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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » April 30, 2014
Polska…tastes good!
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Regional Products Straight from Agritourism Farms
April 30, 2014   
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Staying at an agritourism farm is an excellent opportunity to taste regional and traditional products, and visitors can often try their hand at making such food themselves.

Recent years have seen something of a revival in Polish traditional and regional cuisine. Rural residents are reaching for old traditions and making food according to original recipes once used by their grandmothers. Agritourism farm owners make no secret of the fact that they aim to win tourists over or of how they aim to do that: the way to a guest’s heart is through his stomach, they say.

A growing number of people realize that products that are on the menu daily at agritourism farms can often be pricey at stores in the cities. That is why they return to their favorite home-stay farms year after year and recommend them to friends. The food on offer at agritourism farms attracts city dwellers in search of simple and healthy country fare.

You can enjoy the flavor of regional and traditional products at many agritourism farms all over Poland. Those especially worth recommending belong to the European Network of Regional Culinary Heritage (culinary-heritage.com)—an organization of producers, processing and food-service businesses from different European regions. Its aim is to preserve and develop the culinary traditions typical for a given region. The network already has more than 1,100 members representing 32 European regions, including nine in Poland.

The common objective of all the regions that are members is to promote the market for local and regional foods and consequently the development of small business and tourism in such regions. Membership of the network guarantees tourists and consumers that the products offered by certified producers were made according to regional recipes. Producers, meanwhile, can label their products with a special symbol and advertise themselves as producers of healthy regional food.

In Kujawy-Pomerania province, regional products are available at a number of farms, including Pod zachrypniętym Kogutem (Under the Hoarse Rooster) agritourism farm in Dobrzyń nad Wisłą. The farm includes a traditional-style tavern where visitors can enjoy good homemade Polish cuisine. The tavern serves dishes such as żur kujawski sour soup and ham on the bone from a bread oven.

It is worth mentioning that Kujawy-Pomerania province is famous for the best geese in Poland in terms of flavor and nutritional value, mainly the White Kołudzka variety. Every year on Nov. 11 a campaign called Gęsina na świętego Marcina (Goose Meat for St. Martin’s Day) is held. Regional, old-style Polish cuisine is also promoted through Gęsinowy Szlak Kulinarny (Goose Meat Culinary Route) organized by the Kujawy-Pomerania Tourism Organization.

Delicacies of Lower Silesian cuisine are available at venues such as Dom Tyrolski (Tyrolean House) agritourism farm in the picturesque locality of Ratno Górne in the Kłodzko Valley at the foot of the Stołowe Mountains in southern Poland. Reflecting the local natural environment, this cuisine features trout, blackberry and blueberry jam and cake with seasonal fruit.

Cuisine from the Opole region is offered by the Cichy Zakątek (Quiet Corner) agritourism farm within the Stobrawa Landscape Park. You can taste regional specialties such as beef roulade and rabbit in cream sauce with Silesian dumplings and “blue” (meaning red) cabbage. Visitors can also taste traditional and regional dishes from around Opole at the Eko-Gościniec w Sadzie (Eco-Inn in the Orchard) in Przewóz, Cisek commune, which specializes in preserves made from its own fruit.

One destination in Mazovia province where healthy food is available is the Ela agritourism farm in Myszyniec, offering the traditional cuisine of the Kurpie region, including specialties such as piwo kozicowe (a kind of beer made with juniper berries), rejbak kurpiowski (a large baked potato pancake with meat), fafernuchy (carrot cakes with honey and pepper), cabbage with groats and pork ribs.

About 100 farmers, processing businesses and restaurateurs from the regions of Warmia, Mazuria and Powiśle belong to the European Network of Regional Culinary Heritage. Experts on regional cuisine say that the food offered in Warmia and Mazuria is unique because it includes dishes from the Kurpie, Mazuria and Warmia regions, but also incorporates Lithuanian, Russian, Ukrainian and German culinary traditions. Freshwater fish dishes deserve a special place among the meals offered to visitors by inns, restaurants and agritourism farms in Warmia and Mazuria. The Szwaderki fish farm has a fish-breeding tradition that goes back 60 years. It breeds species such as carp, sturgeon, pikeperch, tench, asp, pike, Baltic whitefish and European whitefish in 83 lakes with a total area of 5,600 hectares. The farm has an advanced fish processing plant as well as selling fresh and smoked fish and running a fried fish store that serves fish from the previous night’s catch.

A large selection of dishes based on traditional regional recipes from Mazuria is available at Aktywna Agroturystyka (Active Agritourism) farm in Stare Jabłonki. Barbecued dishes are its specialty: trout, neck of pork in beer and spices, ribs and goulash. Also worth recommending are ham, pork sirloin, bacon and sausages smoked on the spot, smoked and fried fish (trout, European catfish, European whitefish, bream) as well as homemade soups—fish soup, tripe, czernina (blood soup) and goulash soup.

Pomerania province is another region with many agritourism farms that cook and sell regional dishes. The Gościna (Hospitality) farm near Kościerzyna offers the flavors of the Kashubia region, such as fricassee of chicken, duck with cranberries (poultry from the farm), fish soup (fish from nearby Lake Wdzydze), cranberries (from Kościerzyna county), marinated wild mushrooms (picked in the Kashubian forests), and pork leg in cabbage with groats. The signature dishes of the Kociewiak agritourism farm on Lake Szteklińskie in the Tuchola Forest include carp in cream sauce, Kociewie pork fat spread, country paté, fried cheese with caraway seeds and seasonal preserves (fruit, mushrooms).

Kazimiera Kula’s farm in Nowe Koprzywno, Barwice commune in Western Pomerania province, is famous for its wholegrain Koprzywieński Bread—entered on a list of traditional products in 2008. This bread has been made from the same recipe for more than 50 years, baked in bread ovens fired with a mixture of coniferous and deciduous wood. The unique quality of this bread makes it popular among locals and tourists alike.

The specialty of the Wojciechówka agritourism farm in Pakosław in Wielkopolska province is pickled asparagus. Asparagus has been grown there for generations. The pickling process involves the addition of blackcurrant leaves (rich in vitamin C) and oak leaves (to ensure firmness). Pickled asparagus—entered on the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s list of traditional products—goes very well with pork roulades as well as being an excellent snack to have with beer.

Culinary treats also await at traditional restaurants and agritourism farms in Świętokrzyskie province. Farms in the region serve specialties such as nettle soup and sorrel soup, potato dumplings and homemade cherry liqueur.

In many places around Poland producers of regional foods band together to promote their products. One example are the highlanders from the southern Podhale region who have come up with something special for fans of oscypek cheese. The “oscypek route” takes visitors from one shepherd’s hut to another; tourists can taste oscypek sheep’s milk cheese at 25 different locations in Małopolska province as well as other kinds of highland cheese, such as bryndza and redykołka.
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