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Beer Food


You know something's wrong when you start buying the foods that accompany Czech pivo. (Beer foods, that is.) Last time I was at the store I bought these little pickled sausages in a jar that are called utopenci. There are usually onions in the mix as well. If you're trying to imagine this, then picture these done up like pickles. Most people probably eat these at the local bar or pub, but I figured I'd give the home version a try.

The smell is curiously reminiscent of Bean and Bacon soup, a Campbell's variety that I used to like. This seemed a bit odd since it's not a very sausagey smell. The flavor is basically fatty with a vinegar zing to it, and some light notes of pepper and pickling spice linger. Surprisingly, it's quite enjoyable. And yes, if you were wondering, I bought the brand that verges on the obscene.

There's another edgier Czech beer food—tvarůžky. (Photo at right.) These are, according to my former roommates, not true cheese, but something very much like it. They are somehow related to tvaroh (a sweet, cheese-like dairy product used in cakes and pastries), but it's hard to taste or see the relationship. Tvarůžky are usually brown and come in little rings; the best ones come from Olomouc. They smell and taste very ripe—one of those foods that explains the expression about cutting the cheese. I've seen them fried at restaurants, but my roommates ate them in small pieces with butter-smothered bread and raw onions and a liberal sprinkling of ground black pepper on the top. With a glass of beer on the side, they make a quite potent snack. The mustiness of the cheese and bread combination is overshadowed a bit by the onions, but it complements the beer perfectly. Now I detect hints of tvarůžky in most Czech beers.


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Comments:

Blogger tuckova said . . .

My friend points out that most pub food is eaten when you've passed the point in your beer consumption when you should know better. When you're like, "Well I should go home, but maybe... just a little drowned guy wouldn't hurt," and that further all Czech pub food gives you the worst breath imaginable, which is fine because you're late and your wife is going to make you sleep on the couch anyway.    

4:11 PM, October 02, 2006


Blogger morskyjezek said . . .

True, although I think it's probably the odors of stale smoke, beer, urine, and unclean pub air that would merit couch banishment. Better yet, tell them to ride around on the tram all night, buy a tooth brush, and then try a shower.

The other thing that surprises me is how many people I've seen eating beer food who have not yet passed beyond the point where they should know better. Perhaps I've been around too many students, but it often goes like this--"Hey, I haven't had dinner yet. What? This pub only serves pickled sausage, pickled cheese, and fermented tvaroh? Okay then, I guess I'll have one of those."

Thanks for reminding me that the utopenci are drowned guys! How did I forget to fit that in?!? I'll have to add it.    

11:48 PM, October 03, 2006


Blogger Hubert said . . .

I've had these cheese onion things and I found them absolutely disgusting. It may have been one of the few times I have 'left food on the plate' contrary to what my Chinese 'wasting food is wasting money' sensibilities would have told me.    

12:24 AM, October 06, 2006


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