In the Middle Ages, Krakow was the capital of Poland. Located on important trade routes, it was one of the richest cities in Europe. Its cuisine has been shaped over the centuries not only by Polish tradition, but also by German, Italian, Middle-Eastern (Jewish and Muslim) and later on French and Austro-Hungarian influences.
Today Krakow is celebrating the title of the European Capital of Gastronomic Culture 2019, awarded by the European Academy of Gastronomy. A city for centuries appreciated for its culture heritage now has become also a European centre of gastronomic heritage, as well as just a place where you can eat really tasty Polish dishes.
No wonder why - Krakow’s gastronomic scene is flourishing. Restaurants feature more and more inventive interiors, offer better and better service, and serve more and more interesting dishes. Chefs come back from their overseas internships, but do not reproduce what they cooked in other countries. Instead, use their skills to propose new interpretations of the classic Polish dishes. They will not opt for anonymous products supplied by large networks but buy from small local producers. They patiently explain that a meal can in itself become a story – the one about emotions, memories, or a place. And the story they serve you on the plate is getting fuller and fuller thanks to, among other reasons, conscious selection of wines accompanying the dishes, which include the wines made from grapes grown in the vicinity of Krakow or even within the city borders.
Krakow is the city of origin for chefs promoting Polish cuisine, including Adam Chrząstowski (Ed Red), Rafał Targosz (ZaKładka Food&Wine) or Marcin Filipkiewicz (Copernicus), who was awarded a distinction from the International Academy of Gastronomy and received the Chef of the Future (Chef de L’avenir) award. It is also one of only two Polish cities whose restaurants are distinguished by the Michelin culinary guide. So far, 25 restaurants have been recognised by the guide. Krakow’s restaurants have also been recommended by: Gaullt & Millau and Slow Food Polska. Furthermore, as part of the Krakow’s Restaurants’ Recommendation Action, which has been organised for 11 years by the City Hall and Krakowska Kongregacja Kupiecka (Krakow Congregation of Merchants), a total of 86 restaurants received awards and recommendations in 2017. The restaurants are promoted in a special Krakow na widelcu (“Krakow on the fork”) guide.
The Lesser Poland is a leader of changes in the gastronomy and culinary landscape, and Krakow, as a gastronomic centre, is second only to Warsaw in terms of size. Factors such as attachment to tradition, large number of tourists interested in Polish cuisine and access to unique products make this city one of the most important culinary destinations in Poland. It is worth noting that the Lesser Poland region and cuisine have not been industrialised, contrary to many places in Western Europe. The traditional methods of food treatment and preservation still survive here: pickling, smoking and smoke-drying – these three methods allow to determine the flavour characteristics of the Lesser Poland cuisine that are appreciated by the top chefs.
Out of all the Polish regions, it is the Lesser Poland that boasts the greatest number of regional products registered in the EU. Moreover, there are 203 traditional products placed on the list of the Ministry of Agriculture that come from the Lesser Poland (including dairy products, meat products, fishery products, vegetable and fruit products; bakery products; oils and fats; honeys, prepared meals and products, or beverages).
Welcome to Krakow – the European Capital of Gastronomic Culture 2019, For more information please visit: www.culinary.krakow.pl.