It's ice-cream time again!

11-06-2005

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague's ABC of Czech series in which this season we explore vocabulary related to Czech food and cuisine.

Summer is getting closer - temperatures are rising and so are sales of ice-cream. Yes, today the whole lesson will be dedicated to ice-cream which has become almost a staple in many countries. The Czech word zmrzlina is directly derived from the word mrznout - to freeze. The affectionate variety is zmrzlinka and in colloquial speech zmrzka.

In the olden days, ice-cream was sold by vendors in the streets and when such an iceman - zmrzlinář arrived at your street with his van, it was a big feast for every child. Today, ice-cream in the Czech Republic is most often sold at confectioneries - cukrárna. In the communist days, the only type of ice-cream you could get in a cone was whipped ice-cream točená zmrzlina v kornoutku. The scooped variety - kopečková zmrzlina - reappeared only recently.

If you want to give yourself a real treat, then the right thing is zmrzlinový pohár se šlehačkou, literally an "ice cream cup with whipped cream" - a sundae.

Another popular variety is ice-cream on a stick. The most common Czech word for that is nanuk also the word for an iced lolly. Originally it was a brand name inspired by the 1922 US-French film "Nanook of the North" but over time it has become a generic term. As was the case with another brand name - eskymo. It's possible that it was inspired by the US brand name Eskimo Pie. An idiomatic expression, still used mainly by the older generation is cuc na kládě v čokoládě. Please, don't ask me to translate that one...

And we leave you with that for this week - the Czech word zmrzlina is enough of a tongue-twister on its own, especially if you try to pronounce it with your mouth full of cold ice-cream. So till next time, dobrou chuť, bon appetit!

11-06-2005