Małopolska is a region with exceptionally rich and diverse culinary traditions, shaped by native traditions, carefully cultivated and passed from generation to generation, as well as international influences connected to the turbulent history of the region.
This unique mixture sounds like the introduction to a promising recipe...
Excellent cuisine is not only a tasty addition to discovering Małopolska, it’s a goal in and of itself! A fantastic reason to let yourself be carried away by the flavours and aromas, eat, drink, and delight in the best the region has to offer. Małopolska cuisine is not only tasty, but also natural and ecological. Everything that is created in Małopolska grows from the earth and is a part of nature, but also part of the rich culture of the local tables, garnished with the incredible tales of the locals – a true delight!
Get a taste of travel and see for yourselves what Małopolska tastes like! We guarantee you’ll be delighted, and every corner will surprise you with something unique...
Krakow and area
Krakow is a true foodie’s paradise. There was a reason it was named the 2019 European Capital of Gastronomy. Countless restaurants offering diverse menus indulge their guests with delicacies. Many places on the culinary map of Krakow can be found in Michelin Guide, or the yellow Gault & Millau guide. Here, you will find pure regional cuisine, but also offerings enriched with the influences of Jewish or Austrian culinary traditions, still thriving in the capital of old Galicia. For those travelling on a smaller budget, there are many iconic street food locations, where you can also eat local food that’s delicious and healthy. The famous toasted sandwiches in Plac Nowy, the maczanka krakowska pulled pork sandwich in Kazimierz, and wieners by Hala Targowa are true legends of Krakow flavour! However, above all, the capital of Małopolska smells like delicious bread. The legendary obwarzanki pretzels, baked in a traditional way after the dough has first been immersed in boiling water, have become a symbol of the city. Their crunchiness can only be compared to that of prądnicki bread, which, together with the obwarzanek, has been included on the EU list of regional products. The catalogue of traditional baked goods is rounded off by bagels from Kazimierz, the excellent Pischinger wafer cake and the kukiełka lisiecka – a spindle-shaped roll from nearby Liszki. Delicious smoked meats also reign supreme on the tables of Kraków and its surroundings – dry krakowska, piaszczańska or lisiecka sausage – have delighted visitors with their flavour and intense smoky aroma for centuries... As it turns out, smoked cold cuts are not the only thing that tastes delicious – Ojców trout, one of the flagship regional products, has also become a showcase of the Krakow area. Pickled vegetables can be an excellent accompaniment to fine fish. The people of Charsznica and the surrounding area have mastered and perfected the recipes for pickling cabbage and other vegetables. The famous Charsznica sauerkraut, pickled in barrels, not only retains its crispness and flavour, but also contains large quantities of vitamins and valuable trace elements.
All those seeking unique flavours and culinary souvenirs from the Capital of Małopolska should visit local markets. The now-legendary Stary Kleparz, but also places such as Hala Targowa, Plac na Stawach, the Parsley Market organised in the Podgórze district, and the Ekosfera Old Bakery Market are noteworthy initiatives by organic food producers.
Tarnów and area
The Tarnów region is Poland’s warm pole. Perhaps it was thanks to the mild climate, the fertile soil of the Dunajec Valley and favourable terrain that agriculture and trade has been flourishing here for centuries. When thinking about this corner of Małopolska, it is difficult to name a single product that is directly associated with the Tarnów area. This is all because the extravagant culinary richness of the region makes it impossible to single out one or even a half dozen local culinary treasures as the best of the best.. Here you will find the famous cucumbers pickled in a well, fresh fruit and vegetables, among which reigns the Piękny Jaś runner bean cultivar from the Dunajec Valley. It is hard to imagine how many delicacies can be conjured up from this estimable legume. If you want to know what Siuśpaj or Siuśbak are, be sure to ask the local homemakers. They will be happy to share recipes for these traditional dishes based on groats made from local grains. We can safely say that the Tarnów region is a land flowing with wine and honey . Industrious bees toil in the flowery fields and meadows producing excellent quality honey, and the gentle hills are overgrown with numerous vineyards that successfully cultivate the local wine tradition. It is not without reason that the Tarnów area is called the ‘Polish Tuscany’. Here you can taste delicious wines and relax in an idyllic setting among the rows upon rows of vines.
