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Food and Vodka Tour in Kraków, Poland

One of the things we love the most about travelling is the opportunity to try new foods. Tucking into local delicacies while travelling is a wonderful way to experience the local culture. Not only do you get to try new flavours and tastes; you also get a more engaging and immersive travel experience.

Before we headed to Poland, we did some research on food experiences in Kraków and decided to go on a food tour with Free Walking Tours. Although ours was a paid tour, there was no pre-booking required. You could meet the tour guide on the designated day/time and join the tour. It worked for us. So, while in Kraków we joined Nika (our tour guide) and four other travellers for a Food & Vodka (of Kraków) tour. And let me tell you upfront that it was fantastic. During the two and a half hour tour, Nika took us into a number of local shops and markets and we sampled a variety of local dishes while learning a few things about the culture of Poland from Nika - a perfect blend of food and culture making it a truly authentic experience!

Food and Vodka Tour in Krakow - Poland

Experience Krakow through the local cuisine

The tour began at the Old Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of Kazimierz and our first stop was Restauracja Samoobsługowa where we tried some Polish soups. The non-vegetarians sampled Zurek (Polish sour rye soup based on sausage, bacon and mushrooms) and Borsch (beetroot soup cooked on smoked gammon stock) while we enjoyed Tomato soup and Pickle soup with potatoes. Very flavourful!

Food and Vodka Tour in Krakow - Poland

Food and Vodka Tour in Krakow - Poland

Next, we walked through a farmer's market to a traditional sausage shop where the meat eaters sampled three varieties of sausages. From there we walked a little further and into another small shop popular for pickles. We sampled pickled cucumber and cabbage (Sauerkraut). Pickled cabbage in Poland is called Kapusta kiszona and the locals consume it more in Winter because of its immune boosting properties and other health benefits.

While in the market, Nika also pointed out bottles of starter for the soups we earlier had. These were homemade ferments that are usually sold in most markets. The one pictured below is used for traditional sourdough soups and has a delicate taste. it can also be used in a few other Polish recipes.

Food and Vodka Tour in Krakow - Poland

Our next stop was at Bar Mleczny, a traditional Polish Milk Bar. Originating during the World War, these milk bars were set up with the aim of providing cheap meals (mostly dairy-based) to the local working class. In addition to dairy products, milk bars also served Pierogi (Polish dumplings), omelettes and other flour-based dishes. Today very few milk bars remain but they are quite popular because of the homemade style and low priced food they offer. We sampled three different types of Pierogi (2 savoury and 1 sweet), pancakes and a compote drink (Kompot). The savoury dumplings with potato & cheese and cabbage & mushrooms were tasty. The pancake (Placki Ziemniaczane) was made with potatoes, onions and eggs fried in fat. It was served with a mushroom sauce and was delicious. Kompot the local fruit drink was refreshing.

Food and Vodka Tour in Krakow - Poland

Food and Vodka Tour in Krakow - Poland

We then followed Nika as she took us through small lanes and streets to our next destination - Ciastkarnia Vanilla. What a lovely little shop it was! Stocked with homemade cakes, pastries and other delicacies, this one catered to our sweet tooth. We tried Makowiec - the poppy seed roll. Traditionally eaten during Christmas time, the poppy seed roll is a roll of sweet yeast bread with a dense, rich, bitter-sweet filling of poppy seed. It was topped with nuts and candied orange peel. Delicious!

Food and Vodka Tour in Krakow - Poland

Food and Vodka Tour in Krakow - Poland

Time to sample some Polish vodkas now! Our first stop for the vodkas was Szynk Pub. Here we tried two different vodkas - Zubrowka Bisongrass Vodka (which we had already tried and enjoyed) and a Polish rye vodka. There was a traditional accompaniment for the meat eaters (rye bread with some pickled herring). We also learnt from Nika how to say 'cheers' in Polish - na zdrovia (pronounced as Naz-dro-vyeh and originating from a similar word in Russian which means 'For your health').

Food and Vodka Tour in Krakow - Poland

Food and Vodka Tour in Krakow - Poland

Food and Vodka Tour in Krakow - Poland

Our final stop was Wrega Pub where we sampled some flavoured vodkas (I think it was Hazelnut and Raspberry). And that was the end of our food and vodka tour. And it was so much fun. Nika was a wonderful guide regaling us with stories about the culture and food of Poland. We visited a number of places that we would probably have missed had we gone on our own. We sampled 12-15 different foods and drinks in authentic Polish eateries. And because of the small size of the group we had a very personalised experience.

