Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Festival of Jewish Culture and the Jewish Quarter in Kraków

The extremely hot weather has been paralyzing us since a couple of weeks. I am not in the mood to cook and bake; the temperature in our apartment is not much lower than in a sauna. We even went to some shops to buy a cheaper air conditioner, to no avail. Everything was sold out!

The twentieth International Festival of Jewish Culture took place here in Kraków at the beginning of the month. This is one of the largest and most important festivals of that kind in the World; I attend some of its events every year (it always takes place in the summer by the end of June or the beginning of July). The festival has been traditionally organized in the old Jewish quarter of Kraków - Kazimierz. This quarter was founded in the 14th century and, until the beginning of the 19th century was a separate city. Its north-eastern part was Jewish.

During the Second World War the whole Jewish community, amounting to around 45 thousand people, was transported by German Nazis to a ghetto created for that purpose on the other side of Wisła river (in an industrial quarter - Podgórze, before being murdered in German Nazis concentration camps, constructed by them on the territories of occupied Poland.

Very few of them who survived were saved, for example, by Oskar Schindler. Some eye witnesses (like, for example, Leopold Pfefferberg  – one of the “Schindler Jews” who survived Holocaust) disclosed this story to the world. The writer Thomas Keneally, published it as “Shindler’s Ark”, known in the U.S. under “the Schindler’s list”). Later the story of Schindler’s Jews was adapted in a movie by Steven Spielberg, which was shot here in Kraków at the beginning of the nineties (I remember how big an event it was – all of my friends wanted to be hired as background extras; and so did I, but I was not accepted). Those Jews who survived, like Poldek, moved to Israel or to other parts of the World after the Holocaust. Poldek landed in the U.S. and I met him personally, thanks to my father, at the beginning of the nineties (first, on a set of the Spielberg’s movie, and then in California as far as I remember). Still, his Polish, after over 40 years, was excellent. A few years ago this factory was converted into a museum.

Many monuments of Jewish culture had been devastated during that time, but fortunately, quite a lot of them survived, like old synagogues (some of them had to be reconstructed) and two Jewish cemeteries. Unlike Warsaw, Gdańsk and Wrocław, Kraków avoided bombings. The city and its architecture survived that war nearly untouched. With the arrival of the communist era, the empty Jewish quarter was one of the most dangerous and abandoned neighbourhoods, where poor people, low in the social ladder, often with criminal records had settled in. This neighbourhood was depressing. Many ruined buildings, sad shanties and suspicious individuals were everything one could find there. Most buildings were not repaired after the war devastation and became empty shells.

Only after 1989 it started, little by little, to come back to life, mostly thanks to the Festival of Jewish Culture, Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s list”, the opening of galleries, small museums, hotels and hostels, Jewish bookstores, pubs and restaurants serving Jewish food from this part of Europe, and so on. The social structure changed too, and now it is one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in Kraków. However, many problems pertaining to the ownership of some properties remain unresolved and it explains why one can see ruins between renovated buildings. Even though, empty Kazimierz changed into a touristy area. One huge void remains: its missing inhabitants…(the religious Jewish community of Kraków amounts to about 200 people).

Coming back to the Festival….one can find the following words on the Festival’s web page:
”Shaped by outstanding figures in various fields of Jewish culture and art, the Festival became over time a place where Jews and non-Jews from all over the world could meet. For over a week, Kazimierz resounds with synagogue song, klezmer music, and Hasidic, classical, and Jewish folk music. There are films, performances, presentations, and exhibitions to see and stories told by the Jews about their culture to listen to. In its present form, the Festival not only introduces the living Jewish tradition to a wide audience, but also offers a share of the joy in creating that tradition. Workshops in Hasidic dance and song, klezmology, Hebrew calligraphy, Jewish paper cutting and cooking, conducted by people from both Ashkenazy and Sephardic culture, attract numerous learners. Every year, the Festival puts on over 100 events featuring dozens of performers and thousands of participants from all over the world. During the most recent Festival, 13,000 people attended "Shalom on ulica Szeroka," the grand finale concert. The number of Festival guests grows from year to year, and television coverage brings the Festival to viewers across Poland and Europe and around the world… The Festival is a span of the symbolic bridge where Poles and Jews meet to strengthen the process of understanding and reconciliation…”
Well, should you ever want to visit Kraków, try to plan your trip around the end of June, to be able to join some events of the Festival, in particular some good concerts and exhibitions, as well as the final concert on Szeroka Street (however, be prepared to join a crowd of dancing people). This year, exceptionally I did not attend the concert, as I could not leave my daughter. However, I visited it so many times, and always had a great time, with my father and his friends.

