Czech cuisine has developed over hundreds of years and has taken influence from Austria and Hungary, but it has also influenced other cuisines.
The Czech people enjoy a good start to the day and begin with a substantial breakfast. Mainly white bread rolls served alongside sliced meats such as hams, salamis and sausages. Cheeses are also on offer with eggs and jam and even doughnuts or sweet breads and cakes. The main drink with breakfast would be tea with lemon, coffee or fruit juice.
Czech foods tend to be high in sugar as it seems to be added to everything! It is not a place to head for if you are trying to diet as the food is just too delicious to resist.
Lunch is the main meal of the day and usually consists of soup, a main meal and usually a small desert.
Soups (polévka) are hearty and are popular everywhere. Some of the traditional soups are potato soup, chicken noodle soup, beef soup with liver dumplings, dill soup or the most well known – garlic soup.
Main course dishes consist of meat and a side dish. The main meats being pork and chicken which is either fried, stewed, roasted or breaded, in dishes such as schnizels. Beef is also used in making Goulash, although this too can be made with pork. Game such as wild boar, hare and venison is excellent and given the opportunity to try it, shouldn’t be missed. Fish is not often available, although some fresh water fish will find their way onto the table. Traditionally Carp is served on Christmas Eve in all Czech households. Sauce is always present and in plenty! The mouthwatering cream sauces are perfect to be mopped up with the dumplings, made from either bread or potatoes. The dumplings served with pork and cabbage are a traditional favourite. Other side dishes commonly found are boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, French fries, rice or potato salad.
The evening meal tends to be a lighter affair after a hearty lunch, although this varies from family to family nowadays.
Deserts tend to be filling and rich. Popular here are pancakes, honey cake, apple strudel or fruit dumplings. The fruit dumplings are made from a potato dough and stuffed with a fruit such as a whole plum, when cooked they are rolled in sugar, delicious but very filling! In the lead up to Christmas, households will bake their biscuits, these will be started at the beginning of Lent and eaten through December. The vanilla crescent biscuits are a firm favourite alongside Linzer Bisciuts with jam filling, walnut biscuits and of course the traditional gingerbread .
A traditional Czech feast, held in winter time, is the pork feast, when a home bred pig is killed and shared out among the wider family, friends and neighbours. Every part of the pig is used, nothing is wasted, even the blood is used to make black pudding sausage.
Beer (pivo). Beer has been brewed here for centuries with evidence of the Regent brewery going back to 1379, they still use the traditional methods of brewing. There are over 60 breweries in the Czech Republic.
There have been vineyards in the area for centuries. Czech Prince Bo?ivoj is credited with planting the first vineyards in the area,with vintners associating themselves into guilds during the 13th and 14th centuries. The warmer, south facing slope of Moravia being quite suitable for grape growing. In the last decade there has been a huge resurgence in popularity in Czech wine, vintners are now making a comeback. There are now many variety of grapes grown here, white Reisling, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Pinot Gris to mention some.