Polish tastes – why are they being sought abroad?

Friday, 06 October, 2017 Food From Poland 29/2017
Boundaries between countries are open now like never before, travelling is becoming increasingly simple and popular. We discover different cultures and tastes easily, not just from culinary books but trying them with our own palate. Restaurants from different parts of the world are mushrooming in Poland, attracting many curious customers. But what about Polish food abroad?
Polish dishes are quite fatty, so they may not always be suitable for people from hot-climate countries – it is better to have lighter meals there. Our beloved heavy pork chop is not a dish the Greek would often reach for on a hot day. And yet, Polish cuisine finds many enthusiasts abroad.

Pierogies come first among dishes requested by customers as soon as they cross the thresholds of Polish restaurants abroad. Other favourites are our cabbage dishes; for instance, bigos often lands on German and British plates. The Polish manner of cucumber pickling – after all, we have both ordinary pickled cucumbers and gherkins – are another tasty curiosity for the world. We often sprinkle marjoram and dill on our dishes  – these spices are not as popular anywhere else, but after closer examination, they are becoming desired in foreign kitchens. On the other hand, our penchant for deep frying does not always arouse enthusiasm, as is the case with lard and greaves sandwiches. Maybe, therefore, we should take a look into foreign cuisines to see how lighter dishes are made.

Potatoes in many ways – this is a hallmark of Polish cuisine, especially in the north-east. Long ago, meat used to be unusual on peasant tables – food was supposed to be cheap, and potatoes ticked that box. Thus we have learned how to make delicious potato wonders. Foreigners are amazed that such tasty dishes can be made out of an ordinary spud, and they are keen to try our potato cakes, sausages, pancakes or kartacze dumplings.

Prepared meals served in Polish restaurants are not all. What do foreigners usually reach for in stores? Fragrant bread from Polish bakeries is a product that substantially outclasses American toast bread. Of course, the best thing to go with Polish bread is Polish cold cuts.  We know how to process meat well – our dry sausages are a product that ends up very often in European shopping baskets. Of course, we do not speak of cheap imitations here, but of high-quality hams and sausages. Our companies also manufacture perfect sweets, exports of which always reach impressive levels.

What would a foreigner associate Poland with? Pope John Paul II, Lech Wałęsa, Frederic Chopin, and… Polish vodka. This liquor quickly disappears from store shelves in Europe and the USA. Each year, exports of spirits bring good results. Our pure vodka is of high quality, satisfies the taste of even the most demanding consumers, and is the liquor trademark of Poland, just like wine in France or whisky in Scotland. 

Polish cuisine is not just Polish – we have drawn a lot from our neighbours; on our plates, one can find Jewish, German, French, Italian, and, of course, Eastern Slavonic influences. Now, when the boarders are open, we can exchange more – we can give much to other nations but also take from them, to keep our food even more tasty and…. healthy.

Joanna Chilicka,
Polish Chamber of Commerce

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