Cracow, pronounced "Krakow" in Polish, was the capital of Poland prior to Warsaw. In fact, it served as the nation's capital 3 times throughout history, most recently for an unbroken period of 499 years and altogether for a total of 700 years! Krakow has been, still is today, and most likely will remain for a long time the spiritual and cultural heart of Poland. The region's cuisine is also a product of its long and rich history. Here, the medieval, courtly tastes of Poland's old ruling class intermix with everyday dishes developed through the city's international character. Krakow was once a city that bustled with trade. Routes from the far north, east, west and south crossed through its center influencing the culinary landscape of the region. Large Ukrainian, Jewish, Austrian, and Hungarian communities blended with Polish traditions to create a very characteristic mixture of flavors, which are referred to as the Galician cuisine. As we uncover the history of Poland's old capital with Aleksandra, we'll have the chance to taste the flavors of the various aspects of its past and present.
RZESZOW is the capital of the Subcarpathian region of Poland, an area of the country that abounds in forests and majestic nature. The city of Rzeszow is a city with a long history and a rich tradition that reaches back to as far as the year, 1354. That's exactly why it prides itself with countless, impressive monuments, a diverse and unique cuisine. The sub-Carpathian region of Poland is a true blend of various traditions, cultures and flavors that rose out of the natural landscape. Various ethnic groups and national traditions, formed here over many centuries. Most commonly embraced were the courtly tastes and customs of the Polish eastern borderlands, but also influential were peasant and folk traditions as well as Armenian, Jewish, German, Hungarian and Austrian tastes. For centuries, these cuisines existed here in parallel, blending and borrowing from one another distinguishing the sub-Carpathian menu from the other regions of Poland. While in the region, we'll have a chance to try the everyday, staple dishes of the region as Aleksandra tours the city center. We'll have a chance to experience its finer tastes with a visit to the region's historic, Dubiecko Castle - the old home of one of Poland's most esteemed poets (Ignacy Krasicki) and today a holding place of the region's noble traditions.
The Podlaskie region (also called "Podlasie" in Poland) is the most diversified province in Poland in terms of ethnicity and culture. Over the centuries, different ethnic groups and religions created a melting pot of cultures and traditions. This was an area historically co-inhabited by Belarusians, Tatars, Lithuanians, Russians, Ukrainians, Macedonians, Germans and Jews and, of course, the Poles. Out of the rich and diverse history of this region grew a perfect cuisine that combines simplicity, diversity and rich flavor. As the cuisines of many ethnicities of the area intermixed over time, they left Podlasie with a unique menu that differs from most others in Poland. We'll explore the unique elements and tastes of Podlasie with Aleksandra as she tours the city center of Bialystok, venture beyond the city with a visit to Łomza, a city over 1000 years old, and finishes her tour with a trip into the region's countryside to learn about the traditions that stem out of the region's folk culture. There, she'll visit an agritourism farm in Hamulka where, together with local experts, she'll bake one of the region's traditional cakes - S
The land of a Thousand Lakes, "The Green Lungs of Poland," "one of nature's wonders..." That's just a few of the titles Poland's majestic Warmian-Masurian region has earned. It enchants with its breathtaking landscape, filled with age-old forests, thousands of lakes and rivers, and numerous horse stables. It invites us in for reflection, rest and relaxation! Home to over 3,000 lakes, from high above, the region looks like a blue bird spreading its wings against a span of forests. It provides plenty of attractions for visiting tourists at every time of the year, not to mention a mouthwatering spread of local dishes. It is here in the Warmian-Masurian region that we can ask a fisherman to serve up the region's iconic fish broth called, "Ucha," or enjoy a steaming plate of a wide variety of the region's freshwater fish. If you're curious you can even come here to sample the Polish snail! In the episode Aleksandra will take viewers on a tour of all these aspects of this stunning region of Poland, visiting its capital city of Olsztyn, crossing its lakes to enjoy regional dishes at lakeside restaurants and visiting one of the largest snail farms in Poland located in the village of Krasin!
