Spring flavors in Warmia and Masuria
With the first rays of spring sunshine, our diet also gradually undergoes changes. Shifting away from greasy one-pot meals meant to warm us up on cooler days, we segue into dishes filled with the first spring vegetables and other flavours of the season.
Winter supplies are slowly running out and the last dried mushrooms end up in the soup. It’s time for spring in Warmia and Masuria. Bringing together the characteristic flavors of eastern and western Europe, the cuisine of the region offers a lot of inspiration in terms of spring and fresh vegetables, which are increasingly introduced into our daily menu.
In the traditional cuisine of both lands of the region, spring was a time of light dishes, generally sparse in meat and mushrooms. Even Easter, which falls at the beginning of spring, was no exception. As noted by the Warmian poet, Maria Zientara-Malewska, the Easter breakfast was far from lavish.
They ate cottage cheese, butter, bread and several kinds of kuch – a regional yeast cake. For dinner, they served thick buttered rice, hard-boiled eggs and sugar-boiled prunes. It was only the supper that was sumptuous, as there were cold cuts, hams, bacon and roasted poultry on the table.
With demographic changes, the region’s cuisine was enriched by flavours from Kurpie, the Vilnius region, and Ukraine, creating a rich mosaic of tastes and highlighting the common characteristics of the cuisines of these different lands.
One of them is the presence of sorrel soup. In the region’s cuisine, it is traditionally served in spring, made with freshly picked sorrel. This slightly sour soup with egg often appears on the tables during the fasting period.
Apart from sorrel, early vegetables the likes of radishes, lettuce or young carrots are also making their way into the kitchen. It’s also a time for cabbage, most commonly used as a soup ingredient. It can be found in many variations of the spring vegetable soup of which it is a staple, both in fresh and pickled form. In its sweet version, it is also used as a roux served with the main course.
Spring is a time of respite and freshness on the tables of Warmia and Masuria. We break away from the greasy winter cooking and green up our plates.
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