August is the month food enthusiasts like to visit Poland. Many Polish towns will be organising delicious food festivals, tempting visitors with traditional and local dishes and even nouvelle cuisine.
Polish people like to cook, but they love to feast. The many culinary festivals, which offer cooking workshops and food shows recall that tradition. Most of them take place in some of the most beautiful corners of Poland. Thus, tasting Polish delicacies in picturesque landscape parks or historical cities is a treat not only for food lovers, but also for nature and architecture enthusiasts.
"Food festivals and culinary events that celebrate local specialities have recently become a very popular form of regional promotion. When we were organising the first edition of the National Good Taste Festival ten years ago, we had to explain what the event was about by citing similar actions in France, Italy or Spain, where almost every town celebrates a local cheese day, wine fest or other culinary fêtes at least once a year," Wojtek Lewandowski, the Producer of the National Good Taste Festival in Poznań, tells Polska.pl. "When we meet people from across our western border at the festival, they often tell us how surprised they were to learn about the rich history of Poland's cuisine and its diversity, which they had no idea existed," adds Lewandowski.
Slow Food in Wigry National Park – 7-9 August
The festival promotes "conscious" cooking. What matters is quality, not the speed of preparation. During group cooking, participants get to know different traditions and customs, while trying out regional cuisines of Swalszczyzna (Suwałki Region), Kresy (Eastern Borderlands) and the traditional cuisine of the Tatars. They learn how to bake bread and make sękacz (a “tree” cake), what herbs to collect and what goes into an excellent nalewka (traditional Polish alcoholic beverage, similar to a medicinal tincture). These scrumptious meals will be registered during Culinary Photography Workshops.
6th European Fair of Regional Products – 12-16 August
Around 200 exhibitors from a dozen or so countries are going to showcase their products at this year's fair in Dolna Równia Krupowa, Zakopane. It will be a true feast for the palate and the body. Visitors will be able to taste Balkan, egg and blue cheeses, different types of honey, fish, traditional beer and wine, as well as Italian cream soups. They will also see displays of handicrafts, including leather goods, local accessories, sculptures, ceramics, embroidery, lace making, glassware and a variety of other works by regional artists, while listening to regional music bands. They will play reggae, folk, 60s and 70s music.
National Good Taste Festival in Poznań – 13-16 August
It is one of the largest culinary events in Poland. This year, over 140 exhibitors have set up their stalls at the Poznań Old Market Square. The Good Taste Fair features regional specialities from Poland and other European countries. "The National Good Taste Festival is one of the largest events of its kind in Poland. Its focus is not only on food made in Poznań or the Wielkopolska region. We want our guests to have the opportunity to go on a virtual food tour of the country’s different regions. They can try smoked fish from Masuria, cheeses from the Podhale and Suwalszczyzna, cold cuts from Podlasie or fried cheese from Wielkopolska. Apart from traditional products, we also show current food trends and we invite guests from abroad – producers and importers of wine, olive, confectionery or cheeses from many European countries," Wojtek Lewandowski, the festival's producer, tells Polska.pl.
The festival has an artistic programme, which is an additional attraction. Days are filled with culinary performances and presentations, and evenings are devoted to jazz, Georgian folk and classical music concerts. Interesting culinary competitions are planned, including the largest home-made nalewka tournament, Polish Nalewka of the Year, taste laboratories, workshops for children and adults, meetings with culinary personages and themed suppers. One of the highlights of the festival is a project called "The Table of Mieszko and Dobrawa". It consists of a number of interdisciplinary activities the aim of which is to acquaint participants with the dietary customs of people living during the first Piast dynasty and to show them how Polish cuisine and dining customs have been changed over the centuries by historic events, geographical discoveries and the day-to-day lives of the country’s inhabitants.
Polish Mutton Serving Championships – 15 August
Food lovers should visit the main square in Ustroń during the Mutton Festival. The event is linked to the International Polish Mutton Serving Championships organised as part of the Polish Culinary Cup, the country’s most prestigious competition. The aim of the event is to choose the chefs who best prepare and serve mutton and lamb dishes. Apart from tasting refined dishes, the guests also have the opportunity to watch sheep shearing and dance to the music of highland bands.
Festival of Taste in Gruczno – 22-23 August
The most awe-inspiring sites of Gruczno, Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship, are: a natural reserve called "Ostnicowe Parowy Gruczna", a historical mill dating from 1888, and an open-air beehive museum. Visitors are invited to see a collection of old species and grain varieties and the only collection of old tree trunks in the region.
The Festival of Taste in Gruczno promotes the culinary richness and culture, including unique handicrafts, of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship regions: the Lower Vistula Valley, Kociewie, the Chełmno Lake District, Krajna and Kuyavia.
The programme of the two-day event is always full. It includes artistic performances, concerts and culinary competitions, such as, The Taste of the Year, Honey of the Year or Nalewka Tournament, at which the best traditional products are awarded special prizes.