On Friday people all around the Czech Republic began celebrating Saint Martin’s Day, which falls on November 11. According to a Czech proverb, it is the day which brings the first snow to the country. In recent years, however, the day has mostly been associated with the arrival of the season’s first wine and with the traditional feast of roast goose.
If you visit the Czech countryside at the start of the year you are likely to receive an invitation to attend a "zabijačka" – in other words a pig-slaughter feast; a centuries old tradition that is still observed in many parts of the country. While for some it is a barbaric practice that has no place in the present-day, for others it is an important part of village folklore that brings people together.
Dining is one of the most important manifestations of material culture. At state dinners the quality of the porcelain and glass used represents a given state. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia, we have prepared a photo gallery, documenting the porcelain and glass dining sets used by Czechoslovak and later Czech presidents. They did not necessarily change with every administration, changes in the porcelain, glass and silverware used were usually related to a change of state symbols. So how was the Czech Republic
Obložený chlebíček, which literally means garnished bread, is one of the most popular Czech snacks. These small, two or three bite open-faced sandwiches with assortments of toppings are traditionally served at parties and events and their invention is credited to Czech deli chef Jan Paukert. Find out more about the Czech specialty in today’s edition of Czech Food Classics.
Traditional Czech cuisine could hardly do without the dumpling, which typically accompanies meat dishes, such as svíčková omáčka or roast pork with cabbage. But there are also ovocné knedlíky, dumplings filled will fruit, that are served as a meal on their own. Find out more about this sweet treat in today’s edition of Czech Food Classics.
The traditional špekáček – a short fat sausage best roasted on a stick over a campfire – is a Czech summer staple. It is a treat that Czechs associate with their childhood and one that is linked to socializing on carefree summer evenings when friends get together, roast sausages over a campfire, drink beer and talk long into the night. The špekáček – which literally translates as “fattie” is more than just food – it is a phenomenon that links people across generations.
Fried cheese or smažený sýr, familiarly known as smažák, is a staple on Czech menus, from shabby pubs and bistros to middle class restaurants. The slices of cheese, coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried, are traditionally served with French fries or potatoes and tartar sauce. Find out more about smažák in the second part of our Czech Food Classics series.