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Poland Culinary Vacations: The Flavors of Lower Silesia and Wroclaw

The Flavors of Lower Silesia and Wroclaw Culinary Vacation

Our Lower Silesia culinary vacation offers a fantastic introduction to a rare gem in the world of European cuisine. It remains a little-known culinary destination, unless, of course, you are of Polish ancestry. In that case, you’ll remember eating delicious, traditional Polish food during holidays while enjoying the music, dance, and rich traditions so intertwined with the cuisine. Whether you join us as a traveler discovering Poland for the first time, or you are seeking to reconnect with your own family traditions, this will be a unique and meaningful vacation that provides a strong sense of home in the midst of new experiences.

Outdoor Attractions: Situated in southwest Poland, this area features diverse wildlife, the rugged Sudety mountains, rivers and pastoral valleys, as well as striking cave formations, old growth forests, and more than a dozen scenic and national parks. In the towns and villages, people celebrate the outdoors in their gorgeous botanical gardens, pristine mineral springs, and healing health resorts.

People who have settled in the Lower Silesia region come from many different parts of Poland and Europe. They are known for their hospitality and willingness to share their agricultural lifestyle with visitors, which is one reason why agrotourism is growing so rapidly here. We’ll visit agrotourist farms and participate in hands-on cooking classes. With the local farmers as our teachers, we’ll learn how to prepare both regional and traditional specialties.

Urban Amenities: Wroclaw, the capital of Lower Silesia, nicknamed “The Venice of Poland,” sits on twelve islands along the Odra River. This historic city showcases Gothic, Flemish, and Viennese Baroque architecture, although it’s known as a progressive incubator of avant-garde theatre and modern art. With a thriving university and growing scientific sector, the diverse population demands eclectic entertainment, fine restaurants, and trendy boutique shopping.

After we’ve dined and cooked with chefs in some of this vibrant city’s best restaurants, an architectural and historic tour of Wroclaw will round out our experience.

We know you’ll fall in love with the beauty of Lower Silesia, and with its culinary abundance. You’ll want to return to this region of Poland again and again!

Main Attractions

7-day/6-night custom-designed, intimate cooking vacation in Poland’s Lower Silesia region, one of the most diverse and picturesque areas of Poland.
Elegant and comfortable accommodations in the beautiful 16th-century Zamek na Skale castle in the Polish countryside and at Tumski hotel in the city of Wroclaw.
Visits to local markets; opportunities to learn crafts from local artists.
Hands-on and demonstration-style cooking lessons throughout the week.
Delicious regional cuisine: freshly made meals and bread, plus wine, beer and vodka tastings.
Visits to agrotourist farms: legendary hospitality and the chance to experience life in the Polish countryside.
Motor excursions into famous cities and towns to see renowned art and architecture, including buildings which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, plus many more cultural discoveries.
The option to extend your time in Wroclaw and further explore this lovely city, dubbed “The Venice of Poland”.

Day By Day Itinerary

Our Exciting Itinerary for “The Flavors of Lower Silesia and Wroclaw” Culinary Vacation

Day 1 – Sunday

We meet in the lobby of Wroclaw hotel at 10:00 a.m. for a group transfer by motor coach to a spectacular 16th-century Zamek na Skale castle (a four star hotel with SPA center in the historical cellars of the castle – pictured above) in the village of Trzebieszowice, our home for the next four days. In addition to its beautiful location, our castle has an interesting history: the Prussian king, Frederik Wilhelm III, once invited the Russian czar, Alexander I, to join him and his entourage there for a birthday celebration. Enroute, we stop at Karczma Zagloba, in the town of Swidnica, for a sumptuous lunch. We also visit the 17th-century, wooden Church of Peace, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Further exploration of this region may include sampling hand-made pralines at a Chocoffee shop, or a visit to a gingerbread bakery before we resume our journey to Trzebieszowice. After settling into Zamek na Skale, we take a short tour of this truly romantic and comfortable castle, relax in the spa, or go for a leisurely walk in the nearby park. Later in the evening, we meet head chef, Marek Mol, for a festive Welcome Dinner in the castle restaurant featuring specialties of the local cuisine and chef’s exclusive culinary creations made especially for us.