The Sącz region is known for its apples – juicy, aromatic, firm and unique. The beautifully coloured, strongly acidic apples ripen in the limited area of the Łącko Basin, blessed with a unique microclimate,hence the fruit growers of Łącko have enjoyed a well-deserved reputation for centuries. This fame is not only linked to apples, but also to the plums used in the production of the famous plum brandy. In the Beskid border region, you can also taste the suska sechlońska smoked plum. ‘Suska’ means dried, while the nickname ‘Sechlońska’ was taken from the town of Sechna. It is a slow-smoked plum – sweet, soft inside, wonderfully aromatic and smoky-smelling. Today, it is produced as before in the municipalities of Laskowa, Iwkowa, Łososina Dolna, and Żegocina. The Sącz region is also distinguished by its excellent honeys, which come from ecologically clean mountain areas. Honeydew honey from the Island Beskids is particularly noteworthy and is included on the list of regional products. In Stóże and Kamianna, you can visit beekeeping museums and explore local beekeeping traditions. One of the greatest treasures of the Beskid Sądecki region is water... The waters flowing from the mountain springs are exceptionally rich in minerals. When consumed in the right quantities and proportions, they supplement the body and also help to treat many conditions. The Słotwinka, Jan, Józef and Zuber waters have made spas such as Krynica-Zdrój, Muszyna, Żegiestów-Zdrój and Piwniczna- Zdrój famous in Poland and worldwide. Tasting specialities typical of the Low Beskids, we will experience many flavour references to the cuisine of the eastern borderlands of our country. This is thanks to the Lemkos, who, having settled the area, bequeathed us with their culinary traditions. If you are in the area, don’t miss out on trying, for example, proziaki – traditional pancakes made with baking soda.
The undisputed ruler of the tables in the western part of Małopolska is Carp! According to historical sources, this unique fish from the vicinity of Zator, Przeciszów and Spytkowice has been bred since medieval times. The Zator line of carp originates from a cross between Polish carp and Hungarian, Gołysz, Yugoslav and Israeli varieties. It is reared in biennial cycles and fed natural feeds, so its meat has a particularly delicate flavour. Carp became famous in the Middle Ages as a guest on royal tables. That’s why if you’re heading to the area of the Carp Valley, you absolutely must try this speciality.
In turn, anyone visiting the Chrzanów area must try the Cabanów-style potatoes. It is a traditional dish whose preparation is a true ritual. Potatoes are baked in a cast-iron pot – in the olden days, it was a clay pot – with beetroot, carrots, and onions. The dish is served with sour milk or kefir. It tastes delicious! For dessert, it is worth dropping by Wadowice, where the local confectioners specialise in the delicious kremówki (cream-filled pastries), which owe their fame to St John Paul II and his memories of his youth.
The Tatra Mountains and Podhale
Podhale cuisine is a true culinary showpiece of Małopolska. The famous oscypek cheese is an undeniable symbol not only of Podhale, but of the entire region. It is the pride, legend, and the king of Polish cheeses! Its manufacture is closely linked to the culture of mountain shepherds. The shepherds make the cheese by hand in the mountain pastures according to a recipe that has been known for centuries, using sheep’s milk or with the addition of cow’s milk from the Polish Red breed. Real oscypek is only made during the sheep grazing period, i.e., from May to September. It stores very well and doesn’t spoil – it just matures and gets ‘strong’. Oscypek’s little brother is redykołka, a cheese whose name derives from redykowanie, the time when the sheep return from the mountain pastures. Cheeses made from sheep’ milk or sheep’s and cow’s milk are small in size and shaped like animals, spindles, or hearts. They owe their variety to traditional forms and their distinctive flavour to salting and smoking. The huge selection of Podhale dairy products is complemented by żętyca, bundz, and bryndza podhalańska, which was the first Polish product to be included on the EU list of regional products with Protected Designation of Origin. Mountain cuisine is not only about milk, but also delicious lamb, a real rarity among meats. Although highland cuisine, due to climatic conditions and the terrain, was rather monotonous, some dishes served at inns and restaurants pamper the palate. Moskole (pancakes based on boiled potatoes), the famous kwaśnica (soup based on sauerkraut and smoked meats), local hałuski dumplings, or bombolki – dessert yeast dumplings drizzled with melted butter and honey – all of these simply must be tried when in Podhale.
If you want to find out more about Małopolska’s regional and traditional products, have a look here: https://www.malopolska.pl/malopolskismak
A culinary adventure in Małopolska will not be complete without a visit to one of the traditional inns. Places drawing on the authentic heritage of regional cuisine can be found on the Małopolska Gourmet Trail. The trail includes traditional inns of the highest standard.
So, start your engines and enjoy a culinary journey through the Małopolska region!