The defining characteristics of Czech food are deeply connected with other Central European dishes. Due to the constantly changing borders and rulers in the area (not to mention their various ethnic backgrounds and marital ties),
The first thing that needs to be understood about the Czech cuisine is that it’s not exactly known for being light… or particularly healthy, for that matter. Czech cuisine consists of a lot of meat, carbs, and sauces that will keep you warm and full during the cold Central European winter (although grilling meat and veggies are popular summer alternatives). If you want to get really authentic Food-wise, you’ve got to go with something hearty and delicious.
Czech cuisine was influenced by its neighbours, primarily the Germans and the Hungarians. Unlike Mediterranean cuisine with its abundance of fresh vegetables and seafood, traditional Czech cuisine was shaped by long cold winters without fresh products and so it is heavier and more demanding of digestion.
It consists of fresh and smoked meats, flour, potatoes, onions, pickled vegetables, all with a lot of animal fat. However, with fresh vegetables, fish and meat now available throughout the year, the situation is changing and healthier trends are emerging.
Beer is the most popular beverage in the Czech Republic. Its production is characterised by top quality and a tradition going back centuries. Small as well as large breweries are to be found throughout the whole country. They produce a unique Czech lager (bottom-fermented beer). The most famous brands of Czech beer are Pilsner Urquell (the original Pils) and Budvar (the original Budweiser). Beer is usually drunk with small bites of meat or cheese. Beer is consumed mainly in special beer halls or pubs, which usually have a limited choice of meals.
Typical Czech specialities
Ingredients of the Czech cuisine
Amongst the most important elements of the Czech cuisine belongs meat: pork, beef, poultry, rabbit and venison. The most common fish is freshwater carp, which is eaten primarily on Christmas Eve. Less common fish include trout, pike, zander and eel. Czech cuisine also utilises vegetables, fruits, beans and pulses, mushrooms, dairy products, grains, baked goods, vegetable and animal fat, spices, herbs and, last but not least, Czech beer.
Sirloin in cream sauce (Svíčková na smetaně) – one of the most popular Czech meals, roasted larded beef sirloin in a sauce of cream and root vegetables, served with dumplings.
Roast pork with cabbage and dumplings (Vepřo-knedlo-zelo) – Czech national meal. Roasted pork belly, shoulder or leg, served with stewed pickled red or white cabbage (sauerkraut), or fresh green cabbage, in the warm part of the year, with dumplings.