There was one disappointing event though – a culinary workshop, done by Hanna Kossowska, an artist and a Mashgiach (a person supervising kashrut status of kosher food in the Jewish Community of Warsaw). She is supposed to be a great cook and she has a remarkable knowledge about kosher cooking.  She can introduce you to Jewish cooking with passion and engagement. What a pity that her speech was in Polish while most of the festival’s events are held in English. That is not the only thing that was badly organized. The classes were passive, in form of traditional lectures (some recipes were given at the end). A poor tasting of two dishes prepared by cooks from the kosher kitchen in Hotel Eden on Ciemna street, was far not enough. Furthermore, the “lecturer” was in a hurry and it was nearly impossible to ask her any question. She was not able to recommend any good Jewish cook book, not because she did not know about them, but because she was just in a rush to leave. All in all, I found out some interesting information about traditions and food preparations for Jewish traditional holidays, but I was disappointed by the presentation of the workshop itself. Moreover, when I visited the only food store in Kraków selling kosher products imported from Israel (I wanted to buy some kosher flour), it was closed because products did not arrive on time….

Nevertheless, it is always possible to try Ashkenazi dishes, which are served in several restaurants serving Jewish food. 
Two of them, which I know, serve good non-kosher Jewish food. The Klezmer hois at Szeroka Street is a calm guest house with a restaurant serving traditional dishes. On a regular basis, they organize concerts of klezmer music, too. One of their armchairs is often occupied by the oldest and probably the most popular klezmer composer Leopold Kozłowski, called the “last Galician klezmer”. This man – who is a history by himself, survived the Holocaust and stayed in Poland after II World War, and still gives some concerts. You can eat at Alef, now located on St. Agnieszka Street. Both restaurants serve traditional goose pipkes, gefilte fish, Jewish caviar, Jewish style Carp, Choulent, Broth with Kreplach, Kugel, and Pascha dessert.

As regards kosher food - as far as I know, there is only one kosher restaurant in Kraków located in hotel Eden, on Ciemna Street (the result is that hundreds of orthodox Jews visiting Kraków during the Festival, bring their own kosher food for the whole week). The second place for enthusiasts of kosher food is the Jewish Community Centre of Krakow on Miodowa Street (a Jewish cultural and educational centre that was created in 2008 and was opened by The Prince of Wales). Once per week they organize Shabbat dinners with kosher food (reservations are required in advance).

On Jozefa Street, you can visit Cheder Café, serving genuine Israeli style coffee (brewed and served in brass fijians with cardamom, cinnamon and other spices). They also sell Moroccan and Israeli style tea, with fresh mint leaves and brown sugar which can accompany their fresh sweet buns and cakes. Except for that - wines from Lebanon and Israel, Chile and Spain. Film screenings and concerts take place there, too.

And if you wish a bit of Paris, go to Les Couleurs Café, on Estery Street. I always take my husband there, when he misses his posh 6th arrondissement. So, if you need a shot of Rive Gauche, and couldn't find it in Paris, then you might just find what you were looking for in this cafe in the old Jewish market square of Kazimierz - with walls covered from floor to ceiling with posters of French movies, and copies of Le Monde and Paris Match lying around for you to read.   French style breakfasts and coffee starts at 7 o'clock in the morning. The owners of the place also conduct their small B&B on the first floor.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

About One Calm Weekend and Two Salads with Our Local Cheeses

I spent a nice weekend in a fantastic place last week. If you think that I went to Rome or Barcelona and spent hundreds of Euros at fancy restaurants, you are completely wrong. Actually, I only went 75 km away from Kraków, to reload my batteries in a peaceful place. Some friends of my family's, Ela and Adam, decided a few years ago to escape from the city and to spend the rest of their lives conducting a small "chambre d’hôtes" in Koninki, a village close to Gorce National Park
The village itself, although surrounded by low mountains and forests, like thousands of other Polish villages, is full of architectural mess. Amongst simple and nice houses in local, rustic style, one can find some ugly constructions built without any sense of architectural order. Some of them are not even finished (people live on the ground floor and the other floors are not completed). But, well it is mostly a heritage of the previous era, like in every ex-communist country.

Ela and Adam's house is one example of how a house and its environment can create an harmony with nature. Their property is remote from the village and is surrounded not only by a forest, but by a small river as well.

The owners are warm people, who spoil their guests with homemade food and one can notice straight away their engagement for this piece of land. They like what they do and they found a sense to their existence living there. Ela and Adam not only renovated the old wooden house and created a small, but charming garden; they also collected hundreds of regional and artisanal gadgets and sculptures. On the other hand if you wish to take a bath in a Jacuzzi, it is not a problem at all – Ela and Adam installed one.

This reminds me of my holidays in the Podhale region. Usually, in the eighties, houses in villages did not have running water. Baths were taken in a metal tub or in the river. Often, iron beds did not have mattresses, but instead just a padding filled with hay. We did not have any civilized WC, too. Instead, one was going to fix his or her physiological needs in a wooden privy. Even toilet paper in the crisis of the eighties was a crucial problem and that’s why one could always find old newspapers cut into pieces and hanging on a nail in the privy. We did not have TV (even if we did, the quality of the network was awfully bad and there were only two state-owned channels at that time). Milking the cow from time to time, helping owners to collect hay in the fields, picking up mushrooms or forest fruits, sitting by the river and constructing stone dams, or just going on an escapade to the Tatra Mountains were amongst my daily attractions. If it was raining, we could play cards for the whole day (I knew tons of card games at that time).

Coming back to Ela and Adam. Ela is a specialist in homemade preserves, both savory and sweet. She makes tons of confitures, jams and juices from ecological fruits. She knows where to buy the best strawberries, gooseberries and other seasonal fruits in the neighborhood. In the season, she collects bilberries and mushrooms. And she cooks lunches for the guests.

Her husband, Adam, bakes bread and bread rolls from scratch (he mills grains to obtain his own flour).  He makes his own charcuterie, too (unfortunately, he made it only when I left – I hope I can watch the process the next time I will visit them). He has a habit to spoil children by picking up some wild strawberries in the morning and serving them on a blade of grass as an accompaniment to breakfast.

On Saturday, we also visited a tiny wooden shepherd’s house nearby in the mountains, to order some authentic local cheeses, made from the sheep milk produced by his 400 animals.

I already was mentioning to you two of local cheeses from the south of Poland - oscypek and bryndza.
The third one, called bundz (or bunc), is made in the south of Poland as well. It is rather difficult to buy it in the other regions of Poland (still, the production is small and distribution is badly organized).
Authentic bundz should be made only from sheep’s milk between May and October (some say the best comes only in May). The shape resembles a round meat loaf of bread. Fresh cheese has a sweet and delicate taste. I dare to say that cut into thin slices and served with some fresh herbs, ripe tomatoes and a good olive oil constitutes an alternative to Italian caprese, which here, in Poland usually is served from industrially made gummy and chewy mozzarella.  The first phase of the production of bundz resembles the production of oscypek - unpasteurized sheep's milk with the addition of rennet turns into a kind of curd – and takes about 24 hours.

The cheese is available in some shops in Kraków and on food markets, like Kleparz. It is sold by farmers coming from the Podhale region. The cheese found at those food markets is not 100 percent made from sheep’s milk, that’s for sure, and that is mostly why you can get it all year round. They use cow’s milk instead, sometimes less, sometimes more, but even amongst those one can find quite good ones. Two weeks ago, when I visited the food market where the cheese is sold, I bought 4 types of it: a freshly squeezed one, which was quite sweet in taste; an older salty one; a spicy one and a smoked one. 

Should you visit Kraków one day, try to find this cheese. In the season, it is served in some restaurants or on food markets (the best place to buy it is straight from farmers on Kleparz – a food market operating every day except on Sundays, in the center of the city).
I made several salads and starters using bundz, which I present today. You can try to replace this cheese by your favorite one.

Salad with Smoked Bundz Cheese, Fava Beans, Green Peas, Spinach and Chanterelles

Makes 1 big lunch salad

4 thin slices of fresh bundz cheese (around 100 g) – depending on its size
A handful of fava beans
A handful of green peas
A handful of baby spinach
100 g chanterelles
1 tablespoon butter
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
½ onion or one small shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped scallions or fresh thyme

Firstly, cook both fava beans and peas al dente separately, in salted boiling water. Strain the vegetables and mix them in a bowl (peel the fava beans first).
Wash the baby spinach and drain them in a salad spinner or with a paper towel and add them into the bowl with fava beans and peas.
In the meantime, start preparing the chanterelles. Delicately clean the mushrooms from leftovers of the forest. Scratch the stems to remove soil. Rinse the mushrooms delicately under cold water. Cut some mushrooms in halves, should some of them be too big.  They all should be about the same size, so they will fry evenly. In a hot frying pan, melt butter, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add onions and cook on a medium flame for 10 minutes. After 5 minutes, add garlic. Mix occasionally and do not let the onion and garlic burn. Add the mushrooms into the frying pan and sauter them on a medium flame until they release their juices and absorb them back in.
Salt and pepper generously at the end. Pour hot mushrooms into the bowl with vegetables. Mix everything (the spinach should soften a bit). Add 2 tablespoons or more of olive oil, scallions or thyme and adjust to taste, if necessary.
Put some slices bundz on the bottom of the plate and place the warm salad on top of it.

Salad with Fresh Bundz Cheese, Strawberries, Pepper Mint in Balsamic – Strawberry Dressing

Serves 1

4 thin slices of fresh bundz cheese (around 100 g) – depending on its size
100 g strawberries, washed and cut into slices
A few nice leaves of pepper mint
1 tablespoon balsamic sauce (see below)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons strawberry purée (see below)
1 tablespoon grilled and chopped walnuts (you can use hazelnuts, too)

Thick balsamic sauce
120 ml balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons flower honey
1 little spring (around 7 cm long) of fresh rosemary

Pour balsamic vinegar and rosemary into a small saucepan and cook over a low flame until it is reduced by around one third (about 10 minutes). Remove rosemary, add honey and cook over a low flame until the sauce thickens a bit (do not thicken it too much, because it will get completely solid once cooled down). Add a bit of freshly ground pepper.

Strawberry purée:
100 g of nice strawberries, washed
Reduce strawberries into puree. Strain through a chinois to get rid of strawberries’ seeds.

Preparation of the salad:
Put slices of cheese and strawberries onto a plate. Mix 1 tablespoon of balsamic sauce, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of strawberry puree. Add quite a lot of pepper and taste. Pour over the salad or on the bottom of the plate. Add mint. This time I served it without any green salad, but it goes really well with rucola or baby spinach.
If you do not like strawberries, you can prepare a similar dressing using raspberries or even bilberries. I made those dressings, too, and they go excellent with cheeses, nuts and green stuff.

Good luck!

Friday, July 2, 2010

An Interview with Mr Bajon - Artisan Boucher

Do you remember that a couple of weeks ago, in my brief review of "Foody Places in the 6th Arrondissement in Paris", I mentioned in a few words the great artisan butcher shop of Mr Jean-Pierre Bajon, located at 29, rue de l’Abbé Grégoire, between rue de Vaugirard and rue du Cherche-Midi. Right before leaving Paris, I had a one hour chat with him, during which he revealed some more information about this quite rare profession. I hope you will find it interesting, as this man is completely crazy about meat (probably he was born with a butcher knife in his hand).  Mr Bajon is very French: he is absolutely convinced that French meat is the best in the World. I agree that all meat products in his shop are extraordinary; but on the other hand I must defend our Polish pink-red veal, which I love a lot, and which Mr Bajon does not have such a positive opinion of. 

Mr Bajon, thank you for meeting with us in your back shop…
This is where I prepare lunch every day for my staff, and all of us have a bite together, peacefully.
It's a custom that we established because all of my colleagues live quite far away; this way, they don't have to commute at lunch time, they don't have to go to the restaurant, they just stay here, quietly and do whatever they want during their break. They also can watch TV if they wish. Then, at 3:30 pm, we go back to work. I live on the second floor (there is a staircase that connects directly to his apartment). So, go ahead, ask all the questions you wish!

Were you always here, in this shop?
I arrived here in 1982. When I revived this business which was bankrupt – it had completely gone down – I instantly liked this neighbourhood; it was quiet and business picked-up right away. So I stayed in this shop and 10 years later, I realized that I had built a reputation and thought it pointless to move anywhere else. It made more sense to remain here, and to pursue my career in this place that I liked so much. I did not find it necessary to change something that was working really well.
Further, my children were really young at that time and it was important for me to see them at lunch time. It was like in the old days, in an old fashioned butcher shop. This was especially important to me.
In fact, I feel that today my career rather is behind me (I will turn 56 soon) and I like it a lot here. It still is a small family butcher shop, like in a village although we are located in the heart of Paris. It's very friendly and we are lucky to be able to do a good job. The quality of the meat is outstanding and we provide a good service to our clientele. You know, what is really important is to be attentive to our customers. We are close to them, they chat with us and tell us their stories, but we are not nosy and, unlike what happens in the countryside, it does not go any further...

How did you enter this profession?
My parents were in the countryside, they were farmers, and when I was very young I already wanted to become a butcher; I always had an attraction to this profession.

In the Paris area?
No, I started in the Sarthe Region, In La Ferté-Bernard were I did my apprenticeship for 2 years. Then in 1972, I came to Paris where I did my entire career. These were really good moments of life and it is unfortunate that time flies so fast!

The quality of the meat is outstanding here; how do you choose your products and your suppliers?
At the beginning, it was quite complicated to find good products; I had to build my reputation. Nowadays, things have become much easier: breeders approach me and call me to say "I have an outstanding animal". I only accept the animal when it suits my requirements. This applies to beef, veal, lamb, pork and poultry.

Do you purchase your meat straight from the producers or do you go to Rungis?
In the past, I would go directly to the producers, but it was too complicated and it required a huge amount of work. During the past 15 years, new norms have been applied to the transportation of meat and to slaughterhouses regulations which have made getting supplies directly from the producers even more restrictive. Today, animals are first conveyed to the slaughterhouse by their breeders; they are then shipped to the Rungis central market to be sold.
I practically go to Rungis every day: on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and from time to time on Fridays as well; at least 3 or 4 times per week.
Generally, we go there for the opening of the market (we leave at 4:00 am or 4:30 am) because, should it happen that the meat that I requested does not suit me, the producer should be able to sell it there; it happens sometimes, although rarely.

Do you personally check the meat?
Yes I do, nobody does this on my behalf.

What are your selection criteria?
It's the result of experience, with the touch and the eyes.
This is something that was taught to me and that I developed on my own. I have a gift for choosing the products, for watching carefully whether the meat is sound, greasy enough and that's important because we only carry greasy meats here, no lean meats. That's the type of meat that our customers prefer and we only trim the fat off when a client specifically asks for it.

What is the origin of this meat?
I exclusively carry French meat, and I am very cautious about that, even when foreign meat can be up to 3 times cheaper that the French one, I do not buy any. And this is something very important.

Can we say that the meat you sell is natural?
Absolutely, it comes from free range, pasture-raised animals. I only carry veal from calves suckled by their own mothers, and that have always been kept in the dark.
Good veal meat comes from calves which do not see daylight because should they start grazing grass, their meat will not remain white and will turn quite pink or even slightly red. This is why there are some places in the provinces, Corsica for example, where free range calves will provide red meat, as opposed to the one we work with here, with a complete different taste. Parisians in particular, like this white meat and always ask for it.

What about your poultry? Are your chickens hormones-free? Do you carry Bresse chicken?
We sell a lot of poultry from the Bresse Region: chicken, Guineafowl and several others, and free range chicken as well, pasture-raised and well fed.
We exclusively carry free range poultry and beef.
As regards game, the season starts in September and ends in January. The hunting season lasts 3 months. In October, November and December, we sell a lot of game.

You also confection some products such as Terrines and Rillettes?
Yes, we get our supplies from a small producer of charcuterie (prepared meat products) however when he cannot provide me with the items I want, I make them myself. In that context we prepare our own rabbit rillettes, paupiettes (stuffed veal escalopes), salads and also ready-to-cook veal roasts, or "veal in pastry dough" (which consists of a nice veal roast that is flattened, we add raw ham, ground pork meat, mushrooms and reshape the roast). We make Italian Veal, Veal Roast with Sweetbread, Roast with kidneys and many other sorts of roasts.

You also carry sausages, andouillettes, hams...but do you make the ham with herbs here?
No, I get it from this producer who makes the white ham and part of my charcuterie, such as my blood sausage, my andouillettes, my sausages from Morteau, from Montbéliard, my Knackwurst (saucisses de Francfort). This charcutier does not like to be in contact with customers but he likes to work with products of good quality. He exclusively works for butchers and in the Paris area, he supplies a good 30 of them.

Is it possible to place unusual orders?
Yes we can work on any preparation you wish but we do not cook them here because we do not have the equipment and fixtures to do that. When a customer requests an Osso Buco, a Blanquette (veal stew), a Veal Roast with pistachios, a Veal Orloff, we can deliver!

Who are your customers? People from the neighbourhood? Any famous people?
Yes we see a lot of important people here and a lot of actors who, for the most part are epicures, who like to eat!
We have Jospin, we had Mitterrand, we have Arditi, Depardieu, we had Sardou... a lot of people from the entertainment business.
All these people come here early in the morning, so they are not bothered. They are attached to artisanal butcher shops like ours and they like to choose their products. Our job is particular, it's about preparing and cutting, it's artisanal.
I also have a lot of clients who come from the suburbs. About 50% of our clients live in the neighbourhood and the other 50% make the trip from the suburbs to our shop once a week, because of my reputation. They buy enough for 8 or 15 days and store the food in their freezers.

Are there lots of butcher shops like yours in Paris?
We are about 10 butchers of this quality in Paris, where you can find a total of 450 butcher shops. It is a fact that people in our neighbourhood have a higher per capita income compared to other parts of Paris. But there are lots of places in Paris and in the suburbs where people would like to have shops like ours.
There is a huge shortage in artisan butchers like us and it is unfortunate that there are not enough individuals curious enough to enter our profession which offers of real potential for success.
To become a butcher, or a charcutier for example, one needs a good level of education, and courage!
Unfortunately, it is not the case and I notice it in professional schools where I am a jury. The National Education System throws, into these manual professions, young candidates and apprentices who are failing at school. I think it is a shame! And I fight hard to change that.
However, I do not teach (in schools) because I am not patient enough for that, but I train young apprentices in my company.

How difficult is it to become an artisan butcher?
It is not difficult at all. When one enjoys working with meat I think that it is quite easy, following an apprenticeship. The most difficult part of our profession is to select the meat; this is where one needs a specific training to choose the meat carefully and you have to be cautious every day.

I am sure that you received many medals….
Yes, I received numerous medals, gold ones, bronze ones, I received a medal form the City of Paris, and another one again last year. Medals are alright but the most important thing is to remain humble, to remain the same person. Nothing should ever be taken for granted in life, except the opportunity to look at yourself in the mirror every morning and to tell yourself that you can always do better!

You had a Polish apprentice. How did you happen to hire him?
It happened that this youngster came from Poland for a traineeship and had to find a tutor or a business owner in light of spending 5 or 6 days a week in the company. This young Polish apprentice spent 1 year here with me and really enjoyed it. When he wanted to go back to Poland I told him "André* if you leave, I am not sure whether I will be able to hire you again later", and he ended up regretting that he left. He was missing his family and his country a lot. Later on, he called me to ask if he could come back to work here but my staff was full and I could not hire him again. He regretted it but we remained in good terms.  He had a good level of education and was learning really fast; he was a very good employee.
André's parents already had their business in Poland and he was quite aware about working with meat. It was therefore very interesting for him to learn about French techniques.

Have you tried Polish charcuterie? What did you think of it?
The preparations are really outstanding but we do not have the potential to sell them here because in Paris, there no demand for this type of products. What is typical with Polish charcuterie is that it is not prepared from quality pork, and you can notice this instantly. Here people prefer our good French charcuterie!

Have you ever been to Poland?
Yes I went there 5 years ago. I went to Krakow, to Auschwitz, and André took me around a part of the country. I only went there for 1 week, which is way too short; one should spend much more time to visit the country.

*Andre – Andrzej Mądry, son of Stanisław Mądry, probably the most famous slow-foody producer of “kiełbasa lisiecka” – a smoked “Lisiecka Sausage”, made from pork’s ham. The name of the sausage comes from the name of a small town close to Kraków – “Liszki”. Actually, the best and artisanal “lisiecka sausage” is made by Stanisaw Mądry a few kilometres away. This sausage won a lot of national awards and has been presented as our export product during some artisanal food festivals in Italy, Spain and Great Britain.  Mr Mądry does other good charcuterie, too (I do not agree with Mr. Bajon that we do not have any quality pork!).  Except for events such as food festivals, one can hardly find this sausage in regular trading (however, this product made by other producers is available). More about Stanisław Mądry and his son, Andre, in coming posts.
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