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16 Jul 2014 Alica Tkáčová Regional News
Slovak cuisine in the Košice region has been influenced by Hungarians, Carpathian Germans, the Balkans and the Turks. Successors to these ethnic minorities have formed various associations as part of efforts to preserve their traditions, including the culinary ones.
Carpathian Germans have their own soup called rötscha. It is a thick bean soup with vegetable, bacon and smoked meat. The Association of the Carpathian Germans shares it at the Soup Festival in Košice, each year in October. “Soups get people together and show inhabitants of Košice, the importance of multicultural environment,” said Ján Hološ, organiser of the festival.
Most regional recipes remain within their community. However, some are on offer at restaurants. Gemerské guľky, dumplings filled with smoked meat served with cabbage, are on the menu of Tri ruže in Rožňava. U Šuhaja in Košice serves beef cheek with sweet and sour lentils. More restaurants are now trying to capitalise on serving these unique delicacies (and those of the local wines), but some are still kept under wraps. The village of Malý Horeš, for example, is known for a unique cabbage cake (kapustník), but as local Edita Kovacsová notes: “the recipe is secret”. A legend has it that if a girl from Malý Horeš marries into another village, she will be incapable of properly making the salty cake with chopped cabbage ever again.
MODERN SLOVAK CUISINE
When it comes to modern cuisine, culinary professionals say that it is often built on the clear taste and simplicity of the traditional food. It is modern and genuinely Slovak to use whatever grows in the area, according to Tomáš Jakab, a chef and member of the Association of Cooks and Confectioners in Košice.
“This is how I imagine Slovak cuisine: clear Slovak tastes, creatively used from seasonal materials,” Jakab said.
However, Jakab also notes that the consumption of one of the most widely known Slovak dishes, bryndzové halušky, sheep cheese dumplings, is perhaps in decline and finally Slovak food innovators have taken their chances to show other traditional Slovak food, for example pigeon, zander (zubáč), typical Slovak fish, or lamb.
When it comes to “clean classical food in modern settings” Jakab suggests the restaurant U Šuhaja, and also recommends the Baránok restaurant for its “traditional dishes brought down to tastes in different combinations”.
Some of these recipes can be tasted at the food festival Gurmán Fest in Košice. Every June several restaurants from Košice and the region present food.
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