Are you looking for an enchanting winter holiday? Would the smell of freshly-baked gingerbread, a blanket of snow, and an array of Christmas Markets with wooden boxes of ripe oranges, handmade gifts and decorations, and mulled wine all sound appealing? If so, a trip to Poland in December is the perfect choice! Christmas is a widely celebrated holiday here and cities come alive with the sights and sounds of the festive season!
The holiday season wouldn't be complete without a trip to a Christmas market or fair. It's become increasingly popular to find new and exciting culinary experiences at these events, or even to venture to other cities to discover their unique culinary delights. If you find yourself at one of these fairs, or even invited to a Polish Wigilia, it's important to be aware of certain traditions that will enhance your experience of food and atmosphere. This can make your experience more enjoyable and memorable. For example, at a Polish Wigilia, it's customary to share a plate of food with one another. It's a tradition that helps to bring people together, and to appreciate the food that is being shared. You can also expect to see the traditional Christmas dishes, such as borscht, pierogi, and kutia. Desserts such as makowiec, a poppyseed cake, are also expected. Finally, it's important to remember to take a moment to be thankful for all the food that is being shared. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the season and to be grateful for the time spent with family and friends.
Colorful glass ornaments at Christmas Market in Krakow, Poland
Wigilia is the most important celebration of the year in Poland and the preparations for it are a huge deal. On this special night, numerous unique dishes are made, such as carp in savory jelly, borscht, kutia, and bigos. Carp in savory jelly is a type of fish, borscht is a sour beetroot soup with small cabbage and mushroom dumplings, kutia is a sweet meal made of wheat groats, poppy seed, honey, and nuts, and bigos is a stewed cabbage mixed with sauerkraut and wild mushrooms. These dishes are only made once a year, so if you're visiting Christmas markets, don't miss out on them!
When in Poland, Christmas cuisine can differ slightly depending on the region. However, all meals are always meatless and usually consist of cabbage, mushrooms, root vegetables, dried fruit, and fish as the main ingredients. Sweet treats often involve poppy seeds, nuts, and a sprinkling of ground spices. So, it is safe to say that no matter where you are in Poland, you will be able to savour the festive flavours of this part of the world!
The Wigilia dinner is typically a close-knit affair, but it's also traditional to set an extra place just in case an unexpected guest drops in, who might otherwise be alone during the holiday season. It's also worth noting that folks in Poland wait for the first star of the night to appear before sitting down to eat, and gifts are opened only after the first course. One of the most beautiful customs of Christmas in Poland is breaking Oplatek bread with everyone around the dinner table and exchanging wishes of health, joy, and peace.
Home baked bread
Ready to take a break from your delicious feast of dumplings, herring, hand-made noodles with poppy seed, and ginger-breads? Wintertime is a great opportunity to get up and go! Visit the north of Poland and walk along the beautiful Baltic Sea shore, partially covered in ice and filled with swans. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, head to Bia?owie?a and join a local nature-lovers group to search for wild bison. Each major city will have their own ice skating ring and seasonal amusement park, but if you really want an adventure, go south! Zakopane and Wis?a offer both regional cuisine like smoked sheep cheese and Panczkraut, as well as ski runs for downhill and cross-country skiing. And don't forget about the hiking and sleigh riding trails in the gorgeous southern mountainous region of Poland. So, no matter where you go, you're sure to have an amazing winter experience!
It's the perfect time for you to pick up some new cooking skills this Christmas! Why not learn how to make pierogi, the delicious Polish dumpling dish, or bake traditional Christmas cookies?
We can help! We can recommend some excellent places to learn the traditional Polish cooking and baking methods. Or, why not take a tour of the Christmas markets in Poland with us?
Either way, you'll be sure to have a fun and rewarding learning experience that you'll never forget. So, what are you waiting for? Let's get cooking!