If you don’t mind taking a little gamble with the weather (it can go anywhere from 12 to 35 even degrees) Poland is the place to visit now. We are giving you 5 reasons why.
1. Mushrooms – the season for the best forest mushroom starts just now! In England they cost like gold and are available in maybe 5 little delis in London. In Poland mushrooms are sold literally everywhere so don’t be surprised seeing people along every single road offering the best Porcini or Chanterelles you have ever seen. Be careful though and don’t buy them just from anyone! Health and safety first!
Check Alma Delicatessen or Krakowski Kredens for the dried mushroom you can then add to your sauces or stews.
Chanterelles are available also marinated in vinegar – perfect as a little snack with your vodka shots. If you are in Warsaw this autumn try them served in cream sauce at U Kucharzy (Ossolińskich 7)
Mushrooms from the photo above were picked by me, my mum and Ma during our afternoon stroll in the forest close to my parents’ house.
2. Ogórki kiszone known as Polish style pickled cucumbers (the best translation I could find). In Poland we traditionally pickle cucumbers and cabbage and they both become the bases for many dishes during the cold winter months. Ogórki kiszone make a perfect accompaniment to Polish vodka obviously.
Don’t mistake them with gherkins or cornichons (ogórki konserowe in Polish) though– these would be marinated in vinegar. My mother has already made few jars for us:
3. Kraków cafés – there is no better place to spend early autumn days. Perfect for any time of the day and any weather. The only problem is the smoke as we still don’t have a cigarette ban in Poland. But few places, like i.e. Dynia (ul. Krupnicza 20) have gone smoke free already.
For the best places go to Kazimierz (old Jewish quarter) – this is where the coolest people go to spend their days over an espresso in the mist of smoke and intellectual discussions.
– Kolory (Estery 10) – for the best espresso in this part of Europe
– Alchemia (Estery 5) – among many things for Cracow Jazz Autumn Festival!
– Or Singer (Estery 20) where old fashion Singer sewing machines replaced the tables.
4. Plums – the best autumn fruits and they taste even better in Poland! We usually eat the variety called hungarian plum (śliwka węgierka – the name suggests it might have came to Poland from Hungary) and add it to anything you can imagine – sauces, cakes, casseroles, juices, vodkas (famous śliwowica łącka can contain even 80% alcohol – try it if you dare!). Smoked plums are another Polish delicacy and are served in a special soup during Christmas time.
This is our favourite form of eating plums (but we don’t mind a little shot of śliwowica either):
5. Chopin year – it is the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth and Poland decided to celebrate this event by proclaiming 2010 as the year of this greatest Polish composer.
For those who want even more there is a bus trip to Żelazowa Wola where Fryderyk Chopin was born.
Come and check yourself how cool and modern Chopin can be!
Poster by Piotr Micharewicz.
Let us know if you know even better reasons!