In this episode of Flavor of Poland, Aleksandra August, takes American TV viewers on a walk through the Lesser Poland region, exploring the local history, culture and tastes through its capital city, Kraków. Kraków was the old capital of Poland prior to Warsaw, having served as its political center for a total of 3 times throughout history, and altogether for a period of 700 years! As the country’s political seat for centuries, this city and its surrounding region were witnesses to some of the most important events of Polish national history, which lie carefully and visibly preserved in its old streets, historic monuments and museums to this day. Many consider Kraków the spiritual and cultural heart of Poland..
While touring through this great Polish city, Aleksandra will show viewers its most important monuments – from the beautiful Kraków Main Square (one of the largest market squares in Europe), to its iconic cloth hall and St. Mary’s Basilica. She’ll take a walk over to Wawel Castle (the necropolis of Poland’s Kings) and even stroll over to Kraków’s historic Jewish quarter, Kazimierz, where she will uncover the importance of the local Jewish heritage and how it has been preserved in the city’s landscape today.
Along the way Aleksandra will meet with local culinary experts, restaurant and shop owners to discover both the historic and modern tastes of Kraków, said to be one of the culinary capitals of Europe, today. The unique blend of flavors and traditions that make up the local menu are known as the Galician cuisine. Visting the city, Aleksandra will explore these various tastes and uncover how they are preserved in the local cuisine, from a visit to one of the city’s finest restaurants to a history lesson on the iconic Kraków bread, obwarzanek, and a discovery of the origins of the bagel in Kraków s Jewish quarter!
The journey will finish with culinary lesson in Aleksandra’s kitchen, where she’ll show viewers how to recreate two of Kraków’s historic recipes – a Kraków -style roasted duck, a favorite of Poland’s royals and a gourmet dish on the menu of many Kraków restaurants today, as well as a Galician cream-of-wheat Bundt cake, a treat said to be especially enjoyed by one of Poland’s greatest royals, Queen Anna Jagiellonka.
You can follow Aleksandra to the great city of Kraków and the Lesser Poland region in this first episode of the Flavor of Poland series.
Along Poland’s southern border lies a region that is home to one of the country’s most stunning landscapes as well as one of its most spirited and vibrant cultures. This is Podhale – home to the stunning Polish Tatra Mountain range and a place where food, history, song, dance and old customs are defined by a unique character that lives deep in the heart of its locals, the Polish Highlanders.
In this episode viewers will be taken along for on breathtaking hike through this colorful part of southern Poland. The region’s character, history and cuisine will be explored from its famous mountain town, Zakopane. From the peaks of the beautiful Polish mountains to the city center, viewers will learn about the region’s folk art and history, experience its traditional song and dance and learn about a wide range of its traditional foods. They’ll be taken to one of the area’s iconic shepherd huts called a “Bacówka,” where they will witness the process of making the region’s most iconic traditional food product, the smoked sheep’s milk cheese called, oscypek. They’ll take a ride up to the top of one of Poland’s most famous peaks, Kasprowy Wierch, to learn more about the Tatra National Park, an UNESCO biosphere reserve, and stroll down Zakopane’s famous boardwalk, Krupówki, experiencing its local foods and artisan crafts.
As host, Aleksandra August, meets with local guide, Maciej Krupa, viewers will get a detailed culture and history lesson on the Podhale region and the city of Zakopane, and learn more about the character of the local cuisine as they sit down to enjoy a hearty sampling of the region’s specialties – smoked sheep’s milk cheeses, bacon, sausages, lamb shank, potato pancakes, sauerkraut soup (kwaśnica), local spirits and more!
Following her return home, Aleksandra will prepare one of the favorite dishes of every tourist who comes to Zakopane, Placki po Zbójnicku, or, Rebels’ Pancakes – crisp potato pancakes topped with a savory beef goulash.
This visit to Poland’s Podhale region will be a truly heartfelt and unforgettable experience and we invite you to come along for the journey in the final episode of the Flavor of Poland series.