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Prague chefs honour February with pork feasts

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Cooked pig's head can be found on the menu of Prague's Municipal house restaurant. (COURTESY)Cooked pig’s head can be found on the menu of Prague’s Municipal house restaurant. (COURTESY)

The plate on the table is steaming, the soup known as prdelačka [soup made of hog blood] is filling the vaults of the Municipal house’s restaurant with the smell of garlic. The luxury reastaurant in the centre of Prague is one of several restaurants that have decided to liven up their winter menus with dishes inspired by the traditional pork feast common in the country.

This week chef Ladislav Jiras’s kitchen is dispatching, besides the traditional pork feast soup, also for example cooked pig’s head or white and black pudding with lepenice [mashed potatoes with sauerkraut, onions and marjoram] and sauerkraut.

“This menu attracts mainly Czech guests. Foreigners don’t know the tradition of pork feasts,” Petra Lejsková from the Municipal house said.

Pork scratchings in Pařížská

Delicacies that are processed during pork feasts and that used to be available only in the country have this year found their way also to many renowned Prague restaurants.

In the Prague hotel Troja the whole month of February will be in the spirit of pork feast. They have adapted the traditional dishes to modern trends. Potato pancakes with pork scratchings have been accompanied by pork skewers, while white garlic soup with cooked pork meat can warm you up.

Traditional Czech specialties will be also available at the Prague Intercontinental in the coming days. The Masopust festivity will take place in front of the hotel in Pařížská street.

Besides the aroma of various sausages, such as jelito [made of minced pork meat and blood] or jitrnice [made of minced pork meat] or potato pancakes with pork scratchings, the music of the band Šlapeto will also be wafting through the air on 15 February.

Masquerade brunch

The pork feast at the Intercontinental is part of the Bohemian Carnevale festival, which follows the tradition of Masopust feasts that used to take place in Czech towns in the past.

Organisers have prepared a 12-day programme, part of which will be a carnival ball, family masquerade brunch in Žofín, as wella s a parade of allegorical prams and other amusements.

Between 13 and 24 February, selected Prague restaurants will be serving “carnival menus”.

For example the restaurant Bellevue, which is also participating in the festival, will be serving a degustation farm menu also on non-festival days consisting of tlačenka from pork rump [a variety of brawn] softened with parsley and cheese dressing with chives.

Masopust festivities will not take place only in the capital city in the coming days. This weekend a pork feast will take place directly on the Troják ski slope in Moravia. One week later a vintner’s pork feast will take place in Němčičky in Moravia. The local Vinařský dvůr will serve butcher specialties and traditional trdelník [sweet pastry from rolled dough] with young wines from the region. Also on the programme is a degustation of Moravian liqueur wines.

Masopust season

– The Masopust season lasts traditionally from 6 January, that is Epiphany, to Ash Wednesday, which falls on 25 February this year

– During the Masopust season it used to be tradition to eat a lot, as it is followed, according to the Christian tradition, by a 40-day fast before Easter.

– In towns, Masopust has become connected with holding food festivals.

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