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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » April 30, 2010
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Magda Gessler Goes Chopin
April 30, 2010   
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Some 50 kilometers west of Warsaw, tucked away in among meadows and willow trees, lies Żelazowa Wola, the birthplace of Frederic Chopin. Polish celebrity restaurateur Magda Gessler settled on this idyllic locale for her newest restaurant, scheduled to open in May. Polka Żelazowa Wola is where Polish culture, art and cuisine all come together—in direct proximity of where the great composer first saw daylight.

The restaurant is being set up to cater for visitors in search of Chopin’s roots. This is an opportunity to introduce foreign tourists to Polish culture through its rich and varied cuisine. Gessler has no qualms about admitting that her dream is to see Poland take its place among the great cuisines of the world.

Polka Żelazowa Wola comprises three dining rooms in a country mansion which altogether cover 400 sq m. Each room has a different decor. The interior is Polish with allusions to Chopin’s life in France, while the colors allude to his stay in Majorca. The many photos of the composer, his family, and the women in his life lend the place a special atmosphere. Piano recitals are also planned for the restaurant.

“For me, Chopin is the landscape, the taste of mazurek cake, Polishness, willow trees, the frailness and power of life and the power of talent and passion,” says Gessler.

Gessler eschewed French undertones frequently associated with Chopin while working on the menu. It was the composer’s Polish roots she wanted to stress and, to that end, she concentrated her efforts in devising a menu that would inculcate a feel for Polish culture, art and cuisine in her guests. Some of the more noteworthy items on the menu include poultry pate with horseradish and apple sauce, leniwe pierogi (Polish dumplings made of cheese, eggs and flour) with breadcrumbs, marinated larded beef roast in its own sauce, and Polish-style chicken roasted in butter. For dessert, don’t miss the pancakes with apple and sugar and sprinkled with cinnamon, the delicate mazurek cakes with crumbly pastry with milk chocolate and hazelnuts, and a chocolate mousse that is in a class of its own.

The spacious interiors are ideal for both intimate get-togethers and large functions for up to 250 people. There are plans afoot to open a barbecue garden in summer.

For children there is a playground and a special menu. There will also be small, short-order snacks served from a side window for those who cannot wait. These will include ice cream cones, hamburgers, wafers and crepes. The restaurant has facilities for the disabled.
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