Let’s just talk about Czech food for a sec! Eastern and Central European countries tend to be viewed as being on the basic side when it comes to food. Though I feel a certain culinary expertise in their simplicity. In Prague, you smell the food on the street. You’re surrounded by the aroma of burning wood and coal. When I entered the city for the first time I thought there were fires in the distance that were cause for concern but I learned that this smell is normal and just part of being in Prague. Also, that it’s normal for lumberjack-looking men to be carrying axes through the city streets to loudly chop wood to kindle outdoor spits so people can eat inordinately large pieces of meat. Not a sight one would be used to within a city but fascinating nonetheless. Prague’s culinary intrigues didn’t stop there. Take a look…
The main course may be simplistic but the sweets are anything but. If you visit Prague and you have a sweet tooth you will leave with a stomach ache and at least one cavity. Just accept it. I ate crullers (spiral doughnuts) every day. Not uncommon in America or many other countries for that matter but they do them particularly well in Prague. However, the number one sweet treat would have to be Trdelník. This is a sweet dough wrapped around a stick, cooked over an open coal fire, dusted in sugar (and often also crushed walnuts), cooked into a cone shape, served hot, and then filled with your choice of ice cream, whipped cream, Nutella or a number of other fillings. I sort of thought of them as the Central European cousin to the Churro. The best part is that they’re made right in front of you so they are hard to resist.
Potato chips on a stick? Why not! Sliced, fried and skewered right in front of your eyes. Typically served with no seasoning other than salt but the great texture makes up for the simple flavor. Fresh made Czech chips are fantastic. Especially if you’re used to only eating chips from a bag (as is most everyone’s experience with potato chips).
In the U.S. drinking on the streets is a faux pas so traveling Europe is always a good idea for a wine-o. Czech Republic in January is very cold and hot coffee just doesn’t cut it for most people. Thanks goodness for Svařák. Every corner seemed to have a Svařák (hot wine) stand. Mostly mulled red wines served burning hot. They are very delicious and great for combating the cold weather. Also, there is a beverage called Medovina (hot honey wine). This was my favorite as it was very sweet and about as thick as cough syrup. Unusual but very good! The normalcy of day drinking is just one of many easy-going aspects of Czech life you’ll experience in Prague. The appreciation of food and drink here is palpable. Your taste buds will not regret visiting Prague!