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50 versions of the Czech dumpling

It can be part of a festive meal, is served in exclusive restaurants and also in ordinary pubs. It is both loved and spurned. It is so typical that it has become a Czech gastronomic and cultural phenomenon. In short, this is the dumpling.

A dumpling is made from dough boiled in salted water or steamed. A good dumpling should have a subtle flavour, be soft, moist and have a slightly sticky surface. It became included in Czech cookbooks at the beginning of the 19th century, when it was eaten as a main meal. Today you are more likely to encounter dumplings as a side dish.

There are many types of dumpling, leavened, potato, bread or Carlsbad, which include herbs and beaten egg whites in their dough. Czechs love their dumplings and have transformed them into many shapes, sizes and forms. You can come across small dumplings called noky (gnocchi), long dumplings called – šišky (cones) and dumplings stuffed with minced smoked meat or sauerkraut. The dumpling is an element of most typical dishes, such as roast beef sirloin with cream sauce and dumplings or roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut. Dumplings can be served with practically any meat, red or white. The dumpling is an element of the holy trinity of Czech cuisine, along with meat and cream sauces.

Sweet dumplings are also eaten. These can be stuffed with fruit, poppy seeds and sugar, grated gingerbread and plum jam or with “žahour”, a sweet sauce made from blueberries, which is typical in South Bohemia.

You can find out more about Czech cuisine, including tried and tested restaurants where you can try these specialities, on the website at www.czechspecials.cz.

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