Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Morning, Noon and Night

One of the differences between cultures that I find most interesting is how they approach food and meals. While Czech cuisine has certainly been influenced by other cultures – you’ll certainly see pizza and Chinese restaurants – and healthier substitutes have recently become more popular in urban areas, the country’s traditional foods remain distinct.

Before beginning a meal with Czechs, you’ll often hear them say “Dobrou chut’!,” which means "Bon appetit" or "Hope it tastes good!"

A typical Czech breakfast consists of buttered bread or kolache (those delicious fruit-filled pastries) as well as cheese, eggs, and ham and sausage. A few generations ago, it was common to have a mid-morning snack, though that practice seems to have declined in recent times.

Lunch is the most important meal of the day in the Czech Republic. It is the heaviest meal of the day and often includes soup as a starter course. A traditional Czech lunch may include dumplings, goulash, fried cheese and mushrooms, and plenty of meat. A favorite meal found among the Czech people is pork with dumplings and cabbage. It’s common for beer to be had at lunch – not surprising from a country well-known for their spirits.

Dinner is a more casual affair than lunch. A much lighter meal, it often consists of open-faced sandwiches called chlebičky or a tray of meats, cheeses and vegetables. It is, however, common for Sunday dinners to be more similar to a heavy lunch and is a way for families to spend time together.

Czechs have quite the sweet tooth, and there are sweet shops found all over the country. These shops serve coffee and tea as well as creamy marzipan, luscious cakes, and palačinky (crepe-style pancakes.) As lunch is such a filling meal, desserts are often eaten in the late afternoon or after a light dinner.

-Heather Tinley, Opera Colorado Marketing Coordinator

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