A Travellerspoint blog

Czech Republic

Food Food Glorious Food! - Central Europe (Pre-Intrepid)

Czech Republic, Vienna, Budapest


My Czech food experience began with lunch at Cestr; A Czech steak house recommended on a Prague food blog (Taste of Prague...check it out if you ever go). Cestr was amazing! They use Czech cattle and age them in-house at the restaurant for at least 72 days; you could see the meat hanging in the cooler and a butcher at work preparing your steak.

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Our waiter proudly explained that none of the animal is wasted and that they make everything in-house. We were given free appetisers of toasted fresh bread with a topside mince form of pate. I looked at these rather sceptically but they were exquisite and seasoned perfectly.


We both opted for slow cooked pieces in sauce rather than a steak. My slow cooked beef neck in a paprika sauce with sour cream hit the note. It fell apart with a fork and the sauce was mild enough it didn't take too much away from the succulent beef pieces.
Lewis had roast in a hot pepper jus. It was also deliciously soft and cooked to perfection. Our side salad and hand cut fries were equally as mouth-watering. Coming from a fries connoisseur these were tasty fries! Especially when they were dipped in the Perigord sauce. Perigord sauce I discovered when we got back to our accommodation is a dark truffle butter sauce. It tasted magical and now I know why I couldn't pinpoint the scrummy flavour while devouring the jug of it with my fries.


For dessert Lewis opted for a traditional pancake (trhanec) with cheese curd and strawberry glaze. The curd was an interesting texture (rather dry) but it actually went well with the pancake. The dish was made by the intense strawberry sauce. The jug was licked clean. I opted for the master dark beer ice-cream. This dish was a winner and was a great way to finish off an exceptional lunch. The dish started with tangy yet sweet warm poached plums halves topped with the caramel and coffee tones from the dark beer ice cream, then finally heavenly light caramel foam and crunchy malt crumbs. The combination of all the flavours was intense and like winter in your mouth. It also left a pleasant after tone of the beer on the palate after each savoured mouthful. It was a masterpiece.

The next parts of my food adventure in Prague sadly are picture-less...lets just say that hunger took over. Sorry!
We tried a traditional trdelnik that evening under the Charles Bridge. It is a sweet dough wrapped on a stick and baked over embers. I think they call them sweet chimneys in New Zealand at the markets. It was served warm, straight from the embers. The trdelnik was crunchy on the outside and slightly doughy like a warm scone in the middle. The smokiness from the fire and the sweetness from the dough was a great combination.
Our next trip was to Cafe Savoy for one of its renowned pastries. We had apple strudel with its crunchy pastry and ample apple, sultana and walnut spiced filling. It was a delicious mouthful but lacked cream on top to go with it. I also had to try a mini vetrinik (a choux pastry filled with caramel vanilla creme and with a caramel glaze). This was outstanding. The crisp shell with the sweet glaze and the cream's hint of caramel flavour was excellent. All three components came together in perfection harmony.
My final favourite in Prague was Nase Maso butchery. This place is known for its meatloaf and after trying it I now know why. We went back for more but sadly being Sunday they were closed. The meatloaf is made of 20% beef and 80% pork. Apparently this delicious meatloaf recipe came around as the three butchers had a competition when they first opened the store to see who could make the best meatloaf. ..the master chef lost and now they make this delicious work of art of one of the apprentice butchers grandmother's. The meatloaf was so moist it was succulent and again it was seasoned to perfection. It was meaty yet the subtle tastes of the herbs still had a chance to come through. The mustard that accompanied it was some of the best I have had.
We also had a hamburger while here. It came medium rare (not my usual choice but worked here). This burger was all about the meat (being at a butcher its not surprising) but the burger exceeded expectations. The meat again was seasoned perfectly and was of such a good quality. The pickles and mustard added flavour to the delicious patty. They also sell the patty as the tartare... so they gives you a pretty good indication of the quality of the meat. It was an excellent way to end our time in Prague.


Our time in Cesky Krumlov wasn't particularly about finding amazing food locations. The three places we ate at were chosen more for atmosphere than anything else. They were all delicious dishes but the thing is I could make them at home. I guess this is the kind of thing that added to the feel of Cesky as it was homely and rustic area compared to commercial and flashy like we found in Prague.



