For centuries the Polish kitchen has been the stage for competing influences from France and Italy, while it also borrowed extensively from more exotic tables: Tartar, Armenian, Scandinavian, Lithuanian, Cossack, Hungarian and Jewish.
The traditional Polish cuisine combines the refined and elegant tastes introduced to Poland centuries ago by the French court of Henri de Valois - the first elected Polish king, with the wild, mysterious flavours of the Lithuanian forests, the sweet aroma of the dishes served for the Jewish Sabbath supper, and the fierce, rare taste of the sanguineous steak Tartare - originally made by the horse riders of Genghis Khan who used to place a slice of raw beef under the saddle for extra tenderness.
Locally made dishes specific to different parts of Poland also offer a veriety of choices. Fresh water fish, a sour rye soup, aromatic duck dishes, potato dishes, and a sheep's milk smoked cheese. Wherever you go, you can enjoy delicacies that for centuries have been made of produce harvested in the forests, fields, meadows, lakes and rivers of Poland.
Any experienced Polish chef will tell you the real Polish cuisine is incomplete without cereals, fish, crayfish, venison and fruits of the forest. To better understand why Polish delicacies taste so good you should also know that they are typically made of organic produce prepared by natural methods, cooked in the traditional home-style setting without artificial ingredients. The best chefs pass the ancient recipes for pancakes made of turnip cabbage, lobster butter, or pickled wild hawthorn fruit for decorating venison from generation to generation ...
The traditional Polish cookery books are full of recipes using ingredients that strangers will find rather exotic. Sour cabbage and cucumber, dried mushroom, curdled milk and sour rye are but a few unusual ingredients to be savoured. But above all, cooking the Polish way also means putting your heart into it.