A short tour of Prague will introduce you to Prague ham with horseradish and cream, where it is still made according to an old recipe. Nakládaný Hermelín, a white mould cheese served in oil, goes wonderfully with Pilsen beer. In the suburb of Karlin we have potato cooked in embers on espuma, a Spanish type of potato foam. Back in the Old Town, we taste a juicy neck cutlet of Czech black-footed pig before finishing the culinary round with coffee and chocolate with Prague balls in František Myšák’s famous confectionery.
We start the food tour in Prague in the late morning in Dlouhá Street, in the middle of Prague’s Old Town. Prague ham with horseradish and Nakládaný Hermelín, a Czech white cheese served in oil, go perfectly with Pilsen beer at Lokál Dlouháá. Continue a short walk to Naše Maso butchery in Gurmet Pasáž Dlouhá, where they still make Prague ham according to an old recipe.
We take tram line 8 to Karlin and get off at Křižíkova station, with the destination Eska Restaurant in Forum Karlin. There we enjoy potato cooked in embers on espuma, a Spanish kind of potato mousse. From Křižíkova we take the Metro B back to the Old Town, where we visit Kantyna, the 4th stop on our culinary tour of Prague.
In the premises of a former bank we taste schnitzel of pork neck and pulled pork with pickled vegetables. This is accompanied by dark, Czech Kozel Lager beer freshly tapped from the tank. Finally, we go to the famous pastry shop of František Myšák in Vodičková Street, renovated in 2008. There we indulge in coffee and hot chocolate with choux pastry and Prague balls.
Prague ham was first made in 1857 by František Zvěřina by curing, smoking and cooking a whole boneless leg of pork and then naming it Pražská šunka in honour of his town. Prague ham is still produced today by Naše maso in Dlouhá according to an old recipe.
Nakládaný Hermelín, pickled ermine, a typical Czech cheese, has a coating of white mould similar to Camembert. Hermelín comes from Sedlčany in Central Bohemia, is stuffed inside with garlic, onion and spices and pickled in oil. Nakládaný Hermelín is served in the oil marinade with sturdy Czech country bread. It goes perfectly with the typically bitter Pilsen beer.
Pilsner Urquell has been produced in Pilsen since 1842. Pilsner Urquell was the first beer produced in the Pilsen brewing style, a bottom-fermented beer with a high hop content and a maximum original gravity of 12.5 °P. Saaz hops from the traditional growing areas in northern Bohemia are used for the production. Since 2017, the brand has belonged to the Japanese brewery group Asahi Beer.
The Saaz hops give Pilsner Urquell its flavour. Mild and noble with a fine, earthy aroma. The aroma hops come from the small town of Žatec, Czech for Saaz, very close to the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Pilsen. When Joseph Groll brewed the first golden Pilsner in 1842, he chose the Saaz hops for their intense aroma with a comparatively low bitterness.
Naše maso is a butcher’s shop selling beef from Czech Simmental cattle and pork from the Přeštice pig, Přeštické černostrakaté prase, the Czech black-footed pig, which comes mainly from the Pilsen region, where the old Bohemian bristling pig was bred and crossed after 1850 with imported more modern breeds of pigs from England and Germany. This is used to make sausages and smoked products according to recipes from the time of the First Czech Republic.
The Eska restaurant has been built on the former site of a historic steam boiler factory in the Prague suburb of Karolinental, named after the wife of Emperor Franz I of Austria. The bakery and kitchen are on the ground floor. The common premises are shared with Forum Karlín, an event location.
The open kitchen of the Eska restaurant in Prague Karlin. Simple but thoughtful dishes with a Scandinavian twist such as ash potatoes, potatoes wrapped in foil and cooked in embers are prepared.
Potato cooked in the embers on potato foam, espuma. Potato mousse, espuma was invented by the Spanish chef Ferran Adrià. Potatoes cooked in salt water are strained, seasoned and mixed with hot milk, potato water and butter and foamed in a cream siphon using a capsule filled with nitrous oxide.
Czech hens are an original old breed. The first mention dates back to 1205, when the Bohemian princess Dagmar of Denmark, wife of the Danish King Waldemar II, brought a flock of Bohemian chickens to her new home as dowry. In the past, sauerkraut and potatoes were the staple food of the poor people.
Ota Ševčík is one of the most respected winemakers in the Czech Republic. He cultivates 2 ha of organic vineyards on a south-east or south-west facing gentle slope in Bořetice in the wine-growing region of South Moravia.
Ota Ševčík is a founding member of Authentic Moravia Magna, an association of natural winemakers from Moravia who organise an Authentic Festival every summer.
In the cool ambience of a former bank, there is a counter, a small „marketplace“ with a food counter and a larger room with rustic tables and chairs. In addition to ready-made dishes, meat is offered in pieces that are weighed out before the desired preparation. This is accompanied by freshly tapped dark Kozel Lager, first brewed in 1874 by the Ringhoffer family in Velké Popovice, a small Czech village near Prague.
Pork neck cutlets are juicy due to the marbling of the meat and the resulting higher fat content and also have a stronger flavour due to the slightly higher fat content, as fat is a flavour carrier. Thanks to its very high smoke point, lard is wonderfully suitable for baking pork escalopes until golden brown.
František Myšák, who came from a humble background, was one of the most famous confectioners in Prague during the First Republic. His café in Vodičková Street was frequented by important artists, sportsmen and politicians. The competition was fierce. There were almost 725 confectioners in Prague at his time. In 2008, the original décor on the ground floor, which was partially preserved, was renovated by architect Martin Kotík. The lounge on the first floor follows the original layout.
Next to the black and white chocolate cube to the right is a vetrnik, a choux pastry with vanilla cream, caramel whipped cream and caramel fondant as a coating, an Indian, a marshmallow, which is foam sugar confectionery with chocolate icing, a venecek, a choux pastry with vanilla cream and sugar icing and on the far right a Prague ball, Pražská koule, with nuts and caramel. Lovers appreciate thess sponge balls dipped in a sugar broth, liberally sprinkled with crushed peanuts and covered in chocolate.