Food and Vodka Tour in Krakow - Poland

Food and Vodka Tour in Krakow - Poland

Food and Vodka Tour in Krakow - Poland

The food and vodka tour with Walkative tours costs 50 PLN per person - the price in February when we visited. Price for March-October season is 60 PLN per person. Price includes food & drink samples.

Once the tour ended a few of us stayed back to enjoy Grzane piwo or Hot Beer! Yes, you read that right - hot beer, which comes in two flavours - ginger or raspberry! It not only tasted great but was the perfect way to deal with the cold weather!

Food and Vodka Tour in Krakow - Poland

Another must try in Kraków is the Zapiekanka. You could say that it has been modelled on the pizza. The classic version consists of a halved baguette that has been topped with mushrooms and cheese and baked until the cheese melts and the baguette turns crispy. Garnishings could include fried onions, chives or simple ketchup. A simple dish but very delicious and filling. There are a number of toppings for those who eat meat.

Food and Vodka Tour in Krakow - Poland

38 comments:

  1. I see that you tried the Zubrowka. Did you also try Sobieski? It is another popular one from Poland - very smooth!

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    1. We did try a Rye vodka but I am not sure if it was the Sobieski brand. The name eludes me.

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  2. OMG I would pay a visit just to get my teeth into one of those Zapiekankas!

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    1. It is a very popular street food; also referred to as French-bread pizzas :)

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  3. Wow. Love the sound of the 'Makowiec'..Such an interesting read!

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  4. What a wonderful idea a food and drink walking tour is! I wish every large European city did this- including those in the UK. It's such a quick way learn about the culture & history of whichever city you're visiting!

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    1. Yes, it is a wonderful idea. You can check out Secret Food Tours - the offer food tours in London.

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  5. The zapiekanka looks delicious, it's worth a visit to try one.

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    1. The Pierogi (Polish dumplings) and the pancake (Placki Ziemniaczane) are delicious too.

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  6. Just looks amazing. I want to go xx

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  7. I have to say Polish Vodka is one of the best .. your trip looked amazing

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    1. Thanks, Kerry. Yes, our holiday was wonderful.

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  8. The ginger and raspberry beer sounds amazing

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  9. The Makowiec looks amazing! I would definitely love to visit if only for the food...

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    1. It was. It is a traditional recipe and very delicious.

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  10. This would be very much my thing.............great thanks

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  11. Love Polish food, so simple, but tasty!

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  12. I have not been to Poland yet but will be going shortly and looking forward to the experience

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  13. wow have heard all about polish food from friends that are polish looks delicious especially the french bread pizza thingy

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    1. Polish food is known to be simple and hearty and it was. All the vegetarian fare we sampled was delicious.

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  14. Would lobve to start taking trips like this when the kids are older, have never been one for cultural/city trips in the past but finding them so appealing the older I get

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  15. The food looks amazing, this is something my son would really love especially the vodka

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  16. very interesting I have always wanted to visit Poland and then cakes look yummy x

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  17. I think these tours are a great way to really get to know a country/city. Ssometimes it can be difficult to find authentic food when you are only in a place for a short time.
    Yhe hot beer sounded delicious too!

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    1. Yes, a food or drink tour like this one is a wonderful way to experience and learn more about the local culture.

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  18. I love the look of this tour, I am a foodie who also loves Vodka, perfect

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    1. Yes, this would be the perfect tour for you :)

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  19. This looks good - I really want to go to Poland and love food, so this would be ideal

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  20. The food looks amazing and I bet the vodka is I’d love to try proper vodka and visit Poland

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  21. This sounds like a super trip and it is always a good idea to get an expert guide to take you around and show you things you might never have discovered on your own.

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    1. Yes, a local guide is always a good idea. They take you to places you might miss if you plan to do a similar tour on your own.

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  22. Oh wow, everything looks so great! Made me well hungry now :D

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  23. Krakow is definitely on my list of places,I'd love to visit,reading your blog and seeing all that delicious food has just confirmed i need to go! Very informative blog.Thank you for sharing x

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Amanda. Krakow is a beautiful city with a lot of charm. And the Polish food is yummy.

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  24. Wow looks lovely 😊 I'd love to visit one day

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    1. I hope you get to visit soon, Jeanette.

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