Tag Archives: Czech Republic

Pastry Post-Doc: Czech Rakvičky Cookies

czechPretty much every culture has a proclivity for sweet treats, and there is nothing I love more than learning about them all (hence the Pastry Post-Doc). When my friend attended a wedding in Wisconsin she told me about a unique Czech cookie they had there, Rakvičky (which translates to “little coffins” in Czech), which were totally new to me. Though the name sounds a little morbid, this festive cookie doesn’t have any deadly associations – the “coffin” references the hollow, coffin-like shape. Somewhat similar to eclairs, they consist of a long hollow pastry shell topped with whipped cream (and are sometimes filled). Here is a recipe in English for Rakvicky from Catalina Bakes, though we found many more recipes in Czech if you are a purist.

Rakvicky

Rakvicky from Apetit Online

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Czech and Slovak candy for St. Nicholas Day / Deň Sv. Mikuláša

czechSlovakiaThe holiday season is upon us – and that means food – and especially sweets – are out in full force! One of the biggest sweet-filled holidays in Central Europe is right around the corner: St. Nicholas Day. On the Eve of St. Nicholas Day (called Deň Sv. Mikuláša in Slovak), children leave out their boots in the hopes that they will get a special treat from St. Nicholas, perhaps some fruit, or if they are lucky, candy! This tradition is similar to other countries, such as the celebration of Sinterklaas in the NetherlandsIf you’re looking to learn about Czech candies, Prague Artel blog has a comprehensive guide about some of the most famous varieties (we think Kofila looks especially delicious). You can get your fix of Czech / Slovak candies at Slovczechvar.com and Equ.inox has reviews of both Czech and Slovak chocolates. For something a little more substantial, check out these St. Nicholas moon cookies.

Candy-filled shoes for St. Nicholas Day - by Major Bonnet

Candy-filled shoes for St. Nicholas Day – by Major Bonnet

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Czech Republic: Klas Restaurant in Cicero

Klas Restaurant
5734 W Cermak Rd
Cicero, IL 60804

Klas Restaurant

The decor gives you plenty of reason to enter Cicero’s most visible symbol of Czech heritage. Bathrooms that require you to enter through stone doors; a dining room accented with taxidermied birds, and candelabras reminiscent of a Bohemian castle. Unfortunately for the eaters, however, Klas’ wonderment started at the decorations and promptly ended with both the food and the service.

Resident hawk at Klas

Maybe we should have seen it coming, but there was a clear defining line between regulars (read: older customers) and us (the only people under fifty). Our server, while seemingly quite polite with the other customers, demanded our orders within a minute of our seating, and did so in a manner that made us feel more like criminal suspects than hungry lunchers.

We let all this slide, because at the time the menu seemed quite tasty. When we entered around 1PM, seeking the lunch specials, my (M) eye went straight for the 1/4 stewed chicken in paprika cream sauce, with dumplings (pictured below).

Sadly, the paprika and the chicken in this dish really didn’t come through. The sauce was quite bland, and the chicken – little of it that there was – was a tad too gristly for my liking. The dumplings were ok, not really much more than slices of bread, but really their only function was to soak up the disappointing paprika sauce. L didn’t fare much better. She ordered the Breaded Pork Tenderloin with dumplings (the menu gives an option between dumplings and potato salad, but our waiter didn’t give us a choice), about which she had a similar complaint to my dish – just too bland. Additionally, they ran out of breaded pork (the best thing on the plate), and gave her a piece of fatty roast pork in place of a 2nd piece. Everything tasted just alright, but didn’t have the excellent execution or flavor that one would expect from such a famous, stalwart restaurant.

All in all, we were pretty disappointed by Klas. We won’t go so far as to blame eastern European cuisine in general, because we are sure there must be restaurants who handle the cuisine better than this. But until we find them, this has to be our measuring stick – and Klas really didn’t measure up.

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