It's been a year, and we're delighted to invite you once again to take a captivating journey to the worlds of Polish food and Jewish-Polish food. The Second Polish Culinary Week offers dozens of cultural and culinary events, to be held in downtown Haifa and several locations across Israel. 'Bread and Memory' events, orchestrated by Chef-Baker Erez Komarovsky, with the participation of Israel's finest bakers; fabulous dough prepared by a Polish-Tatar-Muslim woman chef; herring and vodka parties; guest chefs from Poland; and popup restaurants dedicated to gefilte fish - are just some of the surprises awaiting you.
Nalewki are home-brewed liqueurs, created by macerating fruit or other natural materials in alcohol. Nalewki are a venerable and important tradition in Poland, and among Eastern European Jews. In the past few years – as the Polish kitchen seeks its old roots – a range of nalewki can be found both in domestic kitchens and on the menus of high-end restaurants in the big cities.
Israel also has quite a few boutique producers and people who prepare similar spirits and liqueurs in their homes. As part of Polish Food Week, we’ll be convening many of Israel’s nalewki producers under one roof, at Haifa’s Syncopa bar, for a special Israeli nalewki event.
· During the event, participants can taste and purchase Polish-inspired liqueurs, drinks and spirits.
· We’ll be offering a guided tasting session of an assortment of Polish and local nalewki, facilitated by sommelier Aviram Katz, with the participation of members of the ‘Sanedrink’ website (Nir Kipnis, Tal Hotiner, Yossi Buznach and others). It will be conducted according to the finest Polish tradition – blind tasting in which participants try and guess the nalewki’s ingredients. Participants should register in advance, for a nominal fee (the number of participants is limited). The guided tasting session starts at 20:30.
· The same evening, food journalist and cookbook author Hila Alpert will be hosted by the Haifa bar, and will present a special menu of zakuski, accompanied by drinks in the best Eastern European tradition. On the menu are buckwheat in butter and a mushroom stock; a shot of krupnik soup; potato salad with gizzards in schmaltz; herring with sour cream and hardboiled egg; and cabbage strudel.
Participation in the panel is by advance registration only and for a nominal price: the number of participants is limited.
The Nalewki Celebration, from 18:00 to 23:00, 2 December | Syncopa Bar, 5 Khayat Street, downtown Haifa.
At the end of the first Polish Food Week, we were left with the taste for more... with the desire to track down other unfamiliar stories, the passion to continue disclosing the surprising aspects of Polish and Polish-Jewish cuisine. We were delighted by the participants in the 2013 Polish Culinary Week events, and they made us realize, more than ever, that yearning for memories and roots is integral to generating a new culture. Over the past year we embarked on a culinary-cultural journey to discover new stories, and we’re excited to share our findings with you.
The festival's inaugural year opened with Modest Amaro, the first Polish chef to win a Michelin star, and with Poland's new haute cuisine. This year we decided to seek out the other end, and the small community of Polish-Muslim-Tatars living in a remote rural region. Members of that community, the Bogdanowicz family, will be guests of the Polish Culinary Week and will present their magnificent pastry-making. When one hears 'Polish cuisine,' not many think about savoury and sweet baked goods which were born among nomadic tribes in Central Asia. And yet the heritage foods of the same community are now an inseparable part of the Polish kitchen (and there's also a riveting Jewish connection that will be revealed to the festival's visitors).
Dough, bread, and the baking process are the focus of festival events this year. Chef Erez Komarovsky, leading bakers and pastry-chefs, and the Bezalel Design Academy have joined us in a beautiful project which explores the ties between bread and memory - and in the process, revives some close-to-forgotten recipes. A peak event of the 2014 Polish Food Week will take place in downtown Haifa, where we'll be holding an installation on bread - it's open to the public, and crammed with surprises for all the senses… but we're just as thrilled by smaller peaks. Throughout the week, for example, bialy - the little yeast rolls filled with onions and poppy-seeds which originated in Bialystok, Podlesie province - will be baked and sold at close to a dozen bakeries across Israel. Along with the beigel, New Yorkers have made this pastry a symbol of Polish-Jewish cuisine, but in Israel it is almost non-existent: we hope it will meet with a warm and loving welcome here.
These are just a few examples, of course. There's also a one-off temple to gefilte fish that will be open for five days - a collaboration with artist Roni Levit; a series of guest chefs from Poland who will be hosted in downtown Haifa restaurants; and an assortment of celebrations, workshops, culinary tours, and cultural events. We're sure that this is the beginning of a great tradition, and let us wish you a wonderful week of new discoveries and thrilling adventures.
See you at the Polish Week's events,
Ronit Vered and Arieh Rosen
The Ambassador of Poland in Israel: H.E. Jacek Chodorowicz
The Director of the Polish Institute: Krzysztof Kopytko
Our thanks Shmil Holland, Dani Tracz, Mirek Ancypo, Lior Hargil, Aviram Katz and special thanks to the Haifa IRTHATIT team and Zahi Terno. Guy Rubanenko. Noam Levinger.