If you’ve never been to the Czech Republic, you may not be entirely familiar with Czech cuisine. Where I grew up, in a small town in Pennsylvania, my exposure to Central/Eastern European cuisine consisted mainly of Polish and Ukrainian food… and German food, lots and lots of German food (think Pennsylvania Dutch). Pierogies, sauerkraut, bratwurst, and perhaps a schnitzel here and there. Czech food never made it onto my radar, not until I moved to Prague.
Because it is such a small country with so much of its history shared with its neighbors, Czech’s cuisine has both influenced and been influenced by its fellow Central European counterparts (Hungary and Germany, mainly). I learned a little about it from living here and dining in typical Czech restaurants, but my knowledge and appreciation for the local cuisine grew only recently when I tested a local Foodie Tour for Travelove.
A Prague tour with a twist
What an incredible way to learn about a place! You get a little bit of history, a little bit of culture, a lot of stories, a tour around the city, and lots and lots of delicious local specialties in between! I toured with Lenka, a local woman from Prague, whose passion for food is contagious. She toured us around both Old and New Town sampling typical Czech cuisine along the way.
The tour started in a small, gourmet passage housing the best butcher shop in Prague (heretofore unbeknownst to me!) where we sampled traditional beef tartar on toasted, garlic-rubbed Czech bread. It wouldn’t be going out on a limb to say that I’m not the biggest fan of raw beef in the world, but this was… yummy. Fantastic, really. And just the beginning of the delightful culinary experience yet to come.
Chlebicek, a Czech specialty
We continued our tasting across the hall at a tiny gourmet bistro where we were presented with a sort of upmarket version of chlebíček, the Czech version of an open-faced sandwich typically topped with egg, ham, or some type of mayonnaise-based salad. This fancified version was delicious and delicate, a lovely fresh celery spread that made my taste buds sing.
The tour took us to four more places throughout the neighborhood, all offering delicious, high-quality and typical Czech dishes that we washed down with typical Czech libations such as Pilsner Urquell beer, Slivovice (a generally homemade plum brandy that will undoubtedly put hair on your chest), and Becherovka, a Czech herb liquor with a mysterious secret recipe.
The tour is a brilliant way to discover a city and its culture through its cuisine and local food traditions. You have a local expert at your fingertips to help you get to know the lay of the land, where to find great restaurants, navigate a Czech menu and know what to eat for the rest of your stay! With a fun and energetic guide like Lenka, it will be the highlight of your trip.