When you think of Czech cuisine, the first thing that comes to mind is pork, sausages and other meat dishes, such as the beef roast svíčková, which some would say is the country’s national dish. Certainly, the country is not known for its vegetarian and vegan fare. So how difficult is it to live on a meatless diet in the Czech Republic, and how is the country’s attitude to food in general changing? In this edition of Czech Life, we look at alternative forms of nutrition.
According to data published by the Czech Statistical Office on Monday, the population of the Czech Republic grew by 3,000 to 10,535 million people in the first quarter of 2011. Immigration played a great role in this growth: some 3,800 people moved to the Czech Republic in this period, 1,600 more than in the same period of the previous year. In the first three months of this year, 26,700 children were born, while 27,400 residents of the Czech Republic passed away. Compared to the same period of the previous year, both numbers have dropped. Moreover, 3,200 Czechs got married in the first quarter of 2011, while the number of divorces dropped by 1,300 as compared to the same period last year.
A 46-year-old teacher and a 13-year-old boy drowned during a rafting trip on the Morava river in Olomouc on Thursday while a 24-year-old rafting instructor is in hospital in critical condition. The accident occurred when rafts with schoolchildren landed on the bank of the river near a weir on the outskirts of Olomouc, in eastern Moravia. The boy reportedly jumped in the water, the police said. In an attempt to save him, the teacher and the instructor also jumped in.
The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority on Monday ordered a nation-wide inspection of fresh vegetables. The decision comes after more than a hundred Spanish cucumbers possibly contaminated with a deadly mutated E. coli bacterium went on sale in several health food outlets in the country. Czech authorities are implementing the checks after vegetables with the infectious bacteria killed ten consumers in neighboring Germany.
Some 120 Spanish cucumbers possibly contaminated with the mutated E.coli
bacteria have been sold on the Czech market, a spokesman for the
country’s food inspection authority said on Sunday. The vegetables came
from Germany on Tuesday and were distributed among retailers the
authorities are now trying to identify ; the same German dealer also
supplied cucumbers to Austria, Luxembourg and Hungary, the spokesman said.
Another shipment that arrived in the on Thursday has not yet entered
Spanish cucumbers and other produce are believed to have caused an outbreak of the E.coli bacteria in Germany, Denmark and other countries. In Germany, ten people have died of the infection and hundreds of others fell ill.
Not far from the National Theatre, tucked away on Bartolomějská street, the small flagship store of the label Leeda boasts some of the most original, colorful and hip clothing in the Czech capital. Run by two young designers, Lucie Kutálková and Lucie Trnková, Leeda has been putting out its limited edition collections for nearly seven years. The two designers both studied at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. Lucie Kutálková explains how the two were given a unique opportunity to establish their own label and retail space.
Le Monde correspondent Fabrice Martin-Plichta has been living in Prague since before the Velvet Revolution. Indeed, the French journalist was working here at Radio Prague when those momentous changes occurred. Since 2004, Martin-Plichta has also been the head of the Czech Federation of Food Banks, an organisation which every year saves hundreds of tonnes of food from being destroyed and distributes it among the needy.
According to a fresh survey by the Slovakian consumers’ association, international food producers unload lower-quality products on post-communist states, including the Czech Republic. The association’s director said that tests reveal that products in newer EU member states are of lower quality than those on supermarket shelves in older EU member states, with the worst results found in Bulgaria. He added that companies may choose to unload lower-quality products on those markets because they expect consumers there to be more likely to accept poorer quality.
When Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and her husband Prince Claus visited the Czech Republic in 1993 the head of protocol at Prague Castle went into overdrive. It was the first visit by a foreign royal since the fall of communism and everything had to be perfect. There was just one tiny hitch that made headlines – when the queen visited the North Bohemian brown coal mining region and accepted an invitation for a cup of coffee she was presented with a murky brown mixture - a Turkish-style cup of coffee that has nothing to do with real Turkish coffee.
The Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that Czech schools do not have to cater to children whose parents do not want them to eat animal products. In the case of a mother suing a primary school in Břeclav, the court found that schools can offer vegetarian meals if there is interest, but that they have no obligation to use vegan products that do not contain eggs, milk or dairy products. The school, which offers its 600 pupils three choices of meals, said it did not have the capacity to include a vegan meal. The court ruled that the school’s decision to allow vegan children to provide their own meals which they would then be served at lunch was an appropriate solution that did not damage the rights of vegans.
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