Eat The City: A Sweet Tooth in Krakow

People have different coping strategies. Some embrace the chance to get drunk a bit too enthusiastically, others smoke their lungs out or succumb to the temptations of substances of many kinds. There is yet another group of people, of which I myself am a proud representative – the sugar lovers. They say a person who likes sweets has a sweet tooth – I must have a whole jaw of them.

The thing is, when I was a little girl, Poland was not a country with many sweet delicacies to choose from. The 1980s were a difficult time, and lots of people decided to go abroad to work, thus providing their families with delicious treats of whose existence others had no idea. I remember my father working in Budapest, coming back home with round chewing gums that I took delight in devouring. Their taste was rather unappealing, if not chemical, but for me they were simply great. Obviously, we had our own sweets in Poland – my favourite was Twardowska chocolate. I still remember its checkered black-and-white wrapping. I must have eaten kilos of it, only to learn 15 years later that what I had found so yummy, hadn’t even been chocolate in the first place. That was one of the worst days of my life. The disappointment! The horror!

But to the point: whether it was Twardowska or the Hungarian chewing gum, or any other treat, like Elitesse chocolate bars, they were the greatest rewards I could get as a child. My mind created a link: if Kasia behaves well, or gets good grades at school, or does whatever her parents ask her, Kasia gets a treat. This tactic simply never failed. In this way, a sweet-loving child has become a sweet-loving woman. The only difference is that now I don’t need to do anything to deserve a treat. It works both ways – if I succeed at something it calls for a treat celebration; if I fail, I boost my morale with a treat.

Of course, there is a drawback – it’s addictive. And Krakow in 2014 doesn’t help! Very recently, the Massolit Bookstore opened a new café with original American recipes on ul. Smoleńsk 17. Not so long ago, The Candy Shop opened on ul. Floriańska 40. Just try a tiny bite of the pistachio fudge they sell – it will take you 30 seconds to devour a whole cube of it. Have you ever had the feeling that dinner was great, but you crave something sweet – avoid Cupcake Corner at all costs. Their cupcakes are simply mind-blowing. And it’s all the more difficult to ignore them because they now have three branches: Bracka 4, Michałowskiego 14, and Grodzka 60. We are surrounded! Add to that the haunting image of a white-chocolate mousse with raspberries in Farina at Św. Marka 16 and I have to take real care not to start drooling over this keyboard.

So how can we employ the power of treats to cope with everyday problems without tripling in weight? I deal with this issue by working out a lot. That used to be combined with a 100 percent healthy diet too but, let’s face it, I wasn’t happy swapping tiramisu for baby carrots. Who would be? I often hear that I look happiest when eating desserts and that it’s a joy to behold, which means I make both myself and other people happy. A win-win!

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