The rumours were right. Polish food is delicious. Hearty, rustic, home-cooked fare, designed to see you through the winter months, but still deliciously yummy all year round. I could wax lyrical about the dark rye breads, dotted with sunflower seeds and caraway, the bakery goods sold on every corner, strudels, danishes and poppyseed cakes, spinach pancakes, potato cakes…but I will limit myself to the grand dames of pierogi and lody.
Piergoi are described as dumplings but really they are more like fat raviolis. Stuffed with a variety of different fillings from meat, spinach and cheese and mushroom and cabbage (my favourite) and served either boiled or fried, they are hard to resist gobbling down until you yourself feel like a stuffed piergoi.
There are also sweet ones. I am not sure what time of the day you are meant to eat them, but we decided breakfast would be good. Filled with blueberries and covered with a mixture of fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries and a side of whipped cream we both agreed that this was the best breakfast of the trip. Perhaps of our lives! Seriously it was amazing.
Lody is ice cream and eating it seems to be a national pastime. After spending a week in Poland and seeing every second person on the street with a cone in their hand, no matter what time of day, I wanted a piece of the lody action. On a hot afternoon in Krakow my moment came. I walked past a tiny hole in the wall type of place, crowded with people inside, spilling out onto the street.
The set up was simple. Two women – one taking the money, one serving the scoops, seven flavours – vanilla, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, cocoa, coffee and something called delicacies. After an agonising deliberation I settled on cocoa and raspberry. After the first taste, I was elated, euphoric. I had found the holy grail of ice cream. Surely this was the best ice cream in Krakow, Poland, Europe, perhaps the world?
(The queue on Sunday afternoon)
It was so good I was sure it must be very, very good for me. I went back the next day for coffee and delicacies (vanilla with chunks of caramel, nuts and chocolate). Then a third day, this time with Roberto in tow. It was Sunday and the line was at least 80 people deep, winding down the street. We waited half an hour for our cones by which stage my excitement was fever pitch and Roberto’s expectations were high. He liked it, but after my build up and the long wait, wasn’t quite as taken with it as me. Luckily we left Krakow the next day, before my lody habit intensified. I’ve gone cold turkey on the lody now – it’s been three days so far.