We love to learn about the food and culture of a city through a food tour. A whim and cheap air fares had found us arriving in Prague at very short notice. At least I’d had time to contact the fabulous people at Eating Europe and arrange a food tour of this city we knew very little about. I wasn’t about to starve!
So here we are, joining our guide Eva from Eating Prague Tours at Perničküv Sen, a little gem of a gingerbread house where two sisters-in-law are reviving Prague’s gingerbread tradition. The aroma as we walk in the door transports us back to our childhood days. The original recipes for the gingerbread come from the Armenian immigrants who arrived in Prague in the 19th century.
As well as sampling this wonderful treat we also tasted two other typical pastries, one that was made from walnuts, gingerbread dough and plum jam that can only be bought here! Why I didn’t buy any to take on our travels with us I’ll never know?
Eva had promised us a wide selection of Czech delicacies and our next stop, just around the corner, showcased this. Housed in a recently renovated gallery, along with a number of other food stores is a shop renowned for their gourmet open faced sandwiches or chlebicky. The business was started three years ago by two sisters, one the Czech Nigella Lawson and the other an editor in chief of a food magazine. Originally they helped start Prague’s farmers market and their passion for fresh produce is evident.
We sampled three of their best, beetroot with goat cheese on sourdough, celeriac with mayo, peppers and tarragon and finally their most popular, a Prague ham with home made potato salad and pickled egg. Delicious. An elderflower lemonade was a sweet finish
Directly across the corridor is a butcher shop, Naše Maso, belonging to the Ambient Group who now have a number of outlets around the city. But this is not just any butcher shop. This store stands out from other butcher shops because here you can have your meat, sausages or hot dogs cooked for you. If you can get a seat, great, but otherwise it is standing room only at night. Tap wine and beer completes a cheap but delicious meal. The shop specialises in pork and beef from head to tail, with a variety and quality that is excellent. A nibble on their Kalbassa sausages and pork belly showed us why the store is always busy.
We arrive at a restaurant that I’m sure some of the locals don’t even know about to sample another Czech favourite, a bowl of the best Bohemian soup. The restaurant is situated in an 1870 bell tower. The magnificent beams in the room date back to this time. The stories they could tell!
The delicious Sauerkraut soup, made with the addition of thick smoky venison sausage, potato, sour cream and basil pesto, was an absolute winner, especially on this cold day.
Now that we had warmed up, it was time to head back into the cold and take a little walk to Wenceslaus Square in the New Town. The New Town dates back to 1347. Incentives of being tax free for twelve years were given to anyone who built in the New Town.
Wenceslaus Square is the main square of the New Town. A statue of the Duke of Wenceslaus stands in the square but it is David Cerny’s statue of him that was commissioned by the Post Office in the 90s that has caused a fuss! This upside down statue has now been hidden, ostensibly out of sight in the Lantern Palace built by Havel.
We have walked to the New Town for appetisers in the garden of a beautiful courtyard cafe hidden from the busy street. A slow roasted pork belly made into a spread and served on garlic toast as well as a beetroot spread were winners. Served with this was a chilled black currant wine from Slovakia known as černarybízovė vino.
Our final stop was at the Cafe Louvre, a large establishment fitted out in Belle Epoch style. The cafe has existed since 1902, but was fully renovated in 1992. Here we ate a very traditional Czech dish that is often prepared for Sunday lunch….a braised beef with vegetable sauce and a white bread dumpling called a Svíčková.
To finish our meal and the tour was an exceptionally fine jablečny závin, bettter known to us as apple strudel. With this and the choice of a Czech beer, or a wine, we chatted about the places we’d seen and compared notes on the tasting.
We all agreed it was a most informative and very interesting tour, introducing us to many places and types of food we’d not experienced before.
Eating Europe offer food tours in Rome, Florence, Amsterdam and London as well as this tour and their Brews and Views Beer Tour in Prague. If you’d like to book this tour, the link is Prague Food Tour
The website for all Eating Europe’s Food Tours: Eating Europe Food Tours
Do you like to take food tours? Which has been your favourite tour?
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Eating Europe in Prague. All opinions are mine and are not influenced in any way though another gingerbread cookie would be nice thank you!