The European Gastronomic Academy awarded Kraków the title of the European Capital of Gastronomy Culture for the first time in history. This distinction is a great recognition of the city of Krak which highlights its cultural role – this time in the culinary field.
This title was certainly not a coincidence, as Kraków can brag about numerous culinary distinctions that are signifcant in the world. The famous French Michelin guide recommends as many as 26 local restaurants, whereas twice as many local eateries were distinguished by Gaullt et Millau, and 8 by Slow Food Polska.
In the city itself and in its immediate vicinity, many historic culinary traditions have been preserved until today, such as sippet, very popular among inhabitants, Kraków sausage or sweet fruitcake (cwibak) and piszinger. One of the specialties, and at the same time the symbol of Kraków, is an Obwarzanek krakowski, a product with protected geographical indication in the European Union.
THERE ARE PLACES TO EAT
Kraków is called the city of cafés and pastry shops, which began to spring up there in the 18th century. The city has things to boast about when it comes to restaurants – almost everyone in Poland knows Wierzynek’s history and his restaurant, which operates until today. This is where the well-known media personas like Robert Makłowicz, Anna Starmach and Ewa Wachowicz, as well as chefs such as Adam Chrząstowski, Rafał Targosz and Marcin Filipkiewicz come from. There constantly appear new restaurants, to which tourists and residents are attracted not only by the dishes, but also the irresistible charm of the Old Town and Kazimierz. The city serves even the socalled ‘fast food’ in a homely way, and transforms “quick dishes” into local specialties – this applies to the famous sausages from Hala Targowa or zapiekanka from Plac Nowy. It is impossible not to mention Kraków’s market squares – not only those in close vicinity of the centre, such as Stary and Nowy Kleparz or Na Stawach Square, but also Kazimierz New Square, Nowa Huta Bieńczycki Square or Imbramowski Square in Prądnik. There you can buy traditional pastries and hams as well as fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and eggs from the nearby villages.
Being granted the title of the European Capital of Gastronomy Culture is not only an opportunity to expand Kraków’s culinary oﬀer, but also to continue work on building a positive image of Polish gastronomy around the world. As part of the “European Capital of Gastronomy Culture Kraków 2019” project, a lot of events will be organized. The most important of them will be a Gastronomy Congress for specialists and enthusiasts of good cuisine from around the world. Equally important will be the meetings of Kraków’s chefs and celebrities of culinary world, who run the best European restaurants, organized in a “pop-up” format (unusual and surprising places).
OBWARZANEKS OR PIEROGIS?
The year 2019 is also the time when there will take place a series of festivals dedicated to the culinary heritage of Kraków, among others, “Krakowskie Zapusty” (in 2018 the event was organized in the Old Tram Depot, with one of the attractions being joint preparation of angel wings (chrusty)). Meanwhile, on May 26, the citizens of Kraków and tourists will enjoy the two-day Festival of Obwarzanek – the most famous Kraków regional product. The festival had its premiere last year at Szczepański Square, where participants could prepare their own obwarzanek under the supervision of specialists. The date is not accidental, as it refers to the privileges granted by Jan Olbracht on May 26, 1496, under which the obwarzanek could be baked and sold only by Kraków’s bakers. The partner of the event will probably be Żywe Muzeum Obwarzanka (Obwarzanek Living Museum) located at Kleparski Square. In August, citizens and tourists will be able to participate in the Festival of Pierogi. The innovative format of the culinary event will be “virtual cooking”, during which celebrities and renowned chefs will prepare dishes in various restaurants in Europe. Thanks to the live video transmission, the culinary show will be possible to watch online – and probably these are not all of the attractions!