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.
The traditional Polish Christmas dinner - Wigilia
The Polish Christmas dinner is a twelve-course feast, that's the most important meal on the Polish calendar. Originally a religious tradition, over the years it has become a cultural tradition. Secular Polish families, and families that are adherents of other religions, continue to uphold all the rules of the ceremony.
The Christmas meal begins traditionally, on December 24th when the first star appears in the sky. Scraps of dry hay are scattered under the tablecloth to recall the birth of Jesus in the manger. The family members refrain from eating anything set on the table until they eat the special Christmas wafers together - the oplatek - and exchange good wishes for the year ahead. The traditional meal is meat-free, since the Catholic Christmas fast prohibits it. Because the dinner is a winter event, many of the raw materials are pickled or cured. The meal lasts for several hours, and the twelve dishes are accompanied by songs and recitals. One can identify the multicultural impact on the menu of different peoples and minorities (Jewish carp, for example, is frequently brought to the table).
This year, the Polish Institute in Israel has joined forces with the Piest organisation in Haifa. Together they'll be staging this special event at which the Israeli public can experience a Polish traditional Christmas meal. It's a one-time opportunity to sit around the family table (the number of places is very limited), enjoy the once-a-year dishes, and learn about the Polish Christmas customs that will be performed and explained during the dinner.
The traditional dinner will be prepared by the women of Piest, an organisation founded by several Polish women; they married Arab-Israeli students who studied in Warsaw in the 1970s, and later immigrated to Israel with their husbands. Over the years more and more people joined the organisation, from several religions and cultural backgrounds. What they all share is a love for Polish culture and a commitment to nurture and advance the Polish culture and language.
The dinner will be held in the dining room of Haifa's Colony Hotel, which will be decorated appropriately in honour of the event
185 nis pp
910 nis for double room + dinner
The Colony Hotel, Haifa
The German Colony
28 Sderot Ben-Gurion
Tel.: 04 - 851 3344 / fax: 04 - 851 3366 / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Christmas dinner will be held on December 1st, from 19:30 to 23:00
Still from the film "Diabelskie szczęście", photo: Filmoteka Narodowa / http://fototeka.fn.org.pl
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.