Day 2 – Monday

After breakfast at the castle, we attend our first cooking class with Halina Jurak from Jaszkowa Gorna village. We learn the secrets of preparing the all-time Polish favorite, pierogi, stuffed dumplings. Then, we get an introduction to the Polish bread-baking traditions at a family owned “Bagietka” bakery in Jaszkowa Dolna village. The aroma and taste of the freshly-baked breads in the bakery is unforgettable! Later, we travel to beautiful Polanica Zdroj, a health resort town. While there, we must taste the mineral water from the “Wielka Pieniawa” spring and take a leisurely walk through the town center and surrounding health park. Our evening meal is traditional Polish cuisine at Piastow Grod restaurant in the town of Duszniki Zdroj.

Day 3 – Tuesday

Today we travel to Oldrzychowice Klodzkie village for our second cooking class. On the menu this time is another undisputed Polish favorite, golabki, stuffed cabbage rolls with robust tomato sauce. In the afternoon, we travel to the town of Walbrzych. In Walbrzych, we visit the 13th-century Ksiaz castle, also called the Pearl of Lower Silesia, the largest of the Silesian castles and the third largest castle in all of Poland, a place of many cultural and artistic events. To celebrate our third day in the beautiful Lower Silesia, we dine in the nearby town of Szczawno Zdroj, at Gospoda Babinicz, located in remodeled stables. Gospoda Babinicz specializes in Polish cuisine, particularly exceptional hunter’s dishes. This night, we celebrate with delicious Polish food, drink, music, and dancing.

Day 4 – Wednesday

Today, we head to nearby Krosnowice village for our third, hands-on cooking class with Halina Puk. Using a traditional Polish recipe and natural ingredients from the owner’s farm, we prepare barszcz czerwony, red beetroot borscht, as part of our lunch. Then, we travel to the town of Kletno, where we visit the most beautiful cave in all of Poland, “The Bear’s Cave.” Later, we drive off to the town of Stronie Slaskie, to see “Violetta,” a 200-year-old company that manufactures high quality, hand made, crystal glass products. For those ready to shop, the company gift store has many of their beautiful products for sale. On the way to Stronie Slaskie, we drop in on many of the local food artisans at their agrotourist farms. We also visit Ladek Zdroj, one of the oldest health resorts in Europe. Tonight, for the final meal of the “rural” part of our culinary adventure, we dine at the Korona restaurant in the town of Klodzko. The Korona is famous among locals for its outstanding Polish cuisine, and a popular venue for wedding receptions.

Day 5 – Thursday

After an early breakfast, we travel to Wroclaw, the capital of Lower Silesia, to begin our urban culinary experience. After checking into the Tumski hotel, where we’ll stay for the next two days, we head to lunch at the Krakus Fraternity restaurant. Located right next to KS “Wratislavia” Polmos distillery, the restaurant specializes in Polish dishes accompanied by a vast selection of vodkas. Following lunch we enjoy a guided tour of the distillery. We learn the secrets of vodka production and watch the entire process in historic production halls. Then, we take a guided tour of Wroclaw’s historic Old Town, including Market Square, Town Hall, and Salt Market. Later, we may also visit Spiz restaurant and local brewery where we get to taste delicious local ales. Wroclaw has many great restaurants specializing in Polish cuisine. Tonight we dine at JaDka, one of the most elegant of them all, located in the theater district. Enjoy!

Day 6 – Friday

After breakfast, we enter into the rhythm of day-to-day life in Wroclaw by shopping for ingredients at Hala Targowa, a historic indoor fresh food market. The head chef from the Mill Inn restaurant joins us, guiding our produce selections and then teaching our cooking class. During this demonstration-style cooking class, the world- renowned comfort food bigos, Hunter’s Stew, an old traditional Polish recipe, is our final epicurean adventure. After lunch, we may visit Panorama Raclawicka and later take a lazy boat ride on Odra river to get another view of Wroclaw and its stunning architectural beauty. There’s time to shop for gifts at the Cepelia store. Choose from both decorative and pragmatic Polish handicrafts for loved ones back home, and don’t forget something for yourself! Our Farewell Dinner will be at Karczma Lwowska restaurant, serving old Polish specialties from the eastern borderlands, and located in the heart of Wroclaw’s Market Square. There’s live entertainment, too!

