Photo credit: www.dvo.com. (Not on the tour but a classic Polish dish)
My fourth visit to Poland took me on an exciting new adventure that I concocted in my mind during a history lesson at Ards Tech in Northern Ireland. You see, I remembered the “Free city of Danzig” (once an autonomous region protected by the League of Nations), it wasn’t part of Poland, it wasn’t part of Germany and it wasn’t part of Russia from 1920 – 1939. It was its own wee off the wall micronation if you like. Here, in 2016 however, the city, now called Gdansk is of course part of Poland and the country’s main seaport. It also is home to some great food delicacies!
It wasn’t the history of Gdansk and touring the sights that left me hanging, however but the delicious Polish food. Not actually in Gdansk itself, but slightly north in Gdynia. I went on a Food Tour with Eat Polska. The tours are limited to just 6 people to make the most of the experience and get a detailed understanding of Polish food and culture. You can do the tours in Gdansk, Krakow or Warsaw. Strangely, I’ve now been to all three cities but this was my first time to team up with Eat Polska. Below are the stops we made on the tour:
We start off in the local Gdynia Market, a very local place and visit various stalls with Daniel, our guide, explaining the history of each place along the way.
In the fish section, Daniel makes us aware that seafood will be offered on many of the foodie stops.
Onion Honey Syrup, which is apparently great if you get sick.
Market Meat at Hala Targowz
Our first food stop in the market is to sample some Polish cold meat. It is a local shop with a good range of smoked, peppered and spiced meats, mostly pork. Here, we tasted Kabanosy long sausage and a type of sliced meat, which is popular in both Lithuania and Poland.
Our selection of Market Meat in Gdynia
The Cold cuts selection: kindziuk (smoked and dried pork sausage), kiełbasa myśliwska (hunter’s pork sausage with juniper), kabanos (thin, finger-shaped pork sausage), szynka (pork ham) and schab (pork tenderloin).
Gadus Fishmonger – Delikatesy Rybne
We head to another market called Gadus Delikatesy Rybne where we dive into some fish dishes. Oh so delicious – here, we taste a few balls of cod, fresh herring and a herring in a special sauce.
Two of our samples in Gadus Fishmonger: Cod meatballs, marinated herring with sour cream, onions and apple, marinated herring with chili peppers.
Stuczka (The Trick)
We then head to one of the most recommended restaurants in Gdynia, Stuczka and apparently recognized by Gault and Millau as one of the best restaurants in Poland. It’s easy to see why. Michelin Star restaurants guides have only included two Polish restaurants which are in Krakow and Warsaw, so this is the best it gets in Gdynia.
Here, our treat is three different soups. First, pickled cucumber cream with beef and natural yoghurt. Oh so yum!
Next up is Beetroot soup with Gorgonzola cheese!!
And lastly, a basic but delicious Minestrone Soup.
Polish people love their soups and is why they included three on the food tour. And this is only the warm up.
GDY 50 Boat Restaurant
We then get headed over to the harbour side part of Gdynia where we sampled fish on a fishing boat called GDY 50, which has been converted to a restaurant spanning two floors.
In true Polish style, we had vodka shots with battered fish.
We took a stroll along the harbour before heading back into the city centre while listening to interesting anecdotes and stories. Daniel backs these up with photos, including photos of Old Gdynia, which was just a tiny village back in 1920.
Touring Gdynia harbour
Cyganeria – Kawairnia Artystyczna (Artists Cafe)
Of all the venues we explored on the tour, the artists cafe was the most charming. The official name of this place is Cyganeria – Kawairnia Artystyczna, which was once famous for attracting local artists to paint, draw, write, create, produce and dream.
The interior design is exquisite and the ambiance perfect for our Fried Herring with radish, potatoes, onion, lettuce and vinaigrette.
The fried herring above and below, Pork cheek, potato, carrot, beans and onions.
Marinated and fried herring with potatoes and sour cream coated “butter” lettuce and Pork chick with potatoes and mustard seeds puree.
The cafe Delicije (Delicious) is the last point of the tour, which is an old school cafe which was also here during communist times and retains the original decor inside. We head upstairs and alas, it’s dessert time. This is a great place for sweets and coffees! Here we taste scrumptious homemade Makowi, a cake made from poppy seeds.
The tour was brilliant and gives you a great introduction into Polish cuisines and culture. If you are wondering why Pierogi and Bigos are not included on the tour, it is because they are cliched and most tourists who visit Poland will try these anyway, as I did on my previous visits to the country.