Sea breezes, tall ships, a nautical tradition, a long, rich and fascinating part of Polish history and great Polish seafood - this is what we'll have a chance to experience on our visit to the Pomeranian region of Poland! The capital of the region is the old, legendary city of Gdansk but our journey will extend beyond the capital as well. In the episode Aleksandra will begin her discovery of the region at the foot of its old trading route in Malbork, where she'll pay a visit to the great Teutonic Knight's Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a spectacle of history! From there she'll continue on to Gdansk to uncover the long history Poland's great port city, once a leader of the Hanseatic League. Following Gdansk she'll venture into Gdynia and Sopot (the remaining two cities of the Polish Tricity group) where she'll sample the best of Poland's Baltic tastes - the products of Mother Nature and Father Neptune: grilled, fresh caught fish, Herring tartar, or lobster paired with local craft beers and even an amber soup!
Silesia is historically the center of Poland's hard industry and there are certainly many rich traditions and hearty, homemade meals that were born out of this old way of life. Katowice is the bustling city capital of the region, offering visitors plenty of attractions to explore! The heart of an agglomeration over 2-million people it was once identified as a booming center of heavy industry and it is still recognized for its numerous mines, old ironworks and factories. It's cuisine both present and past, is inseparable from the industrial landscape of the area. The everyday work life of the locals gave birth to a warm and hearty menu, full of filling dishes, rich in flavor. The region, unlike many others in Poland, fiercely defends its local culinary heritage as recipes are passed on from generation to generation carefully preserved in their original form. In this episode, Aleksandra will dive deep into the region's industrial past with a visit to the Guido Mine in Zabrze (an old coal mine located nearly 1,000 feet beneath the surface of the earth!), a tour through the city center of Katowice, a visit to the old workers' neighborhood, Nikiszowiec (the birthplace of the region's cuisine!), and finish off with a meal at a couple of Katowice's modern restaurants which proudly uphold the region's old traditions.
Wroclaw, in a historic nutshell, was from the very beginning of its existence an object of desire. It's not surprising, thus, that throughout its past it was passed from hand to hand - from Czech to Polish to Hungarian, Austrian and German rule. The Walloons of Belgium settled here, alongside Jews, Italians and Ruthenians, their different nationalities, religions and cultures integrating with one another. The area of Wroclaw has always been regarded as the land that "lies in between." Over time, this became one of the city's greatest assets as it became Europe's gate, connecting the West with the East. The beautiful city, commonly regarded as the "Venice of Poland," abounds in monuments that tell the story of the area's long history, while its countless rivers and canals, and beautiful old town area offer a romantic tour. The local cuisine is also one rooted in the landscape and the history. The turbulent past of the Lower Silesian region contributed to the fusion of various cultures and the formation a unique blend of styles and traditions. The culinary landscape is influences by tastes of the Southeastern borderlands, Jewish, German, Czech, Balkan, Ukrainian and pre-war Polish tastes. It's no surprise that you can find some unique dishes on the local menu! The richness of the regions cuisine is also rooted in its local products. Fish from its rivers and lakes, honey, homemade breads, local beers, goat's cheeses, beef dishes and some of the finest wines in Poland are just a few of the products it can boast of! Aleksandra will explore all these aspects of Lower Silesia with a visit to Wroclaw, a river ride to one a charming riverside Tavern in Olawa and a visit to the Adoria Winery - one of Poland's the most up and coming wineries among the 400+ found in Poland today (owned and operated by a fellow American from California!).
This may be one the most sentimental stops along our route! In this episode we visit the very birthplace of Poland - it is in the Greater Poland region and the cities of Poznań and Gniezno that the early events of the Polish State took place. Countless monuments, some reaching as far back as the 10th century, tell the story of the creation of Poland. Its earliest rulers and historical figures lay buried in the crypts of some of the nation's first cathedrals found here in this region. The area's cuisine is also as rich as its history - In the 17th century Greater Poland was described as a "land flowing of milk and honey." Many claim it has remained so to this day and Aleksandra will take viewers on a walk to test the notion! In this episode we'll explore the iconic historical points associated with the region and have a taste of the flavors associated with oldest part of Polish history!