Day 7 – Saturday

Depart for your home country following breakfast, or make your own arrangements to stay longer in lively Wroclaw.

Vacation Details

What’s Included

Even though our vacations are leisurely, you may want to consider an extra night at the Wroclaw and Tumski hotels in the city of Wroclaw before and/or after the program. You may find that the extra time will make your week even more relaxing and enjoyable.

  • Six nights accommodations double occupancy with ensuite bathroom (four nights at the Zamek na Skale castle and two nights at Tumski hotel in Wroclaw)
  • Arrival transfer from Wroclaw hotel at 10:00 a.m. to Zamek na Skale castle
  • Daily breakfast
  • Six dinners
  • Six lunches
  • Local beer, house wine, tea and coffee with all included meals (Please note that drinks consumed outside of mealtime are not included)
  • Four hands-on and/or demonstration style cooking lessons
  • White cooking apron with Poland Culinary Vacations logo
  • Excursions to cultural sites, all entrance fees and food artisan visits
  • City tour of Wroclaw (with professional city guide)
  • Boat ride on Odra river in Wroclaw
  • Transportation where specified
  • English interpreters
  • All luggage transfers
  • Taxes and service charges

What’s Not Included

  • Airfare or other non-specified transportation to the trip starting point, and from the trip ending point
  • Meals and alcoholic beverages not specified in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as laundry or telephone calls
  • Passport or visa fees
  • End of vacation gratuities for guides (not required, but greatly appreciated)
  • Insurance of any kind

Dates

July 3 – July 9, 2011
July 31 – August 6, 2011
Other dates to be announced

Cost

Option 1. $2,950 per person, based on double-occupancy ($500 deposit). Single supplement is $350 – program as described above, lodging in four and five star hotels, all meals included.

Option 2. $1475 per person, based on double-occupancy ($500 deposit). Single supplement is $350 – program as described above, lodging in two and three star hotels. Thursday dinner in the city on your own. No specials or discounts apply.

More info and reservations

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Poland Culinary Vacations: Cooking Your Way From Krakow To Zakopane Culinary Vacation

Lesser Poland (Malopolska), located in the southeast part of the country, is one of Poland’s most beautiful and delicious regions. In addition to its many unique historic and resort attractions, it is home to the region’s magnificent capital city: Krakow, designated as a “European City of Culture” in 2000. The Old Town district of Krakow was built around Europe’s largest medieval market square, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But Lesser Poland is also home to the highlanders, or gorale, as they are called in Polish. And, while we’re in the charming town of Zakopane and surrounding areas, we will spend lots of time immersed in highlander culture: cooking, singing and dancing in their homes and restaurants. The highlanders’ rich culinary and cultural traditions make this region one of the most exciting Polish destinations to explore in depth.

Outdoor Attractions: Lesser Poland offers an exceptionally varied and pristine landscape. First-rate hiking and biking trails run through the Tatra Mountains, offering stunning views of gorgeous scenery. Winter sports facilities and folklore events attract travelers here in every season. This region is also famous for its many fine health resorts and national parks that protect its unique environment.

Urban Amenities: Krakow, the capital of Lesser Poland, boasts many of the best museums, theaters and architecture in the country. Krakow is also home to one of the world’s oldest and most distinguished universities, the Jagellonian University founded in 1364. Krakow’s Main Square is filled with unique and beautiful cafes, restaurants, and pubs. The square is frequently used for concerts and artistic events. Cultural events or culinary festivals happen during each month of the year, offering residents and visitors many opportunities for fun and entertainment. We’ll dine and cook with Krakow’s talented chefs in some of the city’s best restaurants. And, we’ll take time to explore its unique architecture and history during our custom-designed city tour.

