The late Václav Havel is famous around the world as a statesman and symbol of human rights and democracy. Rather less well-known is that Havel was also a very enthusiastic cook. This year many of the dissident-turned-president’s recipes were gathered in a rather delightful cookbook entitled Kančí na daňčím (Wild Boar on Venison).
Fruit trees have been a common feature in the Czech and Moravian landscape for centuries. However, in the past decades, traditional orchards and fruit tree alleys have been disappearing at an alarming rate. A Brno-based initiative, called Pecky z Moravy, or Moravian Fruit Stones, aims to reverse this trend by collecting tree seeds and planting them in the countryside.
On Friday people all around the Czech Republic began celebrating Saint Martin’s Day, which falls on November 11. According to a Czech proverb, it is the day which brings the first snow to the country. In recent years, however, the day has mostly been associated with the arrival of the season’s first wine and with the traditional feast of roast goose.
The damage by late spring frost to the Czech fruit harvest is expected to
exceed 100 million crowns, according to the head of the Association of
Czech Fruit Growers, Martin Ludvik.
The worst-hit areas are in northern and western Bohemia where farmers have lost much of their harvest. In Moravia farmers report damages due to severe hailstorms.
The annual value of the country’s fruit harvest is at around 1.3 billion crowns. In recent years farmers have repeatedly suffered losses due to spring frost or summer droughts.
Corporate catering businesses are on the rise in the Czech Republic, with more and more fast food chains and food retailers delivering their products directly to companies, the news site e15 reports. In-office catering is mainly intended for business meetings or trainings but it is also used as one of the benefits for employees. According to e15, Czech companies and institutions spend billions of crowns annually on corporate catering.
Kampot Pepper, a gourmet pepper sought after by chefs around the world, comes from Kampot province on the south coast of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Klara Dohnalova and David Pavel discovered it on their first trip to the country and soon set up a business aimed at bringing Czechs a whole new culinary experience. Their company Pepperfield offers a luxury line of black, red and white Kampot pepper that is guaranteed to spice up any dish. They came to Radio Prague’s studio to talk about their enterprise and started out by telling me what inspired them
Two Prague restaurants have reason to celebrate, having retained their Michelin one-star status in the 2018 Main Cities of Europe Michelin Guide. La Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise in Prague’s Old Town can boast holding its one-star-status for over a decade, while Field, one of the world’s least expensive Michelin-starred restaurants, has maintained it for three years in a row.
Josef Maršálek was born in a tiny Moravian village where half the residents were his direct relatives – and the nearest shop, let alone patisserie, was beyond walking distance. Yet, his early love of baking would one day lead him to become head pastry chef at the world-famous Harrod’s department store in London. Now, after a sabbatical of sorts in India, he’s back in Prague, gearing up to co-host the Czech version of the wildly popular show the Great British Bake Off.
Daniela Mauleon Davidova is one of the many Czech entrepreneurs who have decided to set up a business far from home. Her start-up, making fair trade jams in Tanzania, is not merely a business venture; it aims to improve the life of the local community by giving people a job and skills that they can make good use of in the future. Her project has received support from the Czech Development Agency. I met up with Daniela shortly before her departure for Zanzibar and began by asking why she chose for make fair trade jams.
If you visit the Czech countryside at the start of the year you are likely to receive an invitation to attend a "zabijačka" – in other words a pig-slaughter feast; a centuries old tradition that is still observed in many parts of the country. While for some it is a barbaric practice that has no place in the present-day, for others it is an important part of village folklore that brings people together.