We’re almost at the end of our Czech Republic skiing week.
I have introduced you to that little village in the Bohemian mountains called Rokytnice nad Jizerou and I told you of how I almost killed myself and fell off the skilift!
But you know, countries in this part of Europe are not known for having exquisite food. They’re not France you know! Even Germany has an image of cabbage and stodge and the Czech Republic is no different, so I’m going to introduce you to some Czech delights.
Our family-run hotel – Hotel Stary Mlyn had an excellent bargain of half board. That half-board was a combination of a buffet breakfast and a three (3) course evening meal consisting of a soup starter, a main-meal and a dessert. You can choose either to pre-book as soon as you get there or to choose whenever you felt like eating at the hotel. In our case, it was a godsend as it meant that we didn’t have to go into “town”. However, there are many restaurants and fast-food joints to choose from if you so desire, but reserving a table is recommended as only 3,000 people actually live in Rokytnice nad Jizerou!
I used to live in Prague and in those days I used to go an American-style trendy restaurant-bar-club that only served vegetarian food. That hip joint was called Radost FX. I used to go for the weekend brunch and as a creature of habit, I always ordered the same dish called “ three eggs scrambled with fresh spinach and enclosed in potatoes. It was yum!
Czech food in the 90’s wasn’t that good.
In fact, it was downright awful!
I wasn’t a vegetarian but meat-dishes were slightly dodgy and you needed stomachs of steel. In fact, we all used to eat a cheese based dish called Smažený Sýr. Quite literally it was slices of cheese covered in breadcrumbs, and fried.
Lots and lots of oil.
For months, I had fried cheese for lunch and fried cheese for dinner. After I left the Czech Republic, I couldn’t even see cheese without wanting to throw up!
Happily that has changed. I still don’t think you’re going to get gourmet, but hardy rustic food in the cold of winter, and costing peanuts, never did anyone any harm. It might even make a man or woman out of you yet!
Get ready to lick your chops!
A CZECH BREAKFAST:
As I told you earlier, I used to live in the Czech Republic. In the 90’s. I was much younger then and in order to be able to live in a place, you’ve got to do as the locals do n’est–ce pas?!
So I was in a side street local cafe ordering a breakfast of bread, a boiled egg, and a cup of tea. I’m British, that’s what we do! Anyway, an old-ish man saw this and asked me what I was drinking. I told him.
He was disgusted.
“In Prague” he told me, “we drink beer and a little something to start the day.” He sent over a bottle of Czech beer (Staropramen if you must know), and a shot of Becherovka. He watched me as I downed it.
It was 9:30 a.m.
I looked around. Everyone was drinking beer and shots. And as ridiculously cheap as beer was, a cup of tea was by far, much more expensive!
I wanted to be “a local”. I joined in.
I did this for two years!?!!!!
That’s rock and roll baby. Rock and roll!
I’m a light-weight. I didn’t even drink alcohol at all until I left university. Then I moved to Prague and everything changed….!
But somehow it all seemed to work and fit together and so when I went back to England, I also went back to my one pint that could last two hours. And cocktails.
I’m quite controlled except for when I’m not. And I’m still a lightweight!
At Hotel Stary Mlyn we had a healthier breakfast that included eggs, Czech sausages, cucumbers, tomatoes, varieties of ham, salami, and cheese, lots of cake and bread and paté accompanied by a variety of breakfast cereals, juices, tea and coffee.
I was ill in our week of skiing and at first all I could stomach was soup. Bowls and bowls of hot, steaming soup, and the kitchen didn’t disappoint. The soup above is called “Farmers’ Soup” and consisted of clear broth, mushrooms, scrambled egg and cheese!
I had clear vegetable soup that consisted of onions, carrots sprinkled with parsley and came served with white Czech rolls and Czech brown sliced bread. They are much harder to chew than English or American bread and come without butter, so I always had to order butter as “extra.”
I had Czech onion soup with croûtons. The croûtons were a bit thicker than normal and slightly salty or maybe they weren’t, I can’t be sure as I dislike extra salt added to my food!
Neither of us liked the Czech potato soup. It was filled with dices of potatoes, carrots, leeks, and some sort of herb that I couldn’t identity. To be honest, it looked liked vomit and tasted like vomit too!
CZECH MAIN COURSES:
We always had dinner at the hotel and sometimes we had lunch too. They usually cost about 150kc or €5.50 / $6.00 and were enormously filling. In some cases leaving hardly any room for dinner but since I had a growing lad, a full lunch it sometimes had to be LOL!
The Czech potato pancake omelette above was a lunch item covered with chicken strips, mushrooms, cocktail tomatoes and Feltsalat also known as Rapunzel, lamb’s lettuce, corn salad, or mâche, and sprinkled with parsley.
