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.
Chef Dżenneta Bogdanowicz whose family is among the tiny community of Polish-Tatar-Muslims who arrived in Europe in the fourteenth century. At the family's restaurant, near the mosque of their ancestral village in the Podlesie region, they offer a choice of traditional dishes, particularly the baked pastries that are emblematic of nomadic European tribes. The most renowned of them is the Pierekaczewnik - that merits a pilgrimage of food lovers from across Europe. The family roll out a ball of dough into almost transparent sheets (using a technique evocative of the Turkish yufka dough). Ground meat stuffing is spread on the sheets, which are then skilfully rolled into the shape of a snail shell, after which the heavy pie is baked for several hours in an iron form. The resulting rich golden pie is delightful, and evokes memories of the little kugels made by Poland's Jews.
Some of the dishes on the special menu are Polish-Tatar tzimmes soup (another reminder that for centuries Jews, Muslims, and Christians lived alongside each other in Podlesie); pierekaczewnik; and fabulous desserts. Diners can observe the singular process by which pierekaczewnik is prepared, and the guests from Poland will describe their distinctive heritage.
The event will take place in Tel Aviv - Full details will be published shortly
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.