Culinary Anthropologist

Beyond the valley of the dumplings


Well since leaving France we’ve come quite a long way (now about 3,500km on the clock in fact).  We shifted across Germany pretty fast, eating nice fresh apples and sticky spätzle by the Bodensee and then great griesenschmalz in the Bayrisches Wald.  But we wanted more – spätzle only get you so far – so we crossed over the mountains into the snowy Böhmerwald and the Czech Republic, immediately being rewarded with the first dumpling sightings of the journey.

This was only the beginning – we soon made our way to Bohemia and Český Krumlov, where we learnt all about why Czech beer tastes so good, and about its ideal accompaniment in the form of (imagine the excitement) the stuffed dumpling.  Next to Moravia …

Here we found out they make extremely good wine, which they mainly keep to themselves – perhaps because they don’t yet seem to have worked out the ideal dumpling accompaniment.  I’m sure it won’t take them long.

Smannacoldmountain0001.jpgSlovakia looked beautiful but we sped through, knowing that we had an appointment to keep in Poland – the land of the legendary kings of dumplings, the pierogi, which we have been dutifully sampling ever since.  But that’s not all – in our quest to bring you details of all the best that Polish cuisine can bring (and it’s a lot), we’ve been tucking into soups like barszcz (with stuffed mini-dumplings! yay!) and (the winner so far) żurek; the smoked mountain sheep’s cheese oscypek; and some great big hunks of pork like golonka.  Plus delicious freshly pickled cucumbers, and cabbage in more forms than I have room for here – including the stuffed cabbage roll which I suspect will be featuring again as we move south (but that’s another story …).  And that’s not to mention the cakes.  Ah, the cakes.

In the mean time we’ve been keeping ourselves hydrated with hot beer, hot wine, hot mead, er, cold mead, honey vodka and of course apple pies.

And Anna has dedicated herself to learning the perfect bigos recipe with lots of help from Marzena.  Details of that (and the rest if time permits) to follow …

You can see some of our photos from Germany and the Czech Republic here.

You can see some of our photos from Poland here.


  1. dan and emma

    It’s been nearly ten days since your last diary entry. You’re obviously having far too much food. I mean fun.
    We’re off to Australia tomorrow, and then to Hong Kong. Clearly it’s not part of your Europe/Africa bag, but any recommendations on what/where we should eat?

  2. Matt

    bit late to be useful now but… everything we ate there was great, especially the seafood and the lamb. It’s so long ago we can’t remember which restaurants we went to. Bills is supposed to be good. And we had a lovely time in the Hunter Valley, mainly drinking oaky chardonnay from Scarborough, which was actually fantastic. Hope you all have (had?) fun at the wedding and that Jasmine carried her flowers well. A & M x