Five foods of Warsaw
Polish gastronomy has a style of its own but one we can replicate in the winter months by following recipes of hearty stews, meats and dumplings. But there’s nothing quite like the real thing. And in the buzzing capital of Warsaw, where competition is high and the clientele discerning, the cuisine offered is just as it should be: a tantalising treat.
Even better, flights to Warsaw are competitive and on-the-ground it’s great value for money, so a quick jaunt over won’t break the bank.
To refuel during a busy visit seeing attractions like its Old Town, the Monument of the Warsaw Mermaid and the Royal Castle, stick to the stalls, cafes and cheap eats restaurants to uncover some of the city’s finest food and drink. Here are the five dishes the Flexicover team suggest you don’t miss out on.
Poland’s unofficial national dish, this stew of sauerkraut and meat is a staple for Warsaw families, especially on the second day of Christmas when it’s traditionally served - though the recipe varies according to each family or restaurant. To make the meal even more comforting, it’s served with a good dose of carb, like rye bread or potatoes. For a taste of this delicious meal in a hipster setting, try Bar Absurdu, where there’s an elaborate choice of cocktails, Polish beer and shots to help wash it down.
Forget vodka – for a real winter warmer, hot chocolate is an indulgence the Poles take seriously. In operation since 1851, making it the oldest chocolatier in Poland, Wedels offer around 20 varieties of piping hot chocolate like milk, dark or ginger, along with sweet treats. Providing a much-needed pit stop from sightseeing, relax at their Szpitalna Street branch near to the National Museum and the Palace of Culture and Science. It’s a finely designed chocolate lounge that takes you back to another era, though the sweet treats on offer compete with the world’s best.
During the summer months, chlodnik is a popular cold soup – think of it as the Polish equivalent of gazpacho. It’s made from soured milk, young beetroot leaves, beetroot, cucumbers and dill. Many locals in Warsaw get their chlodnik fix from Bar Bambino, a local ‘milk bar’ located outside the city centre which is rarely without a queue. A hangover from the early post-war Communist era, milk bars fed the masses cheap dairy-based products and they’re just as popular today. While some have updated their menus, style and service, these cultural institutions are certainly worth a visit for their historical significance.
There’s plenty of Polish food for the adventurous – the duck blood soup of czarnina is one to write home about – but for moderates kaszanka is worth a try. This blood sausage, not dissimilar to black pudding, is made up of pork offal, including blood, liver, lungs and fat. These meats are then spiced with onion, pepper and marjoram to make a rich, tangy sausage that’s often topped with fried onions and served with mustard and rye bread. You’re never too far away from a place that serves kaszanka, so keep your mind open and your eyes peeled.
To try something a little more familiar, pierogi is a great place for nervous eaters to begin their Varsovian culinary journey. This is a ravioli-type dish of crescent dumplings filled with potatoes, cheese, meat, mushrooms or sauerkraut, then topped with bacon, melted cheese, sour cream, onions or butter. Try a Ruskie pierogi to start: this Russian version is loaded with potato and cheese, and is as filling as it sounds. While it’s easily found in Warsaw, a few places specialise in it: try Gosciniec Polskie Pierogi, Kraina Pierogów or Pierogarnia na Bednarskiej.
So wherever your travel plans take you it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.