The regional cuisine incorporates not only flavours of local dishes, but also a note of history and mix of customs and cultures. Let us embark on a culinary journey along the Małopolska trail.
For many centuries, the southern region of Poland was a place where the influences of many cultures, such as Polish, German, Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Galician and Slovak, mingled. This can be seen not only in architecture, language and customs, but also in cuisine. The Lendians, Pogórzans and Lemkos are the few ethnographic groups inhabiting the areas of the Nowy Sącz region, among which the culinary traditions and dishes known not only in Małopolska have survived. The cuisine of the Lendians, Lemkos and Pogórzans are based primarily on the yield of land. The agricultural and peasant origin of regional dishes comes down to using vegetables and fruit, in particular cereals, potatoes and legumes. Meat, less popular in the past, used to appear on tables mainly during the holiday season.
Lach equals Pole
Many nationalities were mixed up among the peoples of the south and southeast of Poland. Hence the need to distinguish the Polish origin of Lendians (other name: Lachy Sądeckie), as Lach is just a Pole. The simplicity of meals, which could be taken to the filed, played a significant role for the Lendians. The farmers’ daily lunch often consisted of potatoes boiled whole and served with bacon or butter with onions. Flour dishes, including thicker noodles, lazanki or pierogi, were treated as Sunday and holiday meals.
The dishes of Lemkos, an ethnic group with Ruthenian origin today occupying Beskid Niski and Sądecki, is dominated by east-Slavic influences. Peasant traditions of Ruthenians, Poles, Hungarians and Slovaks have overlapped here. As it was the case with the Lendians, the Lemkos usually cooked simple and vegetarian dishes, whereas meat was served during holidays. It is here that zalewajka, sauerkraut soup (kwaśnica) and dippy dip (maczanka) come from. Other dishes that are worth mentioning include proziaki and adzymki – rolls usually served with butter. On the other hand, fuczki are pancakes eaten with sauerkraut. The festive dishes included pierogi stuffed with curd and potatoes or cabbage.
Pogórzans bordy and prołzioki
Bordering the Lendians on the east, the Pogórzans, also called the Walddeutsche (Deaf Germans), are another ethnographic group whose cuisine is based particularly on agriculture. The delicacies of the Pogórzans include mainly pierogi with cabbage and black pudding, or prołzioki – wheat flour pancakes similar to the Lemkos proziaki. Other dishes were bordy, i.e. dumplings made of raw potatoes, and soup with fried pork fat and sausage called ”ukropek”.
On the culinary trail
The flavours of regional dishes are experiencing a renaissance. When visiting the areas of the Nowy Sącz region, Pogórze or Beskid, more and more often you can easily find restaurants specializing in regional cuisine. These include Karczma Łemkowska “Kłynec” in Krynica-Zdrój or the “Gościnna Chata” restaurant located in Wysowa Zdrój, also serving Lemkos cuisine. The Lendians cuisine can be tried, among others, in the vicinity of Nowy Sącz and in Podegrodzie, where it is also worth visiting the Museum of Lendians. There, you will get to know the history of the region and see colourful folk costumes. The history and cuisine of Małpolska Pogórzans can be also discovered near Jastrzębie and Gorlice. Despite different origins, the peoples inhabiting the areas of southern and south-eastern Poland used harvested crops in a similar way. Potato, flour and groats – although simple – formed the basis of tasty dishes, appreciated even today by tourists visiting regional restaurants.