Main Attractions

  • 7-day/6-night custom-designed, intimate cooking vacation in Poland’s Lesser Poland region, immersed in beautiful Krakow and the unique highlander culture.
  • Elegant and comfortable accommodations at a luxurious: 4-star Villa Marilor palace/hotel in Zakopane, and 4-star Hotel Turowka, located within Krakow’s metropolitan area.
  • Visits to local markets; opportunities to learn crafts from local artists.
  • Hands-on and demonstration-style cooking lessons throughout the week.
  • Delicious regional cuisine: freshly made meals and breads, plus wine, beer and vodka tastings.
  • Visits to agrotourist farms, famous for warm hospitality and Polish countryside experiences.
  • Motor excursions into famous cities and towns to see renowned art and architecture, including buildings on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • An excursion by raft through the Dunajec River Gorge.
  • The option to extend your time in Krakow and further explore this spectacular southern Polish city.

Day By Day Itinerary

Our Exciting Itinerary for “Cooking Your Way From Krakow To Zakopane” Culinary Vacation

Day 1 – Sunday

We meet in the lobby of the Grand Hotel in Krakow at 10:00 a.m. for a group transfer by motor coach to the Villa Marilor in Zakopane, our home for the next four days. This spectacular 4-star hotel was once a small palace and now includes a luxurious spa and swimming pool. In addition to its beautiful location, the palace offers traditional Zakopane hospitality. During our drive to Zakopane, we stop at Chocholow and Witow villages, both on the Lesser Poland Timber Architecture Route. Next stop: a sumptuous home-made lunch at an agrotourist farm, Lesniczowka u Zieby, in the village of Dolina Chocholowska. Further exploration of this area may include sampling the famous, handmade oscypki and bryndza cheeses or highlander tea, which includes vodka, before we resume our journey to Zakopane. After settling into Villa Marilor, we take a short tour of this romantic palace, relax in the pool or spa, or go for a leisurely walk around Zakopane. This evening we gather for a festive Welcome Dinner at Villa Marilor restaurant, meet the head chef and dine on local specialties.

Day 2 – Monday

After breakfast, we attend our first cooking class in the highlander village called Gronkow. We learn the secrets of preparing the all-time regional favorite, moskole: potato pancakes with meat and mushrooms. In the afternoon, we travel back to Zakopane and tour this beautiful mountain town for the rest of the day. We visit the many museums, take a leisurely walk along the town’s famous Krupowki Street, and stroll a few side streets. Later we ride a cable car up Gubalowka Hill to get the best panoramic view of Zakopane, and the Tatra Mountains and other maintain ranges. Our evening meal is at Bakowo Zohylina restaurant in Zakopane, which offers regional specialties with folk entertainment.

Day 3 – Tuesday

This morning we travel to Sromowce-Wyzne village to begin our trip on a wooden raft through the Dunajec River Gorge. It is one of the best-known attractions of this region. The daily raft trips have been organized by “gorale,” the highlanders since the early 19th century. After rafting, we travel to Debno Podhalanskie village to visit a timber church where the interior includes unique paintings and precious Gothic sculptures from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The church is on the UNESCO List of World Heritage sites. This afernoon, enjoy free time in Zakopane: go shopping, experience luxurious spa treatments at our hotel or go for a stroll down Krupowki street. To celebrate our second day in beautiful Lesser Poland, we dine at Restaurant Sabala, on Zakopane’s main street as we watch the world go by from a terrace. This night, we celebrate with delicious regional Polish food, drink and music.

Day 4 – Wednesday

Today, we travel to nearby Lopuszna to cook with village women. Using a traditional regional recipe we prepare kwasnica goralsko, highlander sauerkraut soup and other regional specialties, as part of our lunch. Before leaving Lopuszna, we may also visit the 16th-century wooden church and a manor house that accommodates the Noble Culture Museum. Further exploration of this unique area may include a carriage ride and hike to gorgeous Morskie Oko Lake, or learning local crafts at the School of Dying Trades in Bukowina Tatrzanska. We may also visit bacowka, a small mountain shepherd hut, where smoked sheep cheese “oscypek” is made in a traditional way by highlanders. Tonight, for the final meal of our highlander culinary adventure, we dine at the Karczma Czarci Jar restaurant in Zakopane. The restaurant is famous among locals and tourists for its outstanding, hearty regional fare in beautiful Zakopane neighborhood.