First stop in Vienna was to Hotel Sacher (the original not the Salzburg replica) for the original Sachertorte. I'm not going to lie it exceeded expectations. The cake was moist and the layer of apricot liqueur glaze was delicious, especially with the bittersweet chocolate icing. It was a magical combination in a mouthful. It was the apricot layer that exceeded expectations in regards to the torte...it really added that extra dimension to the cake as it was fruity and sweet and without this dimension the cake would have been quite boring and dull.



It was then onto dinner at Gasthaus zur Oper which is well known for their schnitzel. Sadly I was underwhelmed. The schnitzel was soft and the crumb crisp but it lacked depth and seasoning. It was bland to the point the lemon and potato salad over powered the schnitzel itself. Lewis had Tafelspitz (beef boiled in beef stock with vegetables and side condiments of egg dumplings, potatoes, horseradish and apple). This dish had a huge depth of flavour. It definitely wasn't a simple beef broth. The meat fell apart and the condiments added another dimension of taste or texture if needed to the dish. It was a highly complex yet simple sounding dish. I was envious!


Also on our walk around I found vinegars and spirits (4 different kinds) poured fresh from the barrel. I tried some of the vinegar and it was delicious, sharp but not too intense. They had a massive range and included things apple balsamic vinegar which I have never heard of before.


We discovered a love of Eitrige (cheese kransky) hot-dogs while exploring Vienna. These things were amazing! They ended up being our dinner before the Orchestra Concert as they smelt and tasted so good. Toasted bread, hot sausage with tomato sauce and ketchup. Need I say more! I have to say that they were my favourite hot dog and beat Germany in my opinion. We also had irresistible cookies ice cream. The cookies were chocolate flavoured and it had a delicious chocolate swirl. They weren't the typical Oreo flavour we have at home. The ice cream tasted home made and reminded me of custard. I could have happily have just eaten the ice cream without the cookies and the swirl it was that magnificent. (We may have gone for seconds it was that good!). The ice cream store is opposite the opera house. If you go try it! It is exceptional!

On our bike tour while in Vienna we discovered Dürnstein, a town that is in love with apricots (I swear everything was apricots in some form!) We came across apricot liqueur with apricots halves poaching and of course we had to try it. The lady explained that the apricots had been poaching for a least a couple of weeks to get the alcohol content in them. The liqueur with divine and the apricot, outstanding. It was a great start to our wine tour. The wine tour was grand. We tasted some beautiful wine as well as snuck some grapes off the wines (they were spectacular..I haven't found any in the markets as good :( ) and the bike back to catch the train was hilarious due to the amount of glasses consumed along the way.


Our time in Budapest wasn't long enough to get a full look into the tastes of Hungary (We have already decided we will be back so this isn't an issue).
We started with a quick trip to see the market before they closed. We pretty much saw the Langos and then got kicked out. It was mouth wateringly good and so delicious. Lagos is deep-fried bread (fry-bread) and in our case covered in sour-cream, cheese and tomato. It was heavenly. The bread was crunchy yet doughy and the sour cream mixed with the melting cheese. The fresh tomatoes on top cut the richness of the cream and cheese.


We stumbled across market selling more traditional food (strudel and big stews) in the city on the Sunday (our one free day). Our food was delicious! And it was great to relax with the music playing and watch the locals and tourists go past.


I discovered a shop in Budapest called The Sugar Shop. This place was a candy store to the extreme! It was a sugar overload. I was a bit lost as to what to have. The bright colours of all the food had my head spinning with what to have. I ended up choosing the Strawberry Mille-Feuille and Lewis the cookie creamed rice. Both were amazing and lived up to the gorgeous designs. The story is that one of the bakers decided that there pastries were boring so decided to liven them up. This is how the sugar shop was created. All I can say was it was delicious!


You can't go to Hungary and not eat Goulash. When I thought of Goulash I automatically thought of a stew but Goulash is more of a soup here. It was delicious and I was a big fan!. The flavours are full yet not overpowering and the paprika shines beautifully in the dish. It was never a struggle to finish a bowl for dinner as it tasted magnificent :)


The food in Central Europe had a vast array of flavours and textures. The further east we go on our trip the more that oiliness and cream seems to become a bigger part of the local cuisine. Delicious!

Posted by chellebelle 22:37 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged food budapest prague vienna cake krumlov schnitzel pastry strudel goulash cseky sachertorte Comments (0)

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