Thursday, October 04, 2007

Czech Republic

In August, I went to the Czech Republic, for a friend's wedding. I was expecting cheap beer and - from what people had told me - pretty poor, stodgy, greasy food. Well, the cheap beer is there, but you have to search out the properly cheap stuff. For cheap beer, stay away from Prague town centre, basically.

The food was great, though! Prague had loads of choice, everything seemed lush and fresh, there's a great food market, and the traditional dishes were completely delish. I really don't get why people are so down on the cuisine. The prejudice must be based on a) way back in the past, in the countryside, with paupers, in winter with no veg, or b) peep's own bad choices of restaurants. Probably that, eh?

The best dish was a slow-roasted pig's knee. They are surprisingly enormous, by the way. Mine came on a big oval platter, with horseradish, mustard, pickles, salad, pickled chillies and roast potatoes. But the meat itself... woah... the skin was gooey in places, crackling in others, salty and just so damn tasty. I ate all the skin. I also managed some of the sticky, unctuous, moist, flavoursome, falling-apart meat.

I was quite distraught at not being able to finish the dish, but the waiter assured me that no-one ever does, even on feast days, even he who was "quite fatty" could never manage a whole one. What a waste! I should've got a doggy bag, but was going out on the town, and sack of pig wasn't a good look, really.

If you go to the Czech Rep., look out for stuffed duck breast, delightful bread with aniseed, pastries, local waxy cheeses, smoked meats, charcuterie and paprika peppers. The dumplings were a disappointment, though; more like white sliced than actual suet dumplings that Brits might expect.

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