Walkative's Krakow Food and Vodka Tour

18 Apr 2018

One thing that Poland is known for is the food. You can't even turn a corner without seeing little stalls selling zapiekanki or obwarzanek, and there's absolutely no avoiding pierogis. Those little parcels of heaven are to die for! Because J and I are huge foodies, one thing I booked before we travelled to Krakow was a food and vodka tour. We mainly did it because we wanted to get a good taste of traditional Polish foods, but also to see areas of the city that we may not have explored and learn some history whilst filling our bellies. It was absolutely brilliant and for just over £10 each, very worth the money. Keep reading to find out about what we tried!

The meeting place for the tour was pretty easy to find - just in front of the Old Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter (you can't miss it, there are tons of tour cars and bikes in front of it). We arrived early as we were told it can get quite busy, but to our surprise, there were only 5 people on our tour including us. This meant that we were all able to keep up and ask any questions, which we might not have been able to do in a crowd of 20 people.

Our first stop was for two different kinds of soup (the ones that you can see in the top photo) - the cream-coloured one was Zurek and the other was beetroot. I have always been a massive hater of beetroot, but I believe in at least trying, so I gave it a go and it was actually a lot better than I anticipated. The Zurek, however, was heaven-sent. In fact, the pair of us enjoyed it so much that we actually bought the base mixture for it from a market and made some of our own at home. It's a pickled flour soup (sounds horrible, but trust me, it's beautiful) filled with anything you like. Traditionally, it has sausage, potato, onion and boiled egg in, but you can add absolutely anything you want!
Just around the corner from the soup place, we tried three different kinds of smoked meats. For the life of me, I can't remember what two of them were, but the one I can remember, I'm keeping a secret. Our tour guide, Golden, kept it a secret from us until we had all tried it and I was slightly shocked by how delicious it was. So I'm not going to tell, just in case any prospective customers are reading! Aside from trying these meats, we learned about the most popular meat in Poland and how smoking works.
In the same area as the smoked meats, we tried two different types of cheeses - one that had the texture of Babybel crossed with mozzarella, and the other was like a solid cottage cheese. I was massively into the Babybel-like one and could have quite happily eaten more of it! We also tried a variety of dried berries, each one with a different sourness level. Much to my excitement, nobody else was into the super sour berries, so I got to eat them as we carried on walking. They were just like sour sweets. Yum!

The next course was three different types of pierogis and because I'm such a fan of those dumplings of joy, I ate them all before I could take a picture. Just know that there was one savoury, one sweet and one surprise, and all three were absolutely gorgeous. These ones were boiled, which is the traditional way of making pierogis, as opposed to the fried ones that I loved so much from the market, but they were still insanely good, particularly the surprise one. Again, Golden didn't tell us what it was until we'd had it, so I'm not spilling any secrets!
Next up, we tried two different kinds of cakes. I wish I could remember what they were called, but the cake in the top photo had a sort of bread-like texture and a chocolatey flavour, then the cake in the second photo was more like a crumbly, oaty consistency with a secret running through the middles of it. If you want a tour with lots of surprises, this is definitely the one for you! Golden definitely kept us on our toes with all of the guessing games and with this one, I just couldn't quite put my finger on it. It was very delicious, nonetheless!
Towards the end of the tour, we came to the vodka. Now, I am someone that doesn't drink on the regular, if at all. It's been years since I had straight shots of anything, so I was slightly nervous to say the least. But when in Rome... I downed the shot and scrunched up my face as the spirit hit the back of my throat. I quickly chased it down with some lard spread on crusty bread (which really isn't as disgusting as it sounds). I also gave the herring a try and was surprised to find that I enjoyed it, seeing as though I'm not a huge fan of fish. These are traditional "chasers" to have with vodka in Poland and I like the idea of that better than chasing down a shot with another alcoholic drink!
And last but not least, we tried four other vodkas for our final round. After already downing one shot, I was feeling ready to go with the next four. Each one was a different flavour and we had to guess what each of them was before the next one appeared. I didn't get any of them right, but they were all pretty good. Needless to say, I was a little bit wobbly when we were walking back to the apartment, and I couldn't stop talking about one flavour in particular.

We finished the tour with full bellies and happy faces. It felt so good to get to the know the city a little better, particularly through the medium of food. Our guide, Golden, had been so knowledgeable and helpful, which made the tour even better. It was well worth the £12 that we each paid, especially if you consider how much we ate and drank, the things we learned and the three hours that we had spent on the tour. If you're ever in Krakow, I highly recommend booking this tour, especially if you're a foodie. We got to try things that we never would have tried otherwise, so it was a fab experience!

Which of the foods included in this post do you think look or sound the yummiest?

Whould you like to comment?

  1. I've wanted to visit Krakow for the last year, but reading this makes me want to go even more! My boyfriend and I are also massive foodies, so this sounds right up our street, my mouth is already watering haha! x