Eating My Way Through Czech Culture

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Dobry den!

The food tour with Taste of Prague was an absolute blast. The mix of food, drinks, and our incredible guide made for a rich experience. We split into two groups and greeted our food tour guides for the day. Our guide Marketa was an absolute delight, she entertained us with great conversation as we visited four different restaurants with selected food and beverages awaiting our arrival. Three dishes that especially stood out to me were the steak tartare, Cetr beef neck with root veggie sauce, and the choux pastry with vanilla buttercream and apricot coulis. All three of these dishes lean towards the modern side with traditional Czech roots.

The steak tartare had a unique flavor profile, it was served with crispy sliced bread and raw garlic cloves. I rubbed the bread with garlic and then topped it with the steak tartare, it was unlike anything I have ever tried before. Given the nice presentation of the dish and the high quality, fresh, ingredients I consider this dish to be haute cuisine, and possibly a dish more common in Czechia because I had never heard of tartare before. From my outsider’s perspective, it seemed like a fancy dish, though local Czechs may feel differently. The ingredients, seasoning, and techniques involved in making steak tartare were exquisite. I never would have tried to eat a dish made with raw beef, but this dish was definitely worth trying.

The best thing I tried that day was easily the Cetr beef neck. It was served in a sauce made with root veggies and wine with pureed potatoes on the side. It was clear that this dish was made with high-quality ingredients, expert techniques, and the perfect array of seasonings. The beef was so tender, combined with the sauce and pureed potatoes, the flavor was remarkable. The restaurant, Cetr, looked like an upscale restaurant and the food certainly matched. I considered this to lean towards haute cuisine as well. I will be back for more before I leave!

We ended our tour at Eska where we ate a dessert made with a choux pastry, vanilla buttercream, apricot coulis, and white chocolate-infused whipped cream. This dessert was unlike anything I have ever tried before, it was sweet, creamy, fruity, and absolutely delicious! This was another dish made with fresh, high-quality, ingredients and unique techniques. I have seen a few other similar-looking pastries around Prague, so this seems to be a common local dessert. It was certainly my kind of dessert!

Czechia’s history with food has not always been tied to creativity and pleasure, during soviet rule they were restricted in what they could eat for decades. Given this recent history, it seems obvious that they have stepped into their independence and creativity with their food offerings. The restaurants we went to during the food tour were all amazing, the drinks and the food were absolutely delicious. This experience added another reason to come back, if not for anything else, it is worth it for the food! Next week we will be headed to Brno for a tour and tasting at three different wineries. I love wine so I am excited to learn more about it and the cultural roots the vineyards have in the Czech Republic!