition and food culture all started about 1200 years ago, on the Czech lands, starting with the early Slavic settlement around 6th century. The whole cooking method and tradition has its root in the peasant’s culinary rituals inherited and used almost the same for centuries. Preparing meals over open fire is a great technique kept for centuries, giving special flavor to food ingredients. Agriculture is still today one of the most important resources of food, together with raising and growing cattle herds. It is known that Czech Republic is a country of fat food and rich consistent dishes, most of them animal based, usually consisting of Pork, cabbage and doughy dumplings smothered in gravy. However, lighter and healthier foods like salads and more vegetables instead of meats have increased in importance of their every day diet. Seafood, though rarely served or prepared, is imported and used in fancy restaurants. Fresh water fish is available, and even the national Christmas dish is made of water carp.
Neighbor countries like Germany, Hungarian and Austria have influenced the Czech cuisine and put a mark on the national dishes and culinary methods. Still, the Czech style of preparing dishes is apart from their neighbors’, and has a distinctive Czech mark.
Czech recipes are extremely popular, and even if they are influenced by other cuisines, are still appreciated as individualized and with a particular taste. Traditional dishes are usually prepared in same ways, no matter the country region. The Potato soup, the traditional roast Pork with dumplings and sauerkraut, and the fruit filled strudels are normally made with very few regional differences. The cabbage for instance is one particular dish that is preferred to be sour in the Bohemian regions, but sweet in the Moravian parts of the country. There are 14 regions all over the Czech Republic, and the techniques used in the preparation methods keeps them unified together, all of them using salt, ground black or red pepper, dill, caraway, marjory or thyme as the main condiments. Still, in some Moravian parts of the Czech Republic, you will find a typical dish mostly made only here, the plum dumplings. Also you’ll find mushroom dishes such as kulajda (cream of mushroom soup), kyselo (mushroom sour cream sauce). In the country parts including the Brno city and surroundings, the Potato pancake and fruit dumplings are some of the best deserts found. In the Prague region the diversity of dishes includes potatoes, cabbage soup, fruit dumplings, garlic soup, Potato pancakes and cottage cheese.
Ostrava region is well known for the best roast Pork, with dumplings and cabbage, and the Pltzen area has people that prepare the most delicious Beef sirloin in cream sauce, Pork schnitzel and goulash.
Finding the ingredients for a Czech Recipe is not so easy when you do not know the names of the ingredients. Take time to make a list of ingredients and the name they may be found under at the Local Markets.
- Check out the Czech Food Glossary
Preparation Methods for Czech Cooking Edit
Meat is one of the main elements of most Czech dishes, so knowing how to prepare Beef, Pork and other poultry, will lead you to understanding how to prepare a delicious Czech meal. Fried, boiled or baked, meat can be prepared in numerous ways. However, cooked over an open fire is the best way to prepare a stake or a Beef roast. Vegetables are usually hard boiled for different soups and stews, and sometimes even served fresh in salads with mayonnaise.
But the most important preparation method in Czech Republic is for the food to be prepared at home, preferably cooked over an open fire in special pots. This ritual is a long inherited tradition influenced by the peasant way of living. There are special preparation methods where special unique dishes are being prepared, like the homemade sausages. There are different variations of the same tradition that uses Pork guts to make them, but the amount of condiments and the types of flavors leads to varied end-products.
Special Equipment for Czech Cooking When you plan on cooking in a Czech manner, you will be in need of a lot of pots and serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs. Big pots that can be placed over open fires are specific to this cuisine. Also, baking pots and dishes are very popular in the Czech cuisine, since a lot of meals are prepared in the oven rather than on an electric fire. Ceramic dishes and plates with floral design are representative for a Czech cuisine, and there are also wooden spatulas, clay and ceramic pots, that are frequently used in the cooking process. Because a lot of dishes are homemade, it is only natural to use a lot of rustic cooking equipment, some even manually designed and made.
Deep serving dishes are required for the traditional Czech soups. You need to consider cover lids and insulated food carriers to keep the temperature of the food constant, if you plan on serving the dishes at their optimized temperature.
Czech Food Traditions and Festivals Edit
Among Czech food tradition, one that is kept the same all over the country is the Christmas Eve tradition, when fresh water carp is prepared and served for dinner. Czech Republic is a country of joy and celebration, with traditional dances specific to these regions only. The Polka festival, taking place in May, is such an occasion of joy when you can learn about the Czechoslovakian traditions, religious customs, folk dances, and food related traditions. People not only celebrate the dance itself, but they party at the after fest, when cooked meals are served in local barbeques. There is also a typical Mlynec, food festival, taking place in October, when Czech people prepare specialties like roast Pork, with dumplings and cabbage, sauerkraut (a typical German influenced Sausage) apple strudels and Potato puddings. The Czech Heritage Day, celebrated in September is accompanied by local folk dances and kolače (a sweet dough-dessert). There is also a kolače festival where authentic Czech dishes are served in a dance and celebration atmosphere.
People in Czech Food Edit
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Czech people are gourmands by nature and love fatty rich food. In Czech Republic, unlike most European countries, food is usually homemade, prepared by families for their members only. The many recipes and even more methods of preparing special traditional Czech meals are basically due to the feeling that a chef adds to the cooking process. Combining available ingredients depends on the chef’s personal method, and can result in Czech dishes that will become even more original and delicious than the already spectacular ones. Preparing kolače or roast Pork with dumplings for dinner, a Czech chef will put passion in the cooking process, investing personal skills as well as inherited traditional methods and techniques. The Czech chefs take proud in their cooking skills and methods, and hospitality is one of their greatest characteristic, inviting you in their home and sharing with you their traditional meals and dishes.