I don’t like potato pancakes in any form but “The Tall Young Gentleman” found this meal impressive!
Oh yeah! Just look at those juicy steaks. This was another lunch item. I mean, if this was lunch what would dinner be like? We were completely and utterly spoilt! What a lovely dish of steak in a sort of mint sauce, fried potatoes, fried onions, and boiled potatoes sprinkled with parley. I couldn’t have any as it would have ruined my dinner, so I looked on and sipped my tea in earnest!
We both loved this Czech pasta bake filled with cream cheese, bacon, onions and peas, and accompanied by slices of sour gherkins also known as Czech cucumbers! It was a bit over-cooked but nevertheless, delightful. We could both have done with an extra serving, but there was no more to be had.
We didn’t like the Czech dumplings.
I have never liked the Czech dumplings.
They taste like milk sop. You know the type you’d either give to a baby or somebody completely toothless!
Our main course was Czech dumplings with beef and dill sauce.
The dill sauce tasted weird.
Imagine a dish of milk sop covered in sop. We were both downcast and disappointed but thankfully, dessert saved the day!
I hardly think any explanation is needed but this hotel had a whole flurry of ice-cream sundaes, which you could order at lunch-time. I told you we were spoilt for choice. At dinner-time, dessert came in smaller portions but nevertheless up to par!
And so, vanilla ice-cream scoops with small-enough-chocolate-sprinkles-that-I-can-eat-it-even-though-I-can-still-see-them, and dollops of clotted cream!
Just look at that sponge cake with sour cherries sprinkled with castor sugar. Doesn’t it look delish?!
Who said that Czech food was only stodgy? Who said that Czech food was only rustic? Who said…?
Never mind, but would you take a look at that! So soft, so spongy, so…yum!
Czech doughnuts or Vdolky filled with jam and covered in castor sugar. These doughnuts were actually served for breakfast rather than dessert, and many years on the European Continent as opposed to on the British Isles, has taught me that just because it’s sweet doesn’t mean that you can’t have it for breakfast LOL!
It was all going so well when desserts of this nature turned up…
It was described on the menu as “vanilla pudding” but actually it was chocolate pudding with bananas hidden in each bowl.
CHOCOLATE PUDDING and BANANAS!
And what about this horrible feature?
I mean, chocolate cake with berries.
And with coconut too. You’re going to kill me!
For all of you who can actually eat this well, eat your heart out LOL and just hand over the fruit salad.
This mixed fruit salad bowl filled with the Vitamin C goodness of apple and oranges might not look as enticing as the chocolate sponge cake covered in coconut sprinkles, and dribbled over with I-don’t-know-what-berries-and-sauce, but at least, I won’t fall, choke, end up in rashes, or have difficulty in breathing, and die earlier than expected because of the shock!
OTHER CZECH STUFF:
The Czech Republic has a large variety of bread and the one you see above are Czech rolls with Czech Gouda cheese and Czech blueberry jam.
This Czech mixed salad was also put out in the evening for half-board hotel guests to completely help themselves with, before dinner started. A salad filed with the goodness of lettuce, tomatoes, green, red and yellow peppers, cucumber and lettuce.
There weren’t a lot of vegetarian dishes but you can’t go wrong with fried cheese LOL!
On a serious note, if you’re looking for something more substantial, we also had fish fillet for dinner with mashed peas and potatoes topped with red peppers and Feltsalat also known as Rapunzel, lamb’s lettuce, corn salad, or mâche, with a buttery sauce.
And lastly, you can’t be in the Czech Republic if you haven’t at least tried and tasted some of the good ol’ Czech beer or Pivo.
That’s right beer made from pale lagers or pilsner such as my favourite Staropramen, Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus, Radegast, Krušovice and Budweiser Budvar (the Czech one not the American version!) and dark ales.
This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the fabulously enticing Czech dishes that I devoured, are my very own!
I have so much to share with you.
Next week, I’ll be participating in the pre-ITB Berlin party organised by Travel Massive on 03.03.15. This year the party is going to be in one of Berlin’s leading electronic music venues – @clubGRETCHEN – for an evening celebrating the travel industry. If you’re a blogger or just fancy a knees-up, register then come and meet us. It’s going to be so much fun!
I’ll also be at the International Travel Trade Fair – ITB taking place from 04.03.15 – 08.03.15 and after that I’ll be off travelling to the next destination which I will reveal next week!
If you’re not in Berlin in March, you’re in the wrong place!
March is going to be hopping.
Watch this space!
Have you ever had Czech food or drink? What did you think of it?
See you in Berlin.
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