More than 50,000 dumplings take part in fifth annual Pierogi Festival in course of two days

The fifth annual Pierogi Festival last weekend was surely a joyous moment for local pierogi fans. At the festival on pl. Szczepanski, eight restaurants prepared more than 40 variations of the Polish dumplings and served them in stalls on one of the Old Town squares. Krakow residents and tourists lined up to taste as many as possible. And they’ve chosen their favorites. On Saturday, pierogi filled with apples and rose petals were voted the best. Only 310 of the thousands of the festival participants took part in the voting, and 51 of them favored the specialties of Krolestwo Pierozka (Pierogi Kingdom) Restaurant. The Pierogi Kingdom repeated last year’s success when the restaurant also won the audience’s hearts. And the trophy, a sculpture of Karzmierz the Great, the 14th-Century king of Poland, will remain at the restaurant for another year. The pierogi lovers also appreciated dumplings with spinach from Polskie Smaki (Polish Tastes) Restaurant (second place) and traditional meat-filled pierogi of Smakosz (Gourmet) Restaurant (third place). On Sunday, another title for the tastiest pierogi was given – this time by a jury led by Artur Zyrkowski from the promotion department of the Krakow City Council. The sculpture of Saint Hyacinth, who according to an old tale brought a pierogi recipe to Krakow in the 12th Century, was claimed by rookies in the pierogi contest who had placed second in the public voting. The Polskie Smaki’s spinach dish was rated as near perfection, receiving a total of 48 points from the five jurors. Each of them could award a maximum of 10 points. The second-place pierogi with groats and roasted bacon from Bohema Restaurant got 44 points, while the audience winner, Pierogi Kingdom, scored 43. The results have been also confirmed by the demand for the prize-winning specialities. Several meters-long lines led to the stalls of the Krolestwo Pierozka and Polskie Smaki. Everyone who wanted to taste their pierogis had to wait more than 20 minutes. According to organizers of the event, more than 50,000 dumplings were eaten during the weekend. This year’s edition of the pierogi festival was celebrated in conjunction with the 750th anniversary of the death of the Catholic Saint Hyacinth, a medieval Polish member of the Dominican Order. Apart from the pierogi tasting, several concerts and tours of the Dominican monastery in Krakow were conducted. What are pierogi? Pierogi are dumplings made of unleavened dough filled with ground meat, fruit, or other foods. The dumplings are boiled or sometimes fried. They are usually semi-circular and quite small and thus served in large numbers. A local version of pierogi is present in almost every eastern European cuisine. They are called “pyrohy”‘ in the Ukraine, “koldunai” in Lithuania and “pirogi” in Russia. Ironically, the most popular stuffed dumplings in Poland are called “pierogi ruskie” (Russian pierogi). They are filled with cottage cheese and mashed potatoes and served with fried onions or bacon. Another popular Polish dish is pierogi filled with sauerkraut, cabbage and mushrooms or ground meat, all of them usually spiced with lots of black pepper. “Uszka” (little ears) are small dumplings filled with mushrooms only. Served with a spicy soup made of beet roots (“barszcz”), the dish is served traditionally on Christmas Eve. Pierogi may also be sweet when stuffed with fruits. The most typical come with blackberries and strawberries and are served poured with sweet cream. Pierogi fillings are limited only by the cook’s creativity, and it’s impossible to count the number of regional variations. But always the dough is a key to success – the same as with pizza. The word “pierogi” is the plural form of “pierog.” However, the singular form is not used often because the dish usually consists of at least six or eight pieces.
 
Michal WojtasStaff JOURNALIST
The fifth annual Pierogi Festival last weekend was surely a joyous moment for local pierogi fans. At the festival on pl. Szczepanski, eight restaurants prepared more than 40 variations of the Polish dumplings and served them in stalls on one of the Old Town squares. Krakow residents and tourists lined up to taste as many as possible. And they’ve chosen their favorites. On Saturday, pierogi filled with apples and rose petals were voted the best. Only 310 of the thousands of the festival participants took part in the voting, and 51 of them favored the specialties of Krolestwo Pierozka (Pierogi Kingdom) Restaurant. The Pierogi Kingdom repeated last year’s success when the restaurant also won the audience’s hearts. And the trophy, a sculpture of Karzmierz the Great, the 14th-Century king of Poland, will remain at the restaurant for another year. The pierogi lovers also appreciated dumplings with spinach from Polskie Smaki (Polish Tastes) Restaurant (second place) and traditional meat-filled pierogi of Smakosz (Gourmet) Restaurant (third place). On Sunday, another title for the tastiest pierogi was given – this time by a jury led by Artur Zyrkowski from the promotion department of the Krakow City Council. The sculpture of Saint Hyacinth, who according to an old tale brought a pierogi recipe to Krakow in the 12th Century, was claimed by rookies in the pierogi contest who had placed second in the public voting. The Polskie Smaki’s spinach dish was rated as near perfection, receiving a total of 48 points from the five jurors. Each of them could award a maximum of 10 points. The second-place pierogi with groats and roasted bacon from Bohema Restaurant got 44 points, while the audience winner, Pierogi Kingdom, scored 43. The results have been also confirmed by the demand for the prize-winning specialities. Several meters-long lines led to the stalls of the Krolestwo Pierozka and Polskie Smaki. Everyone who wanted to taste their pierogis had to wait more than 20 minutes. According to organizers of the event, more than 50,000 dumplings were eaten during the weekend. This year’s edition of the pierogi festival was celebrated in conjunction with the 750th anniversary of the death of the Catholic Saint Hyacinth, a medieval Polish member of the Dominican Order. Apart from the pierogi tasting, several concerts and tours of the Dominican monastery in Krakow were conducted. What are pierogi? Pierogi are dumplings made of unleavened dough filled with ground meat, fruit, or other foods. The dumplings are boiled or sometimes fried. They are usually semi-circular and quite small and thus served in large numbers. A local version of pierogi is present in almost every eastern European cuisine. They are called “pyrohy”‘ in the Ukraine, “koldunai” in Lithuania and “pirogi” in Russia. Ironically, the most popular stuffed dumplings in Poland are called “pierogi ruskie” (Russian pierogi). They are filled with cottage cheese and mashed potatoes and served with fried onions or bacon. Another popular Polish dish is pierogi filled with sauerkraut, cabbage and mushrooms or ground meat, all of them usually spiced with lots of black pepper. “Uszka” (little ears) are small dumplings filled with mushrooms only. Served with a spicy soup made of beet roots (“barszcz”), the dish is served traditionally on Christmas Eve. Pierogi may also be sweet when stuffed with fruits. The most typical come with blackberries and strawberries and are served poured with sweet cream. Pierogi fillings are limited only by the cook’s creativity, and it’s impossible to count the number of regional variations. But always the dough is a key to success – the same as with pizza. The word “pierogi” is the plural form of “pierog.” However, the singular form is not used often because the dish usually consists of at least six or eight pieces.
 

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