ESTER ESSENTIALS HORSERADISH

ESTER ESSENTIALS - HORSERADISH

Nowadays, during Easter celebrations in Poland we tend to stick to traditions and food mostly connected to them. One of such important flavours of our Easter is the horseradish – we add it to eggs and Żurek ( known also as the White Borscht, traditional sour soup witch can be described as made out of fermented cereals flour). In Old Poland it was even more popular as an addition to various dishes, there was even a saying that can be loosely translated as Horseradish is the best with company. It has always been praised for being beneficial to our health and for its distinctive taste, which made it often used as a replacement for more expensive spices.

 

The use of horseradish as a remedy for gastric problems can be dated way back. In 1845 Józef Gerald wrote in his Economic and Technical Herbarium that The root of horseradish is used in medicines. The spicy oil that it contains, is responsible for stimulating kidneys and stomach. It also has anti scurvy properties. In his work, the german botanist and apothecary Carl Ludwig Willdenow mentions the benefits of mixing horseradish with alcohol – Mixed with gorzalka (old polish for vodka) and taken as a medicine the root of horseradish is a remedy for stomach ache.
The use of gorzalka and its earlier versions known as okowita ( from latin aqua vitae – the water of life) in this mixture is no accident. Alcohol is known for its ability to macerate – it can isolate different chemical compounds while transferring them to the liquid form thus enhancing their general properties. This process has been used not only to create mixtures with horseradish – it is also known as a base for producing old alchemical recipes and since the XVII century in Poland it has been essential during making of Nalewki – traditional old polish flavoured vodka infusions.

During the XVI century, many botanists wrote about medical uses of horseradish. Marcin from Urzędowo in his “ Polish Herbarium” wrote about the many ways in which the horseradish can improve our health – he points out that the syrup made from it can be used as antiseptic for the respiratory tracts. Stefan Falimirz – the author of the first polish herbarium published in 1534 in Cracow- underlined in his work that horseradish used as an addition to cold dishes such as fish can be very beneficial for the stomach.

 

Article by Sebastian Gaik tour guide in the Polish Vodka Museum.

 

THE USE OF ALCOHOL IN BAKING

THE USE OF ALCOHOL IN BAKING

Adding alcohol to cakes can have several functions. If we want to improve crispness and crunchiness, we can add alcohol especially to shortcakes and biscuits because it will slow down the gluten-forming process in flour. If we apply it to the mass, we will break the bland taste of a butter.

What about a baking with yeast?

A good example of this kind of treat is Pączek – filled doughnuts from Polish cuisine. Initially stuffed with bacon or meat and eaten as a treat during vodka drinking. Then at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries also served with fruit jam and rose vodka. The alcohol added to the mass evaporated during frying preventing fat absorption from happenig.

The tradition of pastries around Easter is long and complicated, especially when it comes to names 😉

The lexicographer Jan Mączyński wrote about Pączek in the 16th century. He also mentioned pastries such as Kalach ( a traditional Eastern European bread, the name originates from the Old Slavonic word “kolo” meaning “circle”, “wheel”). In the dictionary of another 17th-century linguist Grzegorz Knapski the word Kalach appears as synonyms of bagel and obwarzanek. At the beginning of the 19th-century Samuel Linde described Easter Cake (in polish: “Baba Wielkanocna”) as a kind of cake with the shape of a “Turk’s turban”. Nowadays we believe that the name of Easter Cake is a reference to the shape that the women’s skirts used to have (narrower at top, wider at bottom). As indicated by Polish historian Zygmunt Gloger in “The Book of Polish Things”, Easter Cake was a wheat flour cake, with the addition of saffron (to give a yellow color) baked in copper or clay dishes.

Coming back to the alcohol, there is also a story that Polish King Stanisław Leszczynśki, while staying somewhere in Lorraine, tried a very dry Easter Cake. He didn’t liked it, so he added some rum and probably began the habit of adding alcohol to this cake.

Another kind of Easter snack known as Kalach in eng. is very popular in the Silesia region of Poland. Here its called Kołocz Śląski. In contrast to original rounded version, this one is square and it has been entered in the Register of Protected Geographical Indications.

