Mention Prague, immediately the word conjures visions of gorgeous baroque facades, art-deco interiors, Bohemian-designed and crafted crystal glasses, then think food.......did you draw a blank or did a solitary pile of German bratwurst appear?
Let try again, this time with a clue, P for Prague.......Potato.....Pork....Pickles. standard staple, not worth writing home about. Therefore after 4 years of regular visits to this lovely town, I decided that there must be more to Bohemian cuisine than meet eye.
Help appeared in the shape a wonderful guide, Michal Van Der Laan, who made sense of the historic core of Prague: four towns,defined in the 14th century and the inner districts densely built in the 19th-early 20th century, the lot giving the impression of a Venetian maze.
Personally, I often start planning a visit staring at a map, here Vinohrady is a no brainer. Though vineyards were in existence, beer is the drink of choice in Bohemia. Statistically Czechs detain the world beer drinking golden tankard, it used to be 160 litres of beer per inhabitant per year, recently dropped down to 145 litres or 1 beer every day per Czech. With beer goes heavier food.
Following the beer trail in Prague is easy and it will unavoidably lead you to a group of ancient streets which all bare the name of past master brewers. "The cathedral" is the smallest brewery in Prague U Fleku still brewing since 1499.
This proud brewery is also a restaurant and after an enjoyable guided tour, it was time to tuck in. This establishment offers another P which you will be hard pushrd to find in Prague. Prices. Lunch is the main meal so between 12 and 15 you will be able to find offers.
You will find that a lot of the restaurants are located in converted cellars previously used for storage. Italian cuisine has started to be fashionable as it offers more vegetables, let's face it cabbage is a must in Czech cuisine. With time, Bohemia is driven towards a lighter diet. River sish, such as carp, a home-cook favorite is making an apparition on restaurants menu.
But you can't really imagine the culinary traditions changing, fast dumplings are a big favourite, use to swipe away the sauce of various dishes such as beef in cream or as eaten as a sweet with sugar. In the words of Miguel, "People like dumplings very much."
All my gratitude to the staff at the Czech Tourism Office who organised my stay so that I could make the most of my visit.