A taste of Poland comes to Israel

Israel's first ever Polish Culinary Week will include a plethora of cultural events around the country celebrating Polish cuisine.

Traditional Polish Borscht (photo credit: Courtesy)
Traditional Polish Borscht
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Prepare to debunk any preconceived notions you may have had about Polish food during Israel’s first ever, Polish Culinary Week. The nine-day long celebration, which starts this Saturday and runs through November 11, features more than 40 cultural and culinary events that will bring both Polish and Israeli traditional and modern recipes together.
The event, started by The Polish Institute in Israel, will take place nationwide. Guests will have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of activities, including cooking workshops, tours and tastings, poetry readings, photography exhibitions and more in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Polish Culinary Week is the artistic brainchild of Arieh Rosen, director of cultural programming at The Polish Institute and food writer Ronit Vered. Festival organizers hope Israelis will rethink their perceptions of Polish food through exposure to both old and new Polish cookery. While Polish cuisine might typically conjure up images of tasteless soups and boring pierogies, events promise to showcase what makes traditional Polish foods so important and what makes modern dishes so enticing.
While the premise of the festival is to help reinvent the idea of "Polish cooking," it will also focus on the impact that Polish food has had on Israeli cuisine. Many Polish Jews migrated to Israel, and the event is a prime opportunity for both Israeli and Polish chefs to interact and share their recipes.
Polish and Israeli cultures will blend together in Haifa on November 2, when pub owner Yoske Pincus shares his kitchen at Ha’Ogen (The Anchor) with top Polish chef Artur Moroz. Pincus, a Dachau concentration camp survivor, was born in southern Poland and bought his restaurant back in the 1960s. Although he is in his mid-80s, Pincus prepares beer and dishes ranging from goulash to pork chops on a daily basis. Moroz owns a restaurant called Bulaj, and is a proponent of raw ingredients. Together, the two will cook their own versions of gefilte fish and casseroles in what will be a blend of both Eastern European and Israeli cooking styles.  
Festival-goers looking to enjoy a few drinks can also dine at a one-of-a-kind tasting dinner being held at Machneyuda, (10 Beit Yaakov Street) a restaurant in Jerusalem, on November 5. The dining experience, called "Arak and Vodka and what’s alongside them," also features Chef Arturo Moroz, The combination of vodka, a principal social beverage amongst Poles, and arak, a staple with mezze, will offer a unique mix of tastes.
If you’re looking to learn a bit more about both Polish and Jewish-Polish dishes, head to the "ABC of the Polish Cuisine" event on November 6 in Tel Aviv (27 Bialik Street). Actors, poets, chefs and other art aficionados and academics will present on Polish cooking ideas, one by one, using a specific letter from the alphabet. They will use different mediums such as video and music to communicate their message. The event, held in part with the Beit Ha’Ir Museum, will feature famed chefs such as Meir Adoni and Omer Miller, and author and journalist Yigal Sarna.
The festival will also offer a multitude of different cultural events including a special Polish poetry reading session in Tel Aviv, a photography exhibition of various dishes and a special night of wine and drinking at a café in Jerusalem.
Those looking to relive the past and learn more about Polish history can take part in the recreation of a historic dinner that was held in Warsaw during the late 19th century. Two chefs will implement the menu at a café in Tel Aviv and diners are urged to dress in appropriate attire.
Music lovers will be pleased to know that the festival will have a special soundtrack, combining both Polish and Israeli music styles. Ten influential musicians from both countries will create music together.
Some events require table reservations. Please be advised that many events are not kosher.
For more information: http://pcw.co.il/eng/