Friday, 12 June 2015

Poland diaries : A Taste of Poland

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been telling you all about my recent work trip to Gdynia in Poland. I decided to complete my Polish diary with a round-up of some of the foods that we encountered during our trip that don't need (or deserve !) a recipe post all for themselves. (Don't miss my Polish recipes for Pierogi, Zurek, Bigos, Golabki and Kielbasa with Polish coleslaw though, as they're well worth trying.) This cake, made by one of the Polish delegates for our official meeting with the mayor, sums up the whole trip because it features the Sport Evolution logo and the whole partnership was based on using sport as a vector of integration (for disabled people, children, elderly people, women, etc).

When we walked past this ice cream shack, I laughed and said "I bet the ice creams are nowhere near that big in real life". Then we saw some customers eating them and they were ! Polish people must be so disappointed when they buy an ice cream abroad !

All of the restaurants we ate in had jugs of iced water on the tables with slices of citrus fruits (orange lemon, lime or a mixture of all three) and some sprigs of mint in them. This was a really refreshing and palate-cleansing drink.

The pierogi restaurant had another alternative - mint and cucumber which was a lovely summery option. These make a great alternative to fizzy or sugary drinks for the kids too.

On the final day, we discovered this lovely old-fashioned grocery store.The shelves were lined with boxes and packets and across the counters were big jars of everything from sugar, coffee and rice to sweets and flour, that you could buy by weight.

Even in the big supermarket I visited, I was surprised to see loose frozen vegetables and frozen chips for you to buy by weight too.

We ate lots and lots of soup, my favourite of which was a rich, sweet tomato soup that we had in several places, always topped with a handful of leaves (rocket, basil or coriander).

This was another traditional soup with a kielbasa sausage in it. On the side is something we found less palatable - Smalec, which is a mix of lard and pork scratchings to be spread on bread. Yes, it is as greasy as it sounds ! Luckily the big gherkins were there to help it down !

On this plateful of food is a piece of salmon topped with wilted spinach and the curds cheese that we saw everywhere, including for breakfast and in pierogi.

I couldn't resist snapping a photo of this display of cakes in a traditional bakery - I'll have to look up some of the recipes.

The rye breads at the back are delicious - they were lovely slathered in butter and homemade strawberry jam at our guest house.

Our parting gift was a bottle of plum liqueur and a bottle of rye sour, for making zurek soup.

I also brought back some kielbasa, the most famous Polish sausage.

Along with some Kabanoski, skinny chicken sausages, which were equally delicious, even if Juliette quite rightly commented that they look like dogs' rawhide chewsticks !

Are there any other Polish foods or recipes I should know about?

*** Don't miss my country-by-country globecooking recipe index ! ***

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