Tram and car traffic is heavy on Prague’s Dukelských Hrdinů St. – not a very inviting location to open a business in the middle of the financial crisis. Yet the 45-year-old cook gone entrepreneur Petr Kosiner has set up his store Lázníčkový knedlík here. It is the only brick-and-mortar shop in Prague to sell homemade dumplings. Since it opened seven months ago, the store and the humble goods it sells have turned out to be so popular that already its owner has a hard time keeping up with the huge demand. Both restaurant professionals and regular
Blanka Milfaitová’s famous marmalade mini-manufacture is a dream come true. Her jams, produced in a small village in the Šumava mountains have won her the title of the World’s Best Artisan Marmalade Maker, the 2013 gold medal at the World Marmalade Awards and the Double Gold Star at the Great Taste Awards. Right now Blanka is on a European Marmalade Expedition making marmalade from local produce in 35 countries around Europe.
The Czech Republic has a large Vietnamese community and today Vietnamese-run open-all-hours corner stores are to be found throughout the country. Indeed, a new report by market analysts Nielsen says that one fifth of Czech food shops are now Asian run. But what does the boom in Vietnamese stores mean for consumers? That’s a question I put to leading Czech food writer Petra Pospěchová.
For the first time in a decade, the Czech Republic’s population declined last year. Newly released officials figures show that a total of 10,512,400 people lived in the country in 2013, some 3,700 fewer than in the previous year. The slight decline has been attributed to fewer births – but also a fall in fresh immigrants and a rise in the number of people leaving the country. I discussed the statistics with demographer Tomáš Kučera from Prague’s Charles University.
The population of the Czech Republic fell in 2013 for the first time in 10 years. The Czech Statistics Office Friday said the population slipped to just over 10.512 million by the end of the year. The biggest factors in the fall of around 3,700 in the total population were more deaths than births and more people quitting the country than coming in. It is the first time since 2001 that more people have left the Czech Republic than arrived. There were also fewer weddings and abortions last year but more divorces.
Two Prague restaurants, the Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise and the Alcron, have retained their Michelin stars, according to the 2014 edition of the Michelin guide to Europe released on Wednesday. Both restaurants first received one Michelin star in 2012, a rating they retained last year as well. No other eatery was added to the prestigious list this year; however, five Prague restaurants – Divinis, Aureole, Sasazu, Aromi and Sansho – received the lower Bib Gourmand rating this year from the French company.
Entering Ryby & Chips on Myslíkova St. in downtown Prague is akin to being teleported to a fish and chip shop in the UK or Ireland, albeit one where the menu is in Czech. Over the years, others have had little success in finding a market for this kind of fast food in the Czech capital. However, Ryby & Chips co-owner Matthew Salmon believes an authentic approach will set his recently opened eatery apart. When we spoke at Ryby & Chips, I first asked Salmon about the genesis of the business.
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.
Despite projections of economic growth, fear of the future and high unemployment is making Czechs increasingly cautious when it comes to spending. Polls indicate that in 2013 two thirds of Czechs significantly cut back on their expenditures, forking out less on clothes, entertainment, holidays but also food and in some cases even medical care. Restaurants around the country are feeling the pinch and hundreds of them are literally fighting for survival.
The UK frozen food retailer Iceland recently opened its first store in Prague, its third location in the Czech Republic. The popular chain wants Czechs to acquire a taste for its frozen staples; if they do, Iceland has big plans for its Czech operation, with an appetite to expand to other countries in the region as well.
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