Then cook your way from Krakow to Zakopane.
Poland is one of the world’s most exciting culinary travel hotspots right now. Traditions threatened and in some cases lost during the Soviet era (that ended almost 25 years ago) are being revived and taken to new levels of innovation by a new generation of chefs who are rivaling Europe’s best with their creative contemporary cuisine.
Forty-five Polish restaurants featured in the 2015 Michelin Red Guide — with 24 from Warsaw and 21 from Krakow.
Sarna Rose, the Florida-based president of Poland Culinary Vacations, points out that key to Polish food has typically been natural ingredients, local produce, and solid home-cooking. Her company’s focus is introducing food lovers and adventurers to the traditional roots of Polish cooking and regional specialties as well as the outstanding cuisine of modern Polish chefs.
A highpoint of their 2016 culinary vacation options list is the August 7 to 13 tour that features Poland’s grand annual Pierogi Festival, held in Krakow.
The 2016 XIV Pierogi Fest will feature pierogi tastings, Polish beer, live entertainment and more. The festival serves as the kick-off for an in-depth and fun Poland tasting experience complete with cooking classes, history lessons, great architecture, indoor and outdoor adventures, lots to taste and much more.
Lesser Poland (Malopolska), is one of Poland’s most beautiful and “delicious” regions, Rose points out. In addition to its many unique historic and resort attractions, it is home to the region’s magnificent capital city: Krakow, designated as a “European City of Culture” in 2000.
The Old Town district of Krakow was built around Europe’s largest medieval market square, now a Unesco World Heritage Site.
So-called “Lesser Poland” is also home to the highlanders, or “gorale,” as they are called in Polish. Thus, the tour includes the charming town of Zakopane and surrounding areas with its highlander culture: cooking, singing and dancing in homes and restaurants. “The highlanders’ rich culinary and cultural traditions make this region one of the most exciting Polish destinations to explore in depth,” she says.
Lesser Poland offers an exceptionally varied and pristine landscape. First-rate hiking and biking trails run through the Tatra Mountains, with stunning views and scenery. Winter sports facilities and folklore events attract travelers in every season. This region is also famous for its many fine health resorts and national parks that protect its unique environment.
Krakow, the capital of Lesser Poland, boasts many of the best museums, theaters and examples of architecture in the country. Krakow is also home to one of the world’s oldest and most distinguished universities, the Jagellonian University founded in 1364.
Krakow’s old-town main square is filled with unique and beautiful cafés, restaurants and pubs. The square is frequently used for concerts and artistic events. Cultural events or culinary festivals happen during each month of the year, offering residents and visitors many opportunities for fun and entertainment.
“On top of the Pierogi Festival, we’ll dine and cook with Krakow’s talented chefs in some of the city’s best restaurants. And, we’ll take time to explore its unique architecture and history during our custom-designed city tour,” Rose says.
Poland Culinary Vacations’ August 2016 tour comprises a seven-day, six-night custom-designed, intimate cooking vacation in Poland’s Lesser Poland region, immersed in beautiful Krakow and the unique highlander culture. Elegant and comfortable accommodations at a luxurious: 4-star Hotel Art & Spa in Zakopane and a boutique Hotel Maltanski, within walking distance to Krakow’s Market Square.
There will be visits to local markets; opportunities to learn crafts from local artists. Hands-on and demonstration-style cooking lessons throughout the week. Delicious regional cuisine: freshly made meals and breads, plus wine, beer and vodka tastings.
Visits to agrotourist farms, famous for warm hospitality and Polish countryside experiences.
Motor excursions into famous cities and towns to see renowned art and architecture, including buildings on the Unesco World Heritage List. An excursion by raft through the Dunajec River Gorge. The option to extend your time in Krakow and further explore this spectacular southern Polish city.
The Krakow urban culinary experience includes visits to the 14th-century Wawel Castle and Cathedral, and Kazimierz – the former Jewish district. Also, the fresh food market, called Stary Kleparz (see the accompanying slide show), with its centuries-old tradition. Locals and visitors shop in an unforgettable atmosphere for fresh, traditional Polish food products, and have an opportunity to taste breads, cheeses, meats, fruits and vegetables. Krakow is filled with restaurants that offer memorable dining experiences.
Naturally you will end the tour as a pierogi expert!
Click here for reservations.
See other 2016 culinary vacations here.
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For more on Krakow and surrounds contact the Malopolska Tourist Organization.
Google flights from SFO to Poland for good deals.