Through the Eyes of the Eco Explorer - Tastes of Travel

potrawy na talerzach, słoiczkach znajdujące się na stole
You can taste the flavours of travel in Małopolska (Lesser Poland) at their most authentic– and quite literally! Food is an essential element of both short and longer trips, but it is not always necessary to take provisions with you as is the case on some trails. Instead, you can come across places where you can buy local delicacies and eat regional dishes. There are even trails dedicated to food. For lovers of more than just spiritual nourishment, we recommend the Małopolska Gourmet Route and the complementary Wieś dla Smakoszy route. You will find very different agri-tourist and gastronomic facilities there. They are all situated in beautiful scenic surroundings, cooperate with local food producers (or use their farms) and are dedicated to preserving local culinary tradition, thus showing the cultural diversity of Małopolska. There is no doubt that that you will eat delicious food there!

While eating, you will learn a lot because behind the recipes there are often multi-generational traditions, local legends, and stories about customs and the passing down of the most significant recipes.
Today, we especially recommend a trip to the Tarnów area.
Dishes entered on the list of traditional products of the Małopolska Culinary Heritage Network can be tasted at the Schronisko Dobrych Myśli (Good Thoughts Mountain Hostel) in Jamna and the nearby Chatka Włóczykija (Wanderer's Hut). 'Dunajeckie otoczaki', i.e., bean patties with eggs or mushrooms, and peasant-style sour rye soup are just two of the specialties. It is almost impossible to say no to the 'gaździna' cake. The cake even won the approval of Ewa Wachowicz, who presented the recipe on her TV show. In addition, the beautiful views and the peace and quiet will make you forget all your worries and concerns and fill you with only good thoughts...
While wandering around the Wiśnickie Foothills, it is worth visiting the 'Biały Jeleń' (White Deer) Mountain Hut in Iwkowa. There, hikers can try the Foothills dumplings or the parson's rooster delicacy. Moreover, there is the offer of regional cookery workshops for children during which they participate, for example, in baking scones. The village is also famous for its Iwków 'susorki', which are dried fruit. The fruit is dried for several days (plums and pears whole, and apples cut into slices) in traditional dryers fired with dry hardwood, thanks to which the fruit acquires a unique aroma and retains its flavour for a long time. Every year the Dried Plum Festival takes place in Iwkowa to promote these regional delicacies.

owoce jabłka, gruszki,śliwki

It is clear here how culinary traditions are inextricably linked with the landscape and microclimate, and the one in Iwkowa is especially favourable for fruit trees. The Tarnów area is full of blackthorn bushes (hence the town's name), so it is no surprise that blackthorn features in the local culinary heritage. The most famous sloe products are sloe tea and liqueur. You can get this tea, for example, at the Tourist Information Centre in Tarnów. Blackthorn is one of the healthiest wild fruits as it has more vitamin C than lemon! It is very rich in vitamin B and mineral salts. Sloe berry tea has restorative properties and is recommended for people who, exhausted and overworked mentally, are vulnerable to catching a cold quickly. It also regulates metabolism and gastric function and cleanses the body of toxins.
The Dunajec Valley is strongly associated with the tradition of cultivating another plant – certainly well known to you – the 'Piękny Jaś' (Beautiful John) bean. It is the only region in Poland where the climbing bean is still grown on such a large scale. That is because the climate and the specific soil favour its good yields. 'Piękny Jaś' from the Dunajec Valley is distinguished by its large, white seeds and high magnesium content. Gourmets appreciate its sweet taste, and chefs value it as it cooks quickly, thanks to its thin skin. Czchów, Wojnicz, Wierzchosławice, Radłów, Wietrzychowice, Tarnów, Pleśna, Żabno, Gręboszów and Gródek nad Dunajcem, with Zakliczyn being the centre of the brand, are Villages famous for the production of beans from the Dunajec Valley. It is there that the annual Bean Festival takes place in September, during which you can taste bean dishes, and there is a lot to try! It turns out that beans can be used to prepare a host of (often not so obvious) dishes – sausages, pâtés, croquettes, cakes (!), and even alcohol. Bean vodka 'fasolówka' is on the list of traditional products, along with several other bean dishes.
Finally, here is one of the bean recipes that you can try before you go on a culinary trip…

Sweet 'Jaś'
0.5 kg beans, 2 tbsp. butter, 2 tbsp. powdered sugar, 2 tbsp. honey, 2 tbsp. cocoa, nuts, coconut

Soak beans overnight, then cook in the same water they were soaked in. Grind them in a meat grinder, a food processor, or a blender, and mash the butter, sugar, honey and cocoa into a pulpy mass. From the mixture, form walnut-size balls and coat them in shredded coconut or crushed nuts.

Enjoy your meal!


Author of the text: Magdalena Petryna – editor and Beskid guide, promoter of local and conscious tourism, wildlife educator and blogger.

The Project entitled ‘Małopolska Ecotourism - sustainable tourism development of the region’ is implemented by the Partnership Fund as part of the EcoMałopolska Programme from the funds of the Małopolska Region.