Business

A Little Indulgence… Czech’s Rich Traditional Desserts & Recipes

sweet czechfruit dumplings

A sweet dumpling dessert that I found in Český Krumlov. It was so good I went back there for it several times!

There was a niggling fear in my heart when I arrived in the Czech Republic; I worried that I was going to encounter vegetarian food-related issues like those I encountered in Bosnia. I was pleasantly surprised to find fantastic Czech desserts all over the place. The country has a dumpling mania and there are everything from sweet fruit dumplings to savory dumplings too.

Visiting Prague was not an issue for me as a vegetarian — it’ a big city and there are several tasty places. Added to that, Prague has a good number of ethnic restaurants. This is often the case in the world’s capital cities, and it’s usually easy to find Chinese, Indian, Thai. And while this makes a good choice for dinner, sticking to the ethnic restaurants would have made me miss the Czech Republic’s delicious dumplings craze.

Once I left Prague, I faced food issues in Český Krumlov, which made me start to research more and get creative on my food choices. Like much of Eastern Europe, traditional Czech food includes a lot of meat. The daily specials in town? Always meat. And those lovely pastries in the windows? They also have meat inside. I had to double down on talking with the locals, because otherwise, what’s a hungry girl to do?

It’s in these conversations that I learned that a few traditional Czech dishes don’t involve meat. They both happen to be desserts, however. What a shame, right? It was a hardship to sample the Czech treats every day, but in the name of research I set out on a task to try all the fruit dumplings and trdelníks that I could find.

Traditional Czech Desserts

Dumplings are a specialty of this whole region, not just in the Czech Republic. Slovenia offered up specialty dumplings as well, and I definitely sampled those during my time. But it has to be said, I far prefer the Czech Republic’s take on the traditional dumpling. They make several types, but the fruit dumplings are served with just the right amount of tart to counteract the sweet sugar and the pat of butter topping most traditional servings of the dish.

Locals often eat the dumplings as a meal, or in a sit-down restaurant, but other desserts are eaten as a snack. Most namely, the Trdelník. This was an easy way to much on a sweet treat in the afternoons as I wandered the city. Let’s take a closer look at each dessert. At the end I will also share links to recipes and cookbooks if you’re looking to make these in your home!

Sweet Fruit Dumplings

The dessert dumplings come in a variety of sizes. They might be served as tennis ball sized mounds of warm jam-stuffed deliciousness. And sometimes they come out as smaller, cumquat sized balls filled with gushy blueberry oozing out. Traditionally, the Czech use a potato or curd that cooks up doughy and soft. Inside of these potato dumplings, the most traditional fillings are plum and peach.

The best part of these sweet treats? They’re served with a generous dollop of melted butter over the top, heaps of whipped cream, and then sprinkled with crumbled cheese and/or sugar. It’s a bit decadent, but the flavors all blend really well together!

Ovocné Knedlíky dessert

My nightly plate full of Ovocné Knedlíky, often eaten as a meal by the locals. But, for me, it was a bit too sweet to eat as a full meal so I always saved room and ate the Ovocné Knedlíky after my meal.

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 sliced wheat and potato dumplings are quite traditional and worth a try. For me, I tried them just once, but they aren’t objectionable in any way, just a bit bland. They eat these as a side with their meaty-tastic dishes that I avoided like the plague. If you are a meat-eater, these savory bread dumplings are often served in the same way that a North American dish might have a side of bread.

Trdelník

Trdlenik Cinnamon Dessert

A delicious Trdlenik cinnamon dessert served out of a window.

This tasty 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.

Street-Side Trdelníks in Český Krumlov.

Street-Side Trdelníks in Český Krumlov.

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 treats are made from rolled dough and then grilled on a stick and coated with both sugar. You can also add an extra topping from their list. The most popular addition, and the only option they offered most days, is cinnamon. The limited choice was fine by me though as I have a love affair with cinnamon. If you’re partial to other flavors then you’ll have to arrive earlier in the day before they sell out.