Day 5 – Thursday

After an early breakfast, we travel to Krakow, the capital of Lesser Poland, to begin our urban culinary experience. On the way to Krakow, we make a short stop at the city of Nowy Targ to do some shopping at the local open market. Every Thursday, people from the entire region (and even neighboring Slovakia) shop at this famous market. After we check into the luxurious, 4-star Hotel Turowka, located within Krakow’s metropolitan area, where we’ll stay for the next two days, we take a guided tour of the city. Krakow is Poland’s third largest city and escaped the devastation that obliterated other Polish cities during World War II. Its perfectly preserved medieval Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is on the itinerary for this afternoon’s tour. We also visit Market Square, the largest medieval town square in Europe, the 14th-century Wawel Castle and Cathedral, and Kazimierz, former Jewish district. Later, we will also venture to a fresh food market, called Stary Kleparz, a centuries-old tradition. Locals and visitors shop in an unforgettable atmosphere for fresh, traditional Polish food products, which we’ll have an opportunity to taste: breads, cheeses, meats, fruits and vegetables. Krakow is full of restaurants that offer memorable dining experiences. Tonight we dine on modern Polish cuisine at Ancora restaurant, located near the Market Square. Signature dishes by owner/chef Adam Chrzastowski are beautifully presented and of exceptional quality.

Day 6 – Friday

After breakfast, we head to the Culinary Institute in Cracow near Wieliczka for our last cooking class. We’ll learn how to prepare a typical Polish three-course meal with the owner and head chef of the institute, Marek Widomski. After our class we’ll tour the famous Wieliczka Salt Mine, a virtual underground city, with galleries, lakes, chapels and murals – all carved from salt – and a UNESCO World Heritage site. After our Wieliczka tour, you are free to enjoy the sights and shops of Krakow on your own or with our professional guide. Krakow offers a good choice of art, crafts, and souvenirs. We recommend Cepelia store, which has a great selection of quality Polish folk handicrafts. Our Farewell Dinner will be at Wesele restaurant, serving old Polish and Krakow delicacies and specialties located in the heart of Krakow’s Market Square.

Day 7 – Saturday

Depart for your home country after breakfast, or make your own arrangements to stay longer in beautiful Krakow.

Even though our vacations are leisurely, you may want to consider staying an extra night at the Grand and Turowka hotels, located within Krakow’s metropolitan area, before and/or after the trip. You may find that the extra time will make your week even more relaxing and enjoyable.

Vacation Details

What’s Included

  • Six nights accommodations, double-occupancy, with en suite bathroom (four nights at Villa Marilor palace in Zakopane and two nights at the Hotel Turowka, located within Krakow’s metropolitan area).
  • Arrival transfer from Grand Hotel at 10:00 a.m. to Villa Marilor palace in Zakopane
  • Daily breakfast
  • Six dinners
  • Six lunches
  • Local beer, house wine, tea, and coffee with all included meals (Please note that drinks consumed outside of mealtime are not included)
  • Three hands-on and/or demonstration-style cooking lessons
  • White cooking apron with Poland Culinary Vacations logo
  • Excursions to cultural sites, all entrance fees and food artisan visits
  • Rafting through the Dunajec River Gorge
  • Transportation where specified
  • English interpreters
  • All luggage transfers
  • Taxes and service charges

What’s Not Included

  • Airfare or other non-specified transportation to the trip starting point, and from the trip ending point
  • Meals and alcoholic beverages not specified in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as laundry or telephone calls
  • Passport or visa fees
  • End of vacation gratuities for guides (not required, but greatly appreciated)
  • Insurance of any kind

Dates

July 17 – July 23, 2011

August 14 – August 20, 2011

September 11 – September 17, 2011

Plus other future dates to be announced

Cost

Option 1. $2,950 per person, based on double-occupancy ($500 deposit). Single supplement is $350 – program as described above, lodging in four and five star hotels, all meals included.

Option 2. $1475 per person, based on double-occupancy ($500 deposit). Single supplement is $350 – program as described above, lodging in two and three star hotels. Tuesday and Thursday dinner on your own. No specials or discounts apply.

More info and reservations

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