Article by Sebastian Gaik tour guide in the Polish Vodka Museum.

WHAT IS POLISH VODKA MADE OUT OF?

WHAT IS POLISH VODKA MADE OUT OF?

In other articles we talked about what is Polish Vodka and how it is made. Now it’s time to take a closer look at the ingredients used to make it. These are traditional Polish cereals: rye, wheat, oats, barley, triticale or potatoes. All these resources must be grown in Poland if they are used to produce Polish Vodka.

A variety of raw materials – a variety of flavours

To this day, many people believe in the unfair stereotype that vodka has no taste or smell, but it only has to “work.” Of course this is not true. The type of raw material used in the production has the greatest impact on the taste of vodka. For example, rye vodka will always have a different character than potato vodka. What’s more, the definition of Polish Vodka allows different types of cereals to be mixed together, which makes it possible to create unique compositions. Growing conditions, starch and nutrient content as well as the overall quality of the raw materials are also important.

Regardless of the ingredient used, about 200 different compounds are formed in the fermentation process that shape the distillate’s taste and smell. The trick is to remove those that negatively affect the taste of the spirit during rectification and leave those that give it a characteristic taste.

Rye

Rye is definitely the most popular raw material for the production of Polish Vodka. Thanks to this, when many people in our country think about the taste of vodka, they unconsciously evoke the qualities of rye vodka. Rye is used to produce vodkas with very desirable taste qualities. Vodka from rye is crisp, almost spicy. Perfect for drinking straight (no additives). It is also a great base for infusions and cocktails with intense flavours. In addition, rye “loves” the Polish climate and soil conditions – it does not freeze in the winter. From 100 kg of wholesome rye grain about 33 liters of spirit are obtained.

Potatoes

Potato vodka definitely stands out on the market dominated by grain vodkas. This uniqueness is also protected by the definition of Polish Vodka, which allows combining various cereals, but not potatoes with cereals. Vodka is produced from selected types of potatoes with a high starch content, thanks to which it has a delicate and mild taste. Potato vodka has a velvet texture. Best for drinking on ice and for dessert, sweeter flavour combinations. The production of potato vodka is a slightly more complicated and costly process than the production of grain vodka. Only 12 liters of spirit can be produced from 100 kg of potatoes.

Wheat

Wheat is often processed in Polish distilleries. Vodkas made from it have a soft and mild taste. Wheat vodka is recommended for sophisticated flavour combinations, often using exotic ingredients such as lemongrass. Drunk straight works just as well. Wheat is more demanding to grow than rye. It is more efficient. The high content of carbohydrates allows you to get about 38 liters of spirit from 100 kg of wheat grain.

Oat

Oats are occasionally used for the production of vodka. This is due to the very high fiber content in the grain and the lower carbohydrate content than other cereals. In terms of taste, oat spirit also definitely gives way to rye and wheat spirit.

Barley

Barley is rarely used as a basic raw material for the production of vodka. The specific structure and high fiber content make grain processing very difficult. However, formerly barley malt was added to the mash in the production of each vodka as a natural source of saccharification enzymes.

Triticale

Triticale is a hybrid of rye and wheat, first described at the end of the 19th century. Widely cultivated in Poland only since the 80s of the last century. Nevertheless, it was included in the definition of Polish Vodka as a combination of two traditional cereals for Poland. It has less soil requirements than wheat, and is also more resistant to diseases and frost. As a curiosity it is worth adding that one third of the world’s triticale crops are in Poland.

… and once again – Polish quality

Undoubtedly, the type of raw material used for production has a huge impact on the nature of the obtained drink. Regardless of the ingredient chosen, you always have to remember that the quality of ingredients affects the quality of the final product. This is one of the secrets of the unquestionable success of Polish Vodka. In Poland, we have not only a favourable climate and soil conditions, but also world-class specialists – farmers and distillers who have been perfecting the cultivation and processing of traditional raw materials for generations. French winemakers call such a unique combination of natural factors and human experience terroir. It is the Polish terroir that determines the inexorable character of Polish Vodka.

Article by Sebastian Gaik tour guide in the Polish Vodka Museum.

