Krakow’s favourite snack may be about to get a lot more expensive – as obwarzanki sellers struggle to meet a 2,700 per cent increase in the rent for their pitches.
The Old Town, particularly the Market Square, has been home for longer than living memory to stands selling obwarzanki – those savoury hoops of
bread dotted with cheese, salt, sesame or poppy seeds. Under European law, obwarzanki can only be called obwarzanki if they are made in Krakow, and the great majority are sold and consumed in the city.
Traders in tourist hot-spots shift hundreds of the snacks each day, but pay for the privilege of a captive audience. Their daily rent, which was 3.30zł per square metre, is rising to 90zł for the same area. The price hike is happening because the city has decided not to offer automatic lease renewals to long-standing traders, but to auction off premium spaces.
One trader told the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza: “It’s theft! I have worked in that spot for 18 years.” Another said: “The traders got a lesson in ruthless capitalism.”