Torun, the capital of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian region of Poland boasts of many original Polish flavors. Its old recipes developed over many centuries are a real culinary treasure and one worth exploring. This capital of the central northern region of Poland is the birthplace of the world famous astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus as well as one of Poland's most iconic sweets - Torunskie Pierniki (the famous Toruń gingerbread)! Toruń is one of Poland's oldest cities. It received city rights in 1233 and in the times of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth it was one of the largest and richest cities in the nation - a royal and Hanseatic city with autonomous political rights. Visiting Toruń we'll begin with a stroll through the Old Market Square, which holds numerous monuments, witnesses of the city's former glory and power. We'll also stop in for a visit to the Toruń gingerbread factory - the Kopernik Confectionary Factory - to discover the secrets of the city's famous sweets, a more than 700-year-old tradition! Our day will also include a tasting at one of the city's modern restaurants where we'll learn about and sample the region's culinary character both past and present.
Kielce is a city in south central Poland surrounded by one of the most beautiful landscapes of Poland - its quaint countryside. In this episode we'll explore the history, culture and tastes of the region through the viewpoint of its old folk life. A visit to the Museum of the Kielce Countryside will allow us a deeper look into the old, daily life of the locals and give us a chance to sample its delicious homemade traditions - Kasiolki, Byki, Pasternocek, Spyrok, Zalewajka, Pokrzywianka... these are all the names of favorite local dishes, the products of the region's home cooks, and recipes developed from the heart. These are dishes made with the products picked from the land - none utilize mass produced products, artificial flavorings or colorants. The Holy Cross region's menu is a true farm to table experience. While in the area, we'll also have a chance to explore the city center of Kielce, local castles and monuments, all elements of a place that traces its history as far back as the 11th century!
Lublin is the capital of the Lubelskie region of Poland. It's a city of many important historical events and great significance. The first settlements formed here in the times of King Boleslaw Chrobry and the city was formed as early as 1198. Lublin was a city that attracted Kings, inventors and some of the greatest Polish minds. Due to its long history, the area abounds in legends and countless old relics and monuments left over from centuries past. Equally fascinating to its historical events is the region's cuisine, in large part shaped by that past. Lublin is a melting pot of all Polish flavor. In almost any area of the region that you visit you can discover the iconic Ukrainian and Jewish tastes that have blended with Polish traditions over time. The people here are proud of their regional specialties and honor both their local tastes as well as national traditions. In the episode Aleksandra will explore the long history of Lublin through a walk through its city center, she'll sit down to sample the region's specialty, the cebularz, with one of the city's locals, and venture beyond the city to the charming village of Kazimierz Dolny (a modern mecca for Poland's artists) for a dinner filled with the region's traditional specialties.
One of the most colorful and breathtaking natural landscapes of Poland is found along its southern border. Nestled there at the foot of the majestic Tatra Mountain range is a region with a bold and vibrant culture, an equal match to its stunning natural surroundings. It's a place where food, history, song, dance and old customs are defined by a unique character that lives deep in the heart of its locals, while the surrounding nature beckons visitors to get lost in its endless expanse. What is this unique place? The region of Podhale - the home of Poland's highlanders and a part of Poland that must be seen on any tour of the country! In the episode we'll explore the vibrant, culture, history and hearty cuisine of the Polish Highlanders through the famous Polish mountain city of Zakopane. Nestled in a valley at the foot of the majestic Polish Tatras, Zakopane proudly preserves the spirit and traditions of this unique part of Poland. In the episode Aleksandra will take us on a hike unlike any other in the world, visiting the peaks of the beautiful Polish mountains, exploring the folk art and history of the region, introducing us to its traditional song and dance and sampling some of its best delicacies - smoked sheep's milk cheeses, spiced, mulled wine, lamb shank, potato pancakes, sauerkraut soup (kwasnica) and so much more! The visit will be sure to leave a mark upon all five senses, leaving us truly touched.