Małopolska is a region where history, together with political and administrative turmoil, played an exceptional role. The traces of the past are embedded in the Małopolska cuisine that is rich in many different flavours.
At the end of the 15th century, the historic region of Małopolska was divided into the three voivodships – Kraków, Sandomierz and Lublin, as well as Duchies – Oświęcim, Zator and, from the 18th century, Siewierz. During the Partitions, the southern regions of Małopolska, including Kraków, were incorporated into the Austrian partition, becoming a part of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, commonly known as Galicia. This area constituted a cultural-national mosaic. It was home for Polish, Ukrainian and Jewish people, whose culture was additionally strongly influenced by Austria-Hungary – a fact that gave rise to an extraordinary culinary heritage which is known today as Galician cuisine.
Under the eye of Vienna
The culinary art of Galicia was very diversified and heterogeneous. It was often divided into Podhale, Huculszczyzna, Kraków (West Galicia) and Lviv (East Galicia) cuisine, and described as remarkably exquisite,
aromatic and varied. Moreover, it was strongly influenced by rich Vienna, whose name is even included in the names of dishes – the Galician menu includes Viennese, Wiener Schnitzel, or traditional Viennese cheesecake.
Meat dishes enveloped in the fragrance of cumin
A typical appetizer in Galician cuisine was pork head cheese served with cold mustard sauce. Apart from that, on the Galician table you could find the Zator carp filled with cheese, eggs, and champignons, as well as a traditional pork sausage made only in Liszki and Czernichów municipalities. The most famous Galician soups are neat’s tongue soup with potatoes (zalewajka) and white borscht with steamed sausage, usually served on Easter.
Among the main dishes, the most popular is Cracovian duck roasted with groats and forest mushrooms, as well as traditional Cracovian maczanka (sippet soup), i.e. chuck steak or pork loin roasted in a baking pan served with bread and cumin sauce. Galician cuisine is dominated by aromatic cumin that can be found in many dishes.
Of great popularity, even today, is Bagel, i.e. Jewish bread pastry with poppy seeds, sesame or salt. Another very common Galician dessert is a pound cake made from semolina and sweetmeats as well as cakes whose names come from Austrian confectioners – Pischinger,
that is, a wafer filled with dark chocolate, or Sachertorte with apricot jam and dark chocolate icing.
You can taste traditional Galician cuisine at Cesarsko-Królewska Gospoda Galicyjska located in the Galician Town in Nowy Sącz at ul. Lwowska 226 or in Restauracja Galicyjska in the very centre of Kraków at ul. Pijarska 9.