In the first part of Czech Christmas Traditions we wrote about the traditions celebrated during the Advent. This time, let’s talk about the delicious food served in Czech homes at Christmas.
Food is an important part of Christmas. In Czech Republic, you can enjoy some of the delicious Christmas dishes at the Christmas markets or in restaurants, some are, however, less common and you’d have to visit a more traditional Czech household to try them.
The Golden Piggy
When we talk about food we must first mention what happens to those who don’t eat it. It is believed that if you fast on December 24 until the dawn, you will see a golden pig, or rather piggy (zlaté prasátko). It is a difficult task because whole Christmas and especially December 24, the most important day of Czech Christmas, is filled with delicious food!
Vánočka is a sweet pastry named after the festivities (Vánoce – Christmas). It is very similar to the French brioche or the German Stollen. It’s typically eaten on Christmas Eve morning but also during the whole Advent time and nowadays also during the whole year. You’ll find the best recipe here. Also, vánočka has a rich history, you can read about it here.
Christmas cookies are a huge deal in the Czech Republic. There are dozens of types and families bake them in almost incredible amounts. Some of the most common ones are Linzer cookies (Linecké cukroví), Nut cookies (Ořechy), pracny, vanilkové rohlíčky or Beehive cookies (Úly). You can bake some of them with our Christmas recipes.
Muzika or Tomáškový kompot used to be traditionally served at Christmas Eve dinner. It was prepared in advance (December 21 – St. Tomas Day) because it tasted better rested. It’s a mixture of dried fruit, nuts and spices soaked in water, honey and sometimes rum. Muzika isn’t a common dish nowadays, however, it is still served in the more traditional regions. Making it at home is very easy, you can find the recipe here.
Fish soup is one of the dishes served at December 24, which is the most important day of Czech Christmas, the so called Štědrý den (literally “the Generous day”). Since the fried carp is a part of the traditional Christmas dinner, the pieces of the carp not used for frying end up in the soup. It is a thick broth with carrot and bread croutons.
Kuba is another dish that survives only in some regions. The base of it is the groat mixed with mushrooms, onion and herbs.
Fried carp with potato salad is a star of the Christmas dinner table. It is served on December 24 and prepared as fillets coated in flour, dipped in egg and covered in bread crumbs. Many people, however, choose to replace the carp with other types of meat.
Czech Christmas dinner just wouldn’t be complete without the potato salad. Every family has its own recipe but generally, there are two kinds of potato salad – mayonnaise potato salad and salad made with a sour vinagrette made with vinagre and oil and sometimes also egg yolk and mustard.
We mustn’t forget the Christmas drinks! Svařák or svařené víno is mulled wine with herbs, sugar and served with oranges or lemons. It’s an ideal beverages for cold winter days.
Grog is traditionally prepared with rum, water, sugar and lemon and you’ll often find it not just at the Czech Christmas markets but especially on the ski slopes;-)
What do you think about the Czech Christmas food and drinks? Have you ever tried some? Don’t forget to come back for the third part of Czech Christmas Traditions!