Are you hungry? Good lets start talking about food.
The biggest meal of the day in Czech Republic is lunch (oběd) and its served at 12 o´clock. I thought I might tell you few things about the way we eat and cook.
Our lunch consist of three courses: the soup, the main course and the dessert. You may get a salad or a compote to your main course as well which is really nice diversification.
In daily routine it may happen that some of the courses is missing. For example you are not much hungry so you have just the soup. My mother doesn´t make soups at all but cooks only the main courses, while someone on a diet will reject to eat the dessert. Thats the sound of reality, but officialy lunch is a three-course meal.
Czechs are quite interested in making (and eating) soups. At least I think so, because we have so many kinds of soups.
There are soups from one kind of ingredients – potatoes (bramborová), lentil (čočková which is traditional for Christmas Eve), tomatoes (my favourite rajská). Or from more ingredients like vegetable soup. From my opinion the most entertaining thing is to order vegetable soup, you never know what will you get as there can be anything from potatoes and carrot to cabbage and cauliflower.
There are soups with pieces of meat – pork, fish or chicken. There are ingredients you put into the soup to make it more thick like dumplins, fried bread or cheese.
If you go to a restaurant you may almost always choose from garlick soup and chicken soup. Sometimes they have even more kinds.
The main courses
I would say there are two main possibilities – eithwer it is a sweet or salty meal. Than of course the salty can be with meat as the most of our meals or vegetarian. I used to be a vegetarian and it was not always easy to get yourself something else than fried cheese or pancakes, but I would say it is getting better as the restaurants slowly find out they may have more customers if they sertved more vegetarian dishes. It is true though that official traditional czech meals are with meat.
The most typical czech meal ever is knedlo-vepřo-zelo (dumplings-pork-cabbage) which is very tasty meal you should try out. If you are vegetarian stick to the dumplings with cabbage and let your friends to eat the meat, it´s worth it.
If I ever make my boyfriend to cook it I will add a recipe here. Meanwhile you may try easy stewed carrot (in the photo) I wrote a post about.
The fried cheese
I do not know how old tradition is fried cheese I mentioned above, but every restaurant does serve it and sometimes we make it at home as well. As a child I used to love this meal and even nowdays I sometimes go to fast food and order fried cheese in bread for quick lunch while shopping. As you see you may try this dish everywhere at restaurant, at home or even in the streets of every town. You may find great article about this meal on the blog Beyond of Prague.
The saucy bits
Many czech main courses consist of cooked or fried meat, potatoes or dumplings and sauce. The sauces can be very variable just like the soups, but there are some main kinds. It would be rajská (tomatoes), koprová (dill), hodolanská (from Hodolany region made with milk, potatoes and carrot), houbová (mushrooms) and svíčková (cream sauce).
So far I have not post any recipes for sauces, but I will try in the future, so you may taste czech dishes at home. (The easiest way of traveling, right?)
One of my favourite czech sweet meals is žemlovka made with rolls, apples and cottage cheese, I wrote a post about it. I think this meal is wonderful.
You may meet sweet dumplings with jam or fruit filling in many restaurants and houses. I love to make these at home, I find it funny how the dumplings start to flow on the surface of the water in pot when they are done.
And one of the typical but slightly weird dishes are noodles with ground poppy seeds. As fresh poppy is used to make drugs some foreiners refuse to eat this dish as much harmless as it is.
Compote and salads
It is quite usual in Czech Republic to have a garden or a family member that does have one. And so it is also usual to have homemade compots and jams. The end of summer is everytime a busy time for mothers and grandmothers as they are filling glass after glass with wonders from their gardens and are stucking them safely to pantries.
It is therefore normal to get a homemade compote when visiting your friends for lunch. Enjoy it, before the sad times of bought compotes come (I hope it never happens.)
About the salads there are many but lets mention the most simple cucumber one:
You grate peeled cucumber, add salt, sugar and lemon sauce and voilá your salad is ready.
Good tips and links
You may read more detailed information about czech cuisine here on Wikipedia, it is quite long article that was kinda overhelming for me, but very informative.
Than there is a wonderful post called In Praise of Czech Cuisine: 5 reasons to love dining in Czechland on the Girl in Czechland blog I suppose the title says it all.
Dobrou chuť! Bon apetit everyone!
Maybe you would like to read about what is NOT traditional in czech cuisine? Here you go – post about Trdelník.