These desserts are hollow and you can wear them like a bracelet as you eat them — just like those day from childhood when we gnawed on candy necklaces. It’s not the classiest way to eat a trdelník but it made it a bit more fun and interesting!

Czech cuisine may not be particularly ideal for most vegetarians, but at the end of the day I was more than willing to fill up any empty space in my belly with the tasty traditional Czech desserts. Between the sweet treats and Laibon, a wonderful vegetarian restaurant in Český Krumlov, I ate well. Laibon comes highly recommended. It’s set right on the side of the Vltava river and serves amazingly nuanced vegetarian food.

Enjoy Czech Cuisine at Home!

, , , , , , , ,


  • OK, that food looks amazing! So rich and creamy. Yum

  • The deserts look great – a good way to keep the hunger away!

  • I think it’s the butter that does it for me! It’s so apologetically unhealthy…I was like, what the heck, you only live once right :-)

  • What about any Honey Cake? I hear that is good stuff. Where did you wind up eating in Prague?

  • ShannonOD

    Oh, man, how did I miss those!? That will give me something to seek out when I go back. In Prague I ended up locating a couple of vegetarian restaurants online and just ate there, besides the dinner dumplings, I didn't branch much into Czech cuisine – too meaty! :-)

  • What about any Honey Cake? I hear that is good stuff. Where did you wind up eating in Prague?

    • ShannonOD

      Oh, man, how did I miss those!? That will give me something to seek out when I go back. In Prague I ended up locating a couple of vegetarian restaurants online and just ate there, besides the dinner dumplings, I didn't branch much into Czech cuisine – too meaty! :-)

      • Lehka Hlava was that one of the places? Yes from my readings before I venture there myself it seems very meat and potatoes type of place. I'm just worried more some of the reports I've read about the service and servers.

        • ShannonOD

          I think it might be! Not entirely sure though, I didn't write down any names unfortunately for while I was visiting Prague. Laibon in Cesky Krumlov was amazing through and through though… As for food, the culture in that part of the world is just incredibly meat-oriented, I was really surprised. I don't think that you have to be too worried about service – I mean, it's definitely not the same as the US at all, but no where in Europe is, the serving culture is different. They're normally not quite as fast, but they always come at some point! :-)

          • I wasn't so much thinking about slow/fast as compared to attitude and padding bills ;-)

          • ShannonOD

            Ah hah!! Ok, we're on the same page now! Attitude is definitely an issue, it's just not the same as service in the States. But padding the bills was never much of a problem :-)

          • How did you handle it? The service or any rough encounters.. Safe journeys.

          • ShannonOD

            Well, you don't have to tip much in most cases, so I contented myself with that! It's really not all that bad, I promise :-) Safe travels to you as well when you make it over!

  • Lehka Hlava was that one of the places? Yes from my readings before I venture there myself it seems very meat and potatoes type of place. I'm just worried more some of the reports I've read about the service and servers.

  • ShannonOD

    I think it might be! Not entirely sure though, I didn't write down any names unfortunately for while I was visiting Prague. Laibon in Cesky Krumlov was amazing through and through though… As for food, the culture in that part of the world is just incredibly meat-oriented, I was really surprised. I don't think that you have to be too worried about service – I mean, it's definitely not the same as the US at all, but no where in Europe is, the serving culture is different. They're normally not quite as fast, but they always come at some point! :-)

  • I wasn't so much thinking about slow/fast as compared to attitude and padding bills ;-)

  • ShannonOD

    Ah hah!! Ok, we're on the same page now! Attitude is definitely an issue, it's just not the same as service in the States. But padding the bills was never much of a problem :-)

  • How did you handle it? The service or any rough encounters.. Safe journeys.

  • ShannonOD

    Well, you don't have to tip much in most cases, so I contented myself with that! It's really not all that bad, I promise :-) Safe travels to you as well when you make it over!

  • Pingback: Traditional Czech Sweet Fruit Dumplings()