There was a little niggling fear in my heart when we arrived in the Czech Republic; I worried that I was going to encounter some of the same vegetarian food-related issues that cropped up in Bosnia – but fear not because I found fantastic DESSERTS!
Visiting Prague is not an issue for a vegetarian because it’ a big city and there are several tasty places…plus you can nearly always be sure of finding some sort of ethnic restaurant in the larger cities (Chinese, Indian, Thai). The move down to Český Krumlov though was a whole other matter. Just like so much of this region, the dish of choice in Czech is meat.
The local specialties? Meat. And what about those lovely pastries in the windows? Also meat.
So what’s a hungry girl to do?
Well, there are a few Czech specialties that don’t involve meat…sadly they’re both desserts…what a shame right? I was really sad to have to sample these treats every day.
Traditional Czech Desserts
Sweet Fruit Dumplings
Dumplings are a specialty of this whole region, not just Czech; Slovenia offered up specialty dumplings as well but I FAR prefer the Czech ones.
The dessert dumplings come in a variety of sizes from tennis ball sized mounds of warm jam-stuffed deliciousness to smaller cumquat sized balls with gushy blueberry filling oozing out. They use a potato or curd that cooks up doughy and soft and the most traditional fillings are plum and peach.
The best part? They are traditionally topped off with a generous dollop of melted butter over the top, heaps of whipped cream, and then sprinkled with crumbly cheese and/or sugar.
I can’t claim that they are even remotely healthy. Not a chance. But man, they are a piece of warm and pleasantly sweet heaven right in your mouth.
In addition to the dessert dumpling the actually sliced wheat and potato dumplings are quite traditional and worth a try…probably only once in my opinion, but they aren’t objectionable in any way, just a bit bland. They eat these though as a side with their meaty-tastic dishes that I avoided like the plague :-)
This tasty little dessert is a tradition born right in the Czech and Slovakia region and the two Trdelník stands in Český Krumlov hark back to different time altogether as you pass the delicious smelling wooden street-side window stands.
The sales window of the shops look directly onto the street so that you can get your Trdelník fix in only the time it takes you to dig out 20 crown from your pocket (about a dollar).
These are made from rolled dough and then grilled on a stick and coated with both sugar and one of the small selection of toppings – most popular, and the only one they had most days, was the cinnamon. I was ok with that though because I have a love affair with cinnamon…if you don’t though the selection early in the day is far better.
The desserts are hollow and you can wear them like a bracelet as you eat them – just like the day from childhood of gnawing on candy necklaces. It’s not the classiest way to eat a Trdelník but I think it made it a bit more fun and interesting!
Czech cuisine may not be particularly ideal for my dietary choices but at the end of the day you can be sure that I was more than willing to fill up any empty space in my belly with the tasty traditional Czech desserts. Add to that the wonderful Laibon vegetarian restaurant, set right on the side of the Vltava river, and, well Cesky Krumlov was a memorable stop on my round the world trip!