MUSEUM CLOSED FOR VISITORS

MUSEUM CLOSED FOR VISITORS

Due to a decision by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, regarding the 2019-nCov (Coronavirus) epidemic

from 12th to 25th March the Polish Vodka Museum will remain closed for Visitors.

Tickets purchased for the above dates will be valid until end of September 2020.

For date change or inquiries please write to recepcja@pvm.pl

A FEW WORDS ABOUT BORSCHT MADE WITH SOURDOUGH

A FEW WORDS ABOUT BORSCHT MADE WITH SOURDOUGH

The name of our traditional Easter borscht comes from a plant that was commonly used in Old Polish cuisine. However the dish made from it did not resemble borscht, as we know it today.

Usually it was made from chopped stalks and leaves of borscht, which were thrown into barrels and flooded with water. After some time, the whole thing fermented and thus “silage” contained a small amount of alcohol. However, the way of serving the dish was similar to the current one, because, as one of the Polish herbalists, Szymon Syreński called Syreniusz wrote in his work: „[…] brewed alone, or with a capon or other spices, as with yayca (eggs), with cream [… ]”. Undoubtedly, the taste and health values of such a soup have also been preserved. Those are mentioned by both Syreniusz: „[…] as a medicine and with a meal […]”, as well as another well-known herbalist Marcin from Urzędów in his work “Polish Herbalist” from 1595: „The second thing they attribute to borscht is true, because it probably doesn’t hurt anyone, but attributing borscht that it is not helpful is unfair, because it helps a lot […]”.

 

Of course, the best borscht is made with sourdough. It can be made from beetroots (red borscht) and flour leaven (white borscht). Due to the upcoming holidays a few words about the preparation of the white one.

For sourdough to form, fermentation must occur. It is one of the oldest biotechnological processes occurring in nature, over time it has been developed as a technology and used, among others, for food production. It occurs with the participation of microorganisms: bacteria and yeast. Fermented products are more easily absorbed by the digestive system, protected against mold and enriched with live bacterial cultures.

When preparing sourdough for borscht we are dealing with lactic fermentation. Its microflora is dominated by lactic bacteria, living in symbiosis with wild yeast, which multiply during sourdough maturation and decompose starch in the process of hydrolysis (together with water) into yeast fermented sugars. The formation of bubbles in the sourdough is the evidence of a good bacterial performance, i.e. carbon dioxide releasing. This process is also particularly desirable when preparing the leaven for baking (the dough is then chubby), and this role is also taken by yeast, which exhales CO2 and then produces ethanol anaerobically (alcoholic fermentation). From the physico-chemical reaction point of view, the action of yeast is a similar process that occurs in the distillery industry, except that in the case of baking dough, the resulting alcohol evaporates during baking (ethanol evaporates at 78 degrees Celsius), while the one formed in the distillation process remains liquefied and becomes a subject to rectification process.

 

Article by Sebastian Gaik tour guide in the Polish Vodka Museum.

 

CHANGES OPENING HOURS

CHANGES OPENING HOURS

Dear Visitors,

during the coming days the Museum will be practiced in various ways:

.

March 2 – Museum is closed

March 3 – Museum is open from 12:00

March 31 – Museum is closed

.

April 12 – Museum is closed

April 13 – Museum is open

April 30 – Museum is closed

May 1 – Museum is closed

May 3 – Museum is closed

 

June 1 – Museum is closed

June 11 – Museum is closed

June 29 – Museum is open until 15:00

June 30 – Museum is closed

 

August 31 – Museum is closed

 

September 30 – Museum is closed

 

October 31 – Museum is open until 16:00

 

November 1 – Museum is closed

November 2 – Museum is closed

 

December 24 – Museum is closed

December 25 – Museum is closed

December 26 – Museum is open from 12:00 12:00

December 31 – Museum is open until 16:00

STARRING: POLISH VODKA

STARRING: POLISH VODKA

Polish Vodka has been enjoying continuing popularity worldwide for several decades now. No wonder that it has been featuring in many Polish films and shows since its early days and it was only a matter of time before it appeared on screen next to European and American film stars. Here are some examples from the history of Polish and World cinematography where our national beverage starred alongside the most prominent actors and actresses.

