The culinary specialities of the Czech Republic are abundant and delicious! 🙂 They combine German and Austrian influences, and are often based on pork, cabbage and starch. They’ve actually come up with a nice little name for it: Vepřo-knedlo-zelo (pork and cabbage). When you go off to do your work placement in Europe, and therefore a work placement in the Czech Republic, you’ll be thinking of us, who made you want to do it so much… 🙂 And don’t hesitate to drop us a line during your placement abroad: we’d love to hear from you!
Table manners in the Czech Republic
Here are a few things you should know about eating out in the Czech Republic before you go and do your work placement abroad! And if you’d like to find out more about local customs and traditions in the Czech Republic, we’ve got another blog for that.
- Bon appetit: Before starting the meal, we usually wish everyone “dobrou chuť” (pronounced doh-broh hoot), which means “bon appetit”.
- Greetings: Don’t forget to greet everyone at the table when you arrive. You can say “Dobrý den” (good morning) or “Dobrý večer” (good evening) depending on the time of day.
- Serving yourself at the table: When you are invited to a meal, wait for the host to invite you to serve yourself before you start taking food.
- Gifts: If you’re invited to someone’s home for a meal, it’s a good idea to bring a small gift as a sign of gratitude. Flowers, wine or chocolates are common choices.
- Use of cutlery: Use cutlery in a similar way to what you probably do in other European countries. Hold the fork in your left hand and the knife in your right when cutting food. Once cut, the food can be pricked with the fork in the left hand.
- Do not place your cutlery crossed: If you want to show that you have finished eating, place your cutlery parallel on your plate. Crossing them is considered impolite.
- Taste everything: When a dish is served, it’s a good idea to taste everything, even if you’re not sure you like it. Refusing to taste could be interpreted as a lack of respect for the host.
- Politeness: Don’t hesitate to compliment the host’s cooking and express your appreciation for the meal.
- Drinks: During a toast, raise your glass and toast with the other guests by saying “Na zdraví” (pronounced na zdrah-vee), which means “to your health”.
- Relaxed attitude: Although certain rules of politeness are important, Czechs are often relaxed and friendly around the table. Don’t hesitate to relax and immerse yourself in the warm atmosphere.
By keeping these rules in mind and showing respect for Czech culture, you’ll feel more at ease when dining in the Czech Republic. Enjoy your meal!
What’s for the aperitif?
For a typically Czech aperitif, here are some popular alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as some typical snacks to nibble on:
Alcoholic beverages :
- Becherovka: A herbal liqueur, very popular in the Czech Republic, often served as an aperitif.
- Pilsner Urquell: An iconic Czech beer, famous for its quality and refreshing taste.
- Slivovice: A plum brandy, much appreciated in the Czech Republic for its strong character.
- Fernet Stock: Another herbal liqueur, often served as a digestif but sometimes drunk as an aperitif too.
- Moravian wine: The Czech Republic also produces good wine, particularly in the Moravian region. Both white and red wines are popular.
Non-alcoholic drinks :
- Kofola: A fizzy drink with a unique taste, often considered to be the Czech version of Coca-Cola.
- Limonáda: A refreshing lemonade, usually available in a variety of flavours.
- Ovocný čaj: Fruit tea, perfect for cooler days or to quench your thirst.
- Nealko Pivo: Non-alcoholic beers are also popular with those who prefer to avoid alcohol.
Typical snacks :
- Chlebíčky: These are small toasts or canapés filled with various preparations such as cheese, vegetables, ham or eggs.
- Utopenec: Sausages marinated in a spicy vinaigrette sauce, often served with bread.
- Olomoucké tvarůžky: Typical cheeses from the Olomouc region, with a very distinctive smell and taste, often eaten with bread and onions.
- Nakládaný hermelín: Camembert cheese marinated in oil, garlic and herbs, served with bread.
- Roasted peanuts : Roasted and salted peanuts, a classic accompaniment to drinks.
During the Czech aperitif, you can take advantage of this selection of drinks and snacks to discover the culinary culture of the Czech Republic and have a good time in the company of your friends or family. Na zdraví!
Typical ingredients and other culinary delights
Here are some typical ingredients and culinary delights for starters, main courses and desserts in the Czech Republic:
- Kulajda: A thick soup made from mushrooms, potatoes, stock and curd. It is usually garnished with hard-boiled eggs and dill.
- Bramboráky: Grated potato pancakes mixed with garlic, onions and sometimes mushrooms, then fried until golden brown.
- Uzeného lososa: Smoked salmon, often served with bread, butter and pickled vegetables.
Main courses :
- Vepřo-knedlo-zelo: A traditional Czech dish consisting of roast pork (vepřové), knedlíky (a kind of baked dumpling) and sauerkraut (zelí).
- Svíčková: Tender roast beef served with a cream, vegetable and cranberry sauce, accompanied by knedlíky.
- Smažený sýr: A breaded and fried cheese, usually served with chips or salad.
- Moravský vrabec: A Moravian speciality, this is slow-cooked pork shoulder served with knedlíky and sauerkraut.
- Trdelník: A cylinder-shaped pastry baked on a spit and then wrapped in sugar and nuts.
- Medovnik: A honey cake made with thin layers of honey biscuit and cream.
- Palačinky: Czech pancakes, served with various toppings such as jam, chocolate, whipped cream or nuts.
- Ovocné knedlíky: Knedlíky stuffed with fruit (apples, plums or cherries), served with sugar, cinnamon and melted butter.
These dishes and desserts, typical of Czech cuisine, will help you discover the flavours and delights of this Central European country. Enjoy your meal!
Trdelník: the recipe says it’s a killer
Here’s a recipe for trdelník, a delicious Czech pastry in the shape of a cylinder, baked on a spit and coated with sugar and nuts:
- 500 g flour
- 250 ml warm milk
- 7 g active dry yeast
- 50 g sugar
- 1 egg
- 60 g butter, softened
- 1 pinch of salt
- Granulated sugar
- Crushed walnuts (or almonds) for coating
- In a small bowl, mix the warm milk with 1 tablespoon of sugar and add the dry yeast. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes until the mixture becomes frothy.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, remaining sugar and a pinch of salt.
- Add the egg and softened butter to the flour, then pour in the yeast mixture.
- Mix all the ingredients well until they form a smooth dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 to 7 minutes, until it is soft and elastic.
- Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.
- Preheat your oven to 180°C.
- Divide the dough into pieces and roll into balls about 1.5 cm thick.
- Wrap each strand of dough around a wooden roller, a trdelník (special mould) or a chopstick to form a spiral. Make sure the dough sticks to itself.
- Grill the trdelníky on a barbecue spit or special spit for trdelník, turning them regularly so that they cook evenly.
- While cooking, mix the granulated sugar and crushed nuts in a bowl.
- When the trdelníky are cooked and lightly browned, remove them from the spit and immediately roll them in the sugar and nut mixture to coat them generously.
The trdelníky are now ready to be eaten! Enjoy these delicious Czech pastries – they’re particularly tasty when they’re still warm. Bon appetit!
The Czech Republic’s culinary specialities are finished: you’ll have to go there to taste them all! It’s one of my favourite cuisines in Europe: it’s fatty, but so good! Have these little delights made you want to go and do your work placement in the Czech Republic? Then all you have to do is sign up and International Horizons will send you on your work placement abroad.
For more general questions, visit the International Horizons Internships Abroad FAQ.