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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » June 3, 2015
Polska… tastes good!
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Polish Cold Cuts: Popular at Home and Abroad
June 3, 2015   
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Demand on the Polish market is growing for high-quality cold cuts from the premium segment. Brand-name smoked meats from Poland are also finding more buyers in other countries.

Cold cuts are an important component of our diets because the meat in them contains high-quality and easily digestible nutrients, valuable proteins, minerals, fats and vitamins. The role of protein from meat is invaluable, since proteins are essential for the proper development of the human body. Fat, on the other hand, is necessary for hormones to work properly. The most important minerals supplied by meat are zinc, copper and iron.

Cold cuts such as ham and sausages were popular in Poland as far back as pre-Slavic times. Sausage (kiełbasa) was served at home to nobles, townspeople and peasants alike. In the old days the main methods for producing cold cuts were drying and smoking in natural smoke. Meat filling was stuffed into natural casings like animal intestines and stomachs. No chemicals were used, just a variety of spices.

Many Polish meat processing plants use old recipes. Over a quarter of processed meats eaten in Polish homes today are premium cold cuts. These include luxury and traditional cold cuts, the top level in this market segment. The demand for these products is growing as people grow more affluent because luxury and traditional cold cuts are more expensive than those made on an industrial scale due to high production costs. In this segment, 1 kg of meat usually yields no more than 0.5-0.7 kg of end product.

Experts say that premium cold cuts will have an increasing market share in Poland.

Polish meat products are also well known in other countries. Traditionally, the highest sales are in areas where large numbers of Poles live in the United States and Britain. However, it’s not just Poles living abroad who enjoy these tasty products. Increased exports of processed meat to Britain following the latest wave of emigration stimulated interest in Polish cold cuts and sausages among British consumers.

Quality cold cuts on offer include products with the Poznaj Dobr± Żywno¶ć (Try Fine Food) label, which is a guarantee of high quality, raw materials from known sources and processing technologies ensuring safety and excellent flavor.

Smoked meats registered in the European Union’s Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), and Traditional Specialty Guaranteed (TSG) systems are a guarantee of top quality and taste. One such product is kiełbasa lisiecka (PGI; pork sausage from Liszki)—a specialty made by butchers from Liszki and Czernichów in the Małopolska region. Roughly chopped pork is seasoned with pepper, garlic and a little salt. The delicious flavor is developed by smoking the sausages in traditional smoking chambers in which the smoke comes from the burning wood of deciduous trees like alder and beech or fruit trees.

Another registered product is kiełbasa jałowcowa (TSG; juniper sausage), which is produced all across Poland. Kiełbasa jałowcowa has a unique flavor and aroma. These qualities are due to the use of juniper berries in the production process. They are crushed just before being added to the meat and then the sausage’s flavor is enhanced and its unusual aroma augmented by smoking in juniper smoke. The sausage owes its special taste and aroma to the choice of herbs and spices added to the meat, with natural pepper and juniper berries dominating. The production technology is also traditional, described in 18th-century Polish records. This sausage is smoked in warm and then cold smoke, using oak chips and juniper branches; after that it is dried for a few days.

Polish kabanosy (TSG) sausages are popular in many countries around the world. These are long and thin dried pork sausages in sheep intestines that are smoked in hot smoke. They have a distinctive, spicy flavor with a hint of caraway. The kabanosy production method is more than 80 years old and the name kabanos comes from kaban, a word used in the dialect of the Podlasie region to denote a young pig.
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