Taste of Prague

The highlight of our time in the Czech Republic’s capital was the Taste of Prague food and culture tour. The charming bed and breakfast we stayed at arranged for a babysitter to take care of our children so that my husband and I could venture out on our last evening. The plan: to indulge in cuisine that has been revitalized in the years following Prague’s communist past. Below are photos from the tour and a description of all the deliciousness we sampled at each place. Prepare to drool!

My husband and I met our tour guide Jan and another couple who signed up for the tour in front of a church, off the beaten path normally packed with tourists. Jan kicked the evening tour off with a shot of slivovitz (plum brandy). The drink kept us nice and toasty on the chilly walk to our first destination: Sisters Bistro, which serves open-faced sandwiches called chlebicek. While there, we sampled beet root puree with goat cheese and walnut, as well as smoked mackerel with potato salad and red beets. Normally, I can’t stand the taste of beets, but these sandwiches were delicious!

Our next stop was right next door. At Nase Maso Butcher Shop, you can purchase carefully prepared meats to cook at home or they will grill it for you at the shop. We sampled ready-made dishes such as meat loaf on bread, sausage with mustard, and pork lard with cracklings. Every bite I took was flavorful, making me wish my husband and I knew about this place earlier in our stay so we could have made a repeat visit.

Food wasn’t the only thing we were feted with on this tour. We enjoyed Czech wines at Vinograf, cultural anecdotes from Jan, and gorgeous views of Prague architecture lit up at night.

What was also wonderful about the tour was that we didn’t have to stress about taking notes about every restaurant. Jan assured us that he would email a description of each eatery we visited, allowing tour members to focus on eating, drinking, and – for those so inclined – taking photos. How handy, especially for bloggers like me! Below is a description of the heartiest meal on the tour, which I wouldn’t have been able to adequately describe without Jan’s email:

At Cestr Steak House, located in the old Communist Federal Parliament building, we were treated to Pilsner Urquell fresh from the tank; beef neck that was slowly stewed with paprika sauce and sour cream; beef golden muscle slow cooked in goose fat for 16 hours; pickled fried carp with red peppers, shallots and dill; Czech escargots boiled in root vegetables, baked in mushroom, and served with Sabayonne mousse; Czech carp roasted on butter and served with cherry tomatoes; grilled chicken with truffle stuffing and truffle sauce; sautéed carrots and spinach; beef steak tartare with fried bread and garlic; beer ice-cream; and egg nog. I enjoyed the food at Cestr and the darling copper pots some of the dishes were served in (Although, I admit to not taking one bite of the steak tartare or relishing the escargot.) I also learned that while I never enjoyed foam in beer while living in states and Singapore, foam on a fresh Czech beer is a whole new experience – it’s meant to be enjoyed much like foam topping a well-made cappuccino.

We finished the tour the sweetest way possible, with four Czech desserts at an elegant belle époque cafe called Cafe Savoy. According to Jan, the sweets we tasted are vetrnik (round windmill chaux pastry with caramel and cream filling and caramel glaze), venecek (chaux pastry with vanilla cream and sugar glaze), apple strudel, and laskonka (two coconut merengue with a rich chocolate filling).

The tour was a great way to spend our last night in Prague, but you’d be just as happy starting your vacation in the city with this tour. Taste of Prague gives you a packet of maps and recommendations on sights to see and places to eat during your stay. Oh, and mints – which are much needed after all that hearty fare!

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