The Dumpling – A Phenomenon of Czech Cuisine

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The Dumpling – A Phenomenon of Czech Cuisine

What would traditional Czech cuisine be without the dumpling? What would the national dish consist of if its roast pork and cabbage lacked the third vital element, or what could truly complement beef in cream sauce with cranberry relish? The dumpling in its many guises, whether savoury or sweet, is a central phenomenon of Czech cuisine. Without filling, it is often matched with meat and sauces – yet this has not always been so.

The Story of the Czech Dumpling

Originally, the Czech word of ‘knedlík’ was used for round or elongated mixtures of meat and reconstituted bread-rolls. Flour began to be added only in the 17th century. At this point, the dumplings were closer to buns: kneaded out of flour, eggs, yeast and salt, and baked. As to when they began to be boiled in water, or when bits of hardened pastry began to be added, these questions are unresolved even today.
Now, Czech cuisine can take pride in many different types of yeast-raised dumplings. One variation on the bread dumpling, the most common type, is the “Karlovy Vary dumpling”, flavoured with herbs and lightened with egg-whites. Also popular is the potato dumpling, of dough prepared from flour and boiled potatoes, or another potato version, the “wooly dumpling” in which flour is mixed with raw grated potatoes. 

Traditional dumplings offer a taste for everyone 

Another pride of Czech cuisine is the filled dumpling, whether savoury or sweet. Savoury versions are usually filled with cracklings, bacon or chopped ham. Topped with pickled cabbage and crisp-fried onion, they form a real treat. Sweet dumplings can be filled with fruit, marmalade, curd-cheese or poppy-seeds. Powdered sugar is then added, with a touch of melted butter, and the possibility of a sprinkle of cinnamon or grated gingerbread.
If you now yearn to taste a fresh-raised fruit dumpling, our best advice is to visit one of the restaurants in the “Czech Specials” list and experience them from the true masters of the form. Particularly known for their fruit dumplings are the “Špindlerovská Hospoda” in Špindlerův Mlýn, the “Richterovy boudy” chalet in Pec pod Sněžkou, or the Hotel Šumava Inn in Kvilda. 

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