We headed to Prague on a whim. The weather in Munich was crap so we checked the weather channel, and the train schedules, and decided that Prague was perfect for a last minute weekend getaway. I love that about Europe!
Knowing absolutely nothing about Prague, I decided that the best way to get in on the secrets was to connect up with the EatingPrague gang and see the city through our stomachs. Best. Decision. Ever.
We met Mirka, Jan, and the other foodie tourists in Gallery Le Court; a beautiful, shady, hide-away in the middle of the city. That’s the thing about Prague – there are so many little hideaways to discover. Tiny streets curving in and amongst each other, secret courtyards, and veiled sanctums. The city may be humming but these quiet corners offer peaceful respite.
Here, just like you wanted to as a kid, we indulged in dessert first. When I think of apple strudel I tend to think of Germany and Austria so I was surprised to learn that this apple layered pastry is traditional here in the Czech Republic and is, in fact, the most popular dessert. This one gets top marks; sweet and spicy, with soft apples and a pastry that holds together without being tough. A great start to the day!
There is no denying that this part of Europe has a heavy love affair with meat. I know people travel this region as vegetarians, but I have no idea how they do it! Naše Maso (Our Meat) is the newest butcher on the block. Modern and compact, with glass walls all along one side so you can have a peek at the skillful preparation of all things meat. The beef, ham, sausage, and meatloaf we tried here were excellent. We watched the butchers’ eyes light up every time a customer had a question; obviously a man taking pride in his work.
And then it was time for dessert…again. You know when you’re heading to a place called the Choco Cafe that things are going to be good. Believe me, there was no disappointment! Crispy wafer tubes filled with the freshest whipped cream dipped in a pot of warm, melted chocolate. Need I say more?
Did you know that beer prices in the Czech Republic are regulated? Regulated in so far as beer is not allowed to be the cheapest item on the menu!! Beer drinking is taken seriously here whether it’s mass produced or hand created in small batches as it is at Novomestský pivovar (New Town brewery). Cheers!
Our next stop was the biggest surprise of the tour. Mirka had told us we would be trying Staro?eská kysela?ka (Sauerkraut Soup) and, quite frankly, I was not looking forward to it. I mean, how could it possibly be good? I imagined fermented and pickled cabbage in an insipid broth and was already practicing my ‘ooh, it’s good’ smile as we entered the secret location (which I won’t reveal because it’s such a cool space!).
The soup was amazing. Of course it had the slightly sour under-note of the sauerkraut but was rounded out with pureed veggies and potatoes, cream, and basil oil. It turned out to be my favourite dish of the whole tour. I know, colour me surprised!
Our last stop was in the opulent Cafe Imperial. This historic Prague institution is absolutely magnificent inside. Hailing from the Art Deco era it stays true to its roots with stunning tile work, impressive furniture, and well dressed servers. Here we sampled the sví?ková na smetan? s brusinkovým džemem a houskovým knedlíkem – I know, a mouthful, right? It’s braised beef in a cream sauce with cranberry compote and bread dumplings. This is a very traditional Czech meal; we had tried a few versions during our time in Prague and this one was the absolutely best that we had.
As always, it is the guide that makes or breaks a tour. Tasting the worlds best foods, or taking in the sights, with an insipid guide is no better than walking around blindly. Luckily for us Mirka and Jan were absolute gems. They each have an unbridled love for Czech food; they are foodies first and guides second – it shows in their enthusiasm not only for every dish but also for the history of each. Their knowledge of Prague, and its food, was extraordinary. Thanks to them we sampled the best that Prague had to offer in our very short time there.