From PRL until today
Is there even a single film from the era of the People’s Republic of Poland where they do not drink a glass of vodka? Perhaps, but let us not bother with those now. In the cinema of the period, vodka is often presented in the context of bigger and smaller social gatherings. For example, Andrzej Wajda’s classic Niewinni czarodzieje (Innocent Sorcerers) from 1960 tells the story of a meeting between two characters – a young couple infatuated with each other. On their first date, Bazyli and Pelagia agree that they should begin their encounter with a glass of vodka. Żytnia is the key element of the “Bruderschaft” ritual in Jerzy Gruza’s Czterdziestolatek (The Forty-Year-Old). Thirty bottles of the same vodka are served at a wedding reception in Roman Załuski’s film Kogel-mogel (Gogl-Mogl) made in 1988.

In Stanisław Bareja’s cult film Miś (Teddy Bear) from 1980, vodka becomes the tool to carry out a cunning scheme. In one of the few grotesque short stories in the film, a character by the name of Stuwała uses two human-sized teddy bears to smuggle several dozen bottles of vodka. Whereas in a scene from another comedy by Bareja, Brunet wieczorową porą (Brunet Will Call) from 1976, there is nothing that a character played by Krzysztof Kowalewski craves more than to spend the evening chilling over a glass of Żytnia.

Polish Vodka in Hollywood
Polish Vodka has made it to the big screen all across Europe and overseas. A great example is the French film Betty Blue from 1985 directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix. After a series of dramatic events, the protagonist, by the name of Zorg, ends up at a police station. And what sort of alcohol is he offered by the policeman on duty? It is vodka, of course, straight from Poland! Wyborowa, to be precise.

Polish Vodka has also been to the outer space – at least in film – which was made possible by the crew of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, from 2012. Again, it was a bottle of Wyborowa that appeared alongside the female protagonist in the intense scene where the spacecraft breaks down.

It is worth mentioning that 2015 was a momentous year in vodka’s cinematic career. This is when the media wrote at length about the dethronement of Russian vodka in the latest James Bond film. In Sam Mendes’s Spectre, Bond clearly prefers the Polish brand Belvedere to Russian distillates.

We could list numerous scenes in film, literature and in other arts which feature Polish vodka. We encourage you to do your own hunt for traces of our national beverage in different types of artistic productions. It could be a great pretext for hosting yet another film night or a fascinating subject to discuss with friends, perhaps over a glass of vodka.

 

Keep up to date on all the news about Polish Vodka. Become a fan of the Museum of Polish Vodka and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

 

THE FIRST BIRTHDAY OF THE POLISH VODKA MUSEUM


We invite you to the unique weekend of April 14-16, from the Polish Vodka Museum! Join the group of our guests with whom we will celebrate our first birthday. We foresaw the power of attractions: city games, walks, contests and many, many more. Familiarize yourself with the program of events and come to the Praga Koneser Centre!

 

Attractions for 3 birthday days:

special occasional ticket price – PLN 40 with a Koneser Tasting,
quizzes with prizes,
special offer for guests Museum in a souvenir shop, in the Lobby,
birthday cocktails in the ¾ bar,
special offer at the Wedel Chocolate Pump Room,
Wuwu – special lunch menu for guests of the Polish Vodka Museum in 12.00-17.00 on Saturday, June 15,
Zoni – for guests of the Polish Vodka Museum a glass of wine for free on Friday, June 14,
Foosball Game at the Moxy Hotel.

Friday, 14.06

16:30

Walk with Praska Ferajna – Monopol aka Koneser and everything around him.
Monopol aka Koneser is an important piece of the history of Prague, Warsaw and not one but three countries. It is worth getting to know the surroundings of this factory before you start exploring its former areas.

Start: Ząbkowska 37 (corner of Nieporęcka).

Competition: participants can receive discount coupons and win souvenirs and tickets for sightseeing with tasting funded by the Polish Vodka Musuem.

Approximate route: Nieporęcka, Białostocka, Markowska, Ząbkowska, Koneser Square.

