The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Greetings from Warsaw

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Floydm's picture
Floydm

Greetings from Warsaw

We've been in Warszawa since Thursday.

It has been cold, but it is actually quite beautiful right now.

I've not been here in 15 years. The change is incredible. You can still find funky little flea markets, run down train stations, and ugly Communist-era buildings, but those are quickly being replaced by new shopping centres, shiny glass office towers, and brand new new trams and metros. Business and growth, and with them money and English, are everywhere here now.  It is incredible.

 We've mostly been visiting family so far, so I haven't had much of a chance to go "bakery hopping" or do much sightseeing yet.  We've eaten some wonderful breads with pasztet and ozorek and zurek though, many of the breads quite dense and dark, containing grains and fruits and nuts (I'll have time to figure out what all they were later).  And I've finally tried pączki.

These pączki were from A.Blikle, one of the most famous bakeries in Warszawa.  They claim it is where Charles De Gaulle used to get his pastries during his time here.  

The Blikle pączki were amazing, soft, just slightly sweet, and flavoured with rose petal jam.  I always figured pączki were "kinda like jelly doughnuts," and I guess they are but that comparison is like claiming that a French baguette with brie is kinda like American cheese on white bread.  Or saying that what you get at Olive Garden is Italian food.  The same general make up, yes, but really on entirely different level when it comes to craftsmanship.  

I don't know if pączki are usually this good or if it is just this bakery, but I will definitely be trying more while we are here!

-Floyd

Comments

Basia's picture
Basia

You are visiting my country! Paczki are the best :-))

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Dziękuję, Basia!  

The food here is all so good.  Last night I tried oscypki, which I loved, and had sernik with red currents that was wonderful.  

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

and Warsaw in 1989. Before the wall came down we were lucky enough to spend 10 days in Krakow and made side trips to Warsaw so my husband could deliver talks at the University. We stayed in a wonderful hostel in Krakow next to a monastery. Hearing the singing and the bells was so moving. We ate and ate pastries and ice cream. Our host had to get coupons from friends to treat us to special things as there was rationing. We were there for May Day. I remember the street vendors and the flowers. The hay wagons in the countryside and the flowers...:) The train rides we took cross-country.  We loved Poland. 

Thank you Floyd for bringing back special memories. c

Floydm's picture
Floydm

We're heading to Kraków on Wednesday, so I'll be sure to share some pictures that'll bring back more memories for you!

-Floyd

Wingnut's picture
Wingnut

Brilliant report, keep it coming.

Cheers,

Wingnut

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

I know your wife must be having the time of her life :)

Have fun !

anna

 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Floyd,

Thanks for the photos and for the telling of your travels.  I love to hear what people do and see when traveling since I am not a traveler myself.

I do remember reading a wonderful book to my children years ago about the trumpeters of Krakow.  As I recall it was historical fiction and told all about the trumpeters who used to keep watch in church towers to alert the citizenry if the Mongols were approaching for an attack from the East.  I was very impressed by all of the history that went on during that time and before.  Apparently the trumpeters had been in place for hundreds of years.....Never checked to see if that was true but I did like the sound of such a tradition.

Anyway, thanks for the post.  I would love to see and read more.

Take Care,

Janet

Floydm's picture
Floydm

The trumpeter in Kraków is very cool, and yes the history here is amazing.  If it wasn't the Tartars, it was the Germans or the Russias or the Austrians or even the Swedes (!) invading, and the number of times that country of Poland only existed in people's memories... I have incredible respect for the people who kept the language and culture alive.

-Floyd

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Floyd,

Thanks for letting me know I had the invaders wrong...I suspected I did.  I read to my children while they were going down for naps....many times I went down too :-)  hence the fuzzy memory.  I just know I was really impressed because I was never taught about Poland's extensive history in school.  I too respect the people for keeping the culture etc alive.  

After finishing that book I know we began an extensive reading 'unit' about the middle ages in Europe via historical fiction.  One book just seemed to beckon to another.  It was a fascinating and I know I learned a lot more reading those books than I ever did reading HS text books!

Thanks again.

Janet

isand66's picture
isand66

Thanks for sharing your visit with us.  I look forward to hearing more about your trip and hopefully some new recipes from your family.

Cheers

Ian

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

Yes the recorded trumpeter was something that brought tears to my eyes. The sound is played in all four directions to alert the whole town of the coming invasion. On the final/fourth sounding it abruptly stops to signify the trumpeter being shot by an arrow from the invaders . I can't tell you how it feels to hear the sound echoing in the silent square....very emotional. 

Looking forward to more pics. We loved the street markets in Krakow. Another interesting detail when we were eating meals at a restuarant with many new University friends, the waiter brought Coca-cola in glass bottles to the table and set them along the center as one would wine. We each had small glasses. The Coca-cola was parceled out to each of us in small portions as  a rare and special drink. 

We had a special private tour of  Wawel castle and the astronomical instruments used by Copernicus. They are all made of gold. A most wonderful place to visit. c

Floydm's picture
Floydm

My wife visited here around that time and remembers when people would dress up to go to the first McDonalds in town.  It isn't like that any more, at least not in Warszawa.  As I mentioned, nearly everyone who works in restaurants or cafes speaks decent English now. There is even a Starbucks on Nowy Świat, not far from an H&M. 

Wawel is great.  I'm looking forward to taking my kids there later this week!

-Floyd