29 Dec “Dobra Kasza Nasza” in Zakopane
Kasha (“kasza” in Polish), or grains, are such a common food stuff here that actually we have sayings about them. For example, a person may be described as someone who “doesn’t let anyone blow on their kasha”, meaning that they don’t let anyone boss them around, or “take the piss” as we would charmingly say in the UK. There are many varieties of kasha and all are available in this restaurant in Zakopane, recommended to me by my old childhood friend, Iza, who writes this blog.
Zakopane is the Winter capital of Poland, somewhere we have spent the past couple of Christmases, and a place that’s popular all year round with tourists: full of cosy, wooden restaurants and hearty “mountain” food. If you are a keen skier or snowboarder, used to the likes of the Alps, you may not feel completely satisfied with the conditions here – the Tatra mountains, being a national park, have but one slope you can ski down (this was closed due to wind this year), so the main ski area is Białka Tatrzańska, a 30min drive away, in the direction of Kraków; apart from this it’s just an odd slope here and there. However, it is well worth a visit, any time of the year, if only for the atmosphere. If you do find yourself in this magical little town, you may get tired of all the “mountain” food after a couple of days and this is why I would recommend “Dobra Kasza Nasza” – it’s different to all the other restaurants in Zakopane, in food and ambiance alike.
I would also strongly recommend the “kwaśnica” for starters, the Polish sauerkraut soup that in other parts of Poland goes by the name of “kapuśniak”. The ribs are a tasty main if you’re hungry, otherwise go for one of the baked kashas. I ordered the millet and pumpkin one you see up there, which was nice (not a very descriptive word, I know – it would be inaccurate to use anything stronger, yet it was “quite nice”). I would however go for something else next time, probably buckwheat based, as this is the kasha that I most associate with Poland and that I miss when I am out of the country. They also have a couple of delicious unpasteurized beers on tap