A Day of Exploring Czech Cuisine
Between Prague’s cobblestone streets, Gothic and Roman architecture, and colorful buildings, are thousands of restaurants, bars, and culinary shops waiting to be discovered. At times, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which pub or brewery to head to. After all, there are 327 in the country, which is a lot given the fact that it is the size of New York State. As a full time traveler, I’ve learned that the best way to experience a culture is through its food. So with this in mind, I booked a tour with Eating Prague: specialists in showcasing Czech’s local cuisine.
With every food tour I’ve been on comes new lessons. However, I had never been on a tour of a country that had to be so creative with their cuisine due to political unrest. During the Soviet occupation of the Czech Republic, almost all imports were prohibited. This required the locals to get creative with their ingredients. For example, gingerbread could no longer contain ginger since that would have to be imported. Instead locals would use honey and pepper to mimic the flavor.
At our first stop, a gingerbread shop, we experienced this old art form first hand. It reminded me of stepping into a real life version of the CandyLand board game. Cookies with multicolored frosting hung on the walls, gingerbread houses towered from high to reach shelves, and various sweets tied with ribbons sat in woven baskets. Here we tried three unique varieties of Czech treats and attempted to decide which among them was the tastiest. It was hard. They were all delicious in their own way!
Throughout the next three hours, we munched on chlebikcy (open-faced sandwiches) with a gourmet twist, proper Czech maso (meat), savory Old Bohemian soup, blackcurrant wine and roast lamb in a secret garden, and svickova (Czech dumplings with braised beef in a cranberry compote). Although all of the stops were different, one thing stood out. Czech cuisine is hearty: the perfect food for cold weather or to pair with a beer.
In fact, some restaurants even offer beer pairings with your dishes. This is not a coincidence. This country runs on beer. This fact becomes increasingly clear once you’re introduced to the dishes, which I believe were all designed around beer. Take svickova, the last dish we had on the tour, this is the ideal plate to be paired with beer. It is hearty, beefy, and heaven when coupled with a nice brew.
You may be wondering “Sarah, where do I get a nice brew in Prague?” The answer is “anywhere.” Prague has some of the best beer in the world. They also have incredible variety. Some bars even have over 600 types of beer (check out my Prague guide for the names of those places). During the tour, I asked our guide his thoughts on great places for beer. His suggestion to me was T’Anker. This spot is a gem. It’s hidden on top of a mall that looks like the death star in StarWars, so many tourists don’t know about it. Yet, it boast’s gorgeous panoramic views of the city. I highly recommend visiting during your trip.
With our bellies full and our brains a lot more educated on Prague and Czech history, the tour came to a close. What I loved most was that it was more than just a food tour. We also visited landmarks, learned about the local culture, and experienced modern Prague. If you’re heading to the city soon, give my friends at Eating Prague a shout. You will have a great time!
I was a guest on this tour, however, the opinions are my own. To book at tour visit eatingpraguetours.com. I went on the Prague Food Tour. It is $98 per person.
PHOTOS FROM MY DAY WITH EATING PRAGUE: