Without doubt, Poland is a country respected for its good food. Today, in every city or town, there is a well developed network of food service establishments such as restaurants, cafes, snack bars and taverns as well as the outlets of the huge international fast-food chains like McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King and Pizza Hut. Along the many communication routes there are numerous road-side establishments for travellers to stop for a rest and a bite to eat. Apart from the restaurants that serve traditional Polish cuisine there are now a large variety of foods available from other nations. All food outlets tend to remain open till quite late but prices vary according to the standard of the establishment (restaurant or snack bar), location (prices are higher in busy, built-up areas than in smaller rural communities) and type of service (waiter or self service).
Liquors and drinks
Polish vodka, not without reason, enjoys international respect. In Poland it has also earned the prestige of having its own museum. The exceptional Museum of Distillery in Lancut stands next to one of the most modern distilleries in the country.
For many years Poland has competed with Russia as to the first origins of this “Fire Water”, as the first document in which the term “vodka” appears dates back to 1405.
Brands like Belvedere, Chopin, Luksusowa and BialaDama are the purest and the best distilled elites but not without sin and worth mentioning are other Polish vodkas like Goldwasser, Krzesk, Starka, ZoladkowaGorzka, JarzebiakIzdebnicki or Zubrowka, which can be drunk with either apple or pear juice or can also be served with a piece of fresh cucumber (a cocktail launched by the Mleczarnia Club in Wroclaw). Home-made liqueurs and meads are becoming more increasingly popular.
Poles are devotees of the most efficient and the most effective way of drinking vodka – in shots. The most famous the “Mad Dog”, made up of a measure of vodka with some raspberry juice and a few drops of Tabasco, originates from Szczecin.
Although famous for its strong spirits, Poles consume the weaker ones on a daily basis. The oldest Polish brewery in LwowekSlaski has been producing a unique un-pasteurised hop drink continuously since 1209. True beer-lovers also appreciate the unique beers which are produced and only available locally, by regional breweries like Noteckie, Brackie, Zywe, Rycerz or Ciechan. In several cities, including Wroclaw, there are several urban mini breweries which only supply the local community.
Poland also has some wineries. The traditions of vine growing in Zielona Gora can be traced back to the 13th century and visitors can become familiar with its effects at the annual Winobranie Festival (Wine Harvest) in September. The city also possesses the only wine museum in Poland.