Participants of the latest Sokołów Academy of Taste workshops had a chance to do some culinary “time travelling”. The meeting was devoted to Christmas dishes prepared in the Old Polish style. The special guest was Maciej Nowicki — head chef at the Wilanów King John III Sobieski’s Palace Museum.
The Suchożebry Manor — seat of the Sokołów Academy of Taste — was a perfect scenery for a meeting devoted to the old Polish culinary traditions. Unique Christmas ornaments have put guests in the Christmas mood.
The meeting was led by Maciej Nowicki, whose life revolves around culinary reconstructions and replications of the recipes from the first Polish cook books. He has convinced the workshop participants how wrong is the belief about the simplicity and the monotony of Old Polish cuisine. The old recipes feature very refined combinations of tastes. The dishes were prepared from many products, diverse ingredients and spices that are usually not associated with the traditional Polish cuisine, such as saffron, anise or basil. Workshop participants could learn all this first hand, by going through old cook books, including Antoni Teslar’s “Polish-French Cuisine” or Grażyna Szelągowska’s “Kitchen with a Pedigree”.
During our workshops, we are trying to present a new and interesting approach to cooking and quality of life in general – says Aleksandra Chalimoniuk, Sokołów S.A. PR and Communication Director. – During Christmas, we are slowing down the pace, have more time for ourselves and those closest to us. It’s a perfect opportunity to celebrate a common meal, to catch a moment of breath in our busy daily lives and to rediscover the richness of tastes — including those a bit forgotten, traditional.
Maciej Nowicki stressed that the Polish Christmas Eve tradition of preparing 12 dishes is unique in the world, and that Christmas was not just a religious holiday but a culinary too. The kitchens of the old Poland featured wild game and birds (quails, pheasants, and guinea fowl), and because Christmas happened in the time of year when food stocks were not so rich any more, a very popular thing was to use offal. There were many dishes unique to just one region, unknown in other parts of the land.
The practical part of the workshops was supported by Dominik Moskalenko — the Sokołow chef. The participants have prepared unique dishes. One of them was beef with smoked pork fat, Brussels sprouts and fjut (a thick beet syrup entered on the list of traditional products). The menu also featured szablok — a regional dish from Kujawy — which is a soup with beans and sauerkraut, served with Konigsberg meatballs. The participants were very interested in preparing the main dish — black pudding wrapped in pork caul, baked and served with rowanberries and mashed potatoes. The culmination was the dessert in form of Chestnuts in maraschino on semolina pudding with apple zefirki.
Workshop participants — culinary bloggers — got a chance to learn that old recipes can be perfectly adapted to modern times, and used to prepare dishes that will lend class to Christmas meetings around the table.