Duration: 1.5 h – 2 h.

.

20:45

Cinema of the Polish Vodka Museum – “Jiro dreams of sushi”
Introduction – Jakub Koisz, after the screening – refreshments at Vodka Academy Bar will be provided by Susharnia from Ząbkowska and our bartenders.

.

Saturday, 15.06

15:00

Everything about vodka. Power of Meetings in Warsaw!
The meeting with Pascal Brodnicki and Maciek Starosolski is a story of hospitality kept in a light atmosphere. We invite you to a series of inspiring workshops and interesting lectures, and after them, in the evening, to feasting at a shared table, at which we will taste Polish Vodkas at refreshments. More at www.mocspotkan.pl.

.

15:00

A walk with Praska Ferajna – Beautiful Szmulowizna factory
Where was the first Polish air engine produced, where is the first industrial museum in Prague, why is it wrong to say that there were pepegi and cane produced at Otwocka? You will know the answers to these and many other questions on June 15!

Competition: participants can receive discount coupons and win souvenirs and tickets for sightseeing with tasting funded by the Polish Vodka Museum.

Start: Otwocka 16 (corner of Łomżyńska, close to the loop of the Kawęczyńska tram and the Wołomińska stop).

Approximate route: Otwocka, Łochowska, Grajewska, Siedlecka, Objazdowa, Kawęczyńska, Ząbkowska.

Time: 2.5-3 h.

.

15:30

City game WPT1313 – Become a citizen of People’s Poland
Check your knowledge about the past times of the People’s Republic of Poland and complete the Application for Passport of People’s Poland. The game consists of completing 4 tasks with four different characters, located on the territory and before entering the Polish Vodka Museum. Tasks check agility, knowledge, memory and creativity. After completing each task, participants get an entry in the Passport Application for People’s Poland. The goal of the game is to do the best work and thus complete the entire application.

Duration: 3 hours.

.

Sunday, 16.06

12:00

Walk with the Warszawska Plotka
A tale of Prague curiosities, rumors, drakes. Through Praga streets and unknown stories, we will get together to the Polish Vodka Museum.

Competition: participants can receive discount coupons and win souvenirs and tickets for sightseeing with tasting funded by the Polish Vodka Museum.

Start: Monument to Father Ignacy Skorupka in front of the Cathedral of St. Florian.

Duration: 1.5 – 2 h.

.

From 11:00

Adventure Warsaw will transport volunteers along historic Ząbkowska street in Nysa. We start from the Ząbkowska 33 gate between 11:00 and 15:00, every 15 minutes.

.

See you later!

MAY AT THE POLISH VODKA MUSEUM

“And then came May …”, and with it a whole series of attractions at the Polish Vodka Museum and the Praga Koneser Centre! See what is waiting for you this month!

 

Picnic at the Museum of Polish Vodka
Looking for an idea for a special picnic? Visit the Polish Vodka Museum! We are open both on May 2 and May 3.

.

Museum Night 2019
Visit the Polish Vodka Museum at May 18 from 20:00 to 01:00. On the spot you will not only have to wait for unique attractions, but also sweet surprises from E.Wedel. The bar cocktail bar will also work on this day in special late hours.

.

Mother’s Day – “Mother is just one”
Make your mother a unique gift and visit the Polish Vodka Museum together, and you will pay only for your ticket! You can also find special themed cocktails at the ¾ bar on May 26.

.

Cinema Polish Vodka Museum.
Direct your May fridays with the Polish Vodka Museum and take advantage of discounts at the ¾ cocktail bar! Have a special session and check out our May repertoire.

.

“Amazing Szmulowizna”
Take a step towards getting to know Prague and on May 11 at 3:00 pm go for a walk with Praska Ferajna. We start from 53 Kawęczyńska Street!

.

“Ząbkowska to Praga Monopol vel Koneser”
It’s just a treat for fans of outdoor walks! On May 25, go with Praska Ferajna for a walk “Ząbkowska to Praga Monopol vel Koneser” and discover the unknown nooks and crannies of Prague. We set off from Targowa 62 street.

.

See you!