June Abroad 2011: Food and drink in the Czech Republic

View from Italian restaurant

View from Italian restaurant

In our pre- trip studies of Spain and the Czech Republic an interesting statistic stood out to our class. Spain has the largest per capita consumption of food throughout all of Europe and the Czech Republic has the largest per capita consumption of beer. We were guessing that food and drink might be an important cultural element in these two countries.

So, in addition to what we’ve been sharing about our company visits, we also need to tell you about what we are experiencing from a food and drink standpoint here in Prague.

Over the past four days, the Czechs have confirmed their pride in their beer. Every person you meet–in the hotels, in company visits, in the square in the evenings—they ALL ask you what you think about Czech beer. We’ve heard stories about U.S. companies who have stolen Czech beer names (ahem…Budweiser…who “borrowed” its name from a Czech beer with the same name from a Czech city with the same name…I knew the name “Budweiser” didn’t sound American…☺). Other more general beer types and brews have taken their name from Czech beers (Pilsner…also a beer from a Czech city of the same name). The beer here is cheaper than water—literally — and about the same price as a bottle of Coke.

One of my favorite things in Prague thus far has been sitting in an outdoor café on Old Town Square, surrounded by buildings and churches and clocks that were there long before the United States even existed, and enjoying conversation with a Czech beer.

Today, I tried the Czech version of Coke or Pepsi called Kofola. Our tour guide recommended it and said it was more popular than Coke or Pepsi in the Czech Republic. The cola had a mix of tastes—mostly orange and liquorish. Not my favorite drink I’ve had here thus far, but it was good to get another taste of Czech culture.

Though Spain is more known for its food than the Czech Republic, we have enjoyed great cuisine here. Ethnic restaurants (Italian, North African, Thai, Mediterranean) have been just as good as the typical Czech ones (mostly pork, potatoes and bread…also very good, though). Last night, we enjoyed dinner at an Italian place on the water overlooking the Prague Castle and the St. Charles Bridge. The atmosphere was incredible, the food was great and check out the view!  As soon as I finish typing this, we are headed tonight to a Mediterranean restaurant recommended by our tour guide that is near the Prague Castle. We’re hoping that we can sit outside and have a nice view of the castle again from the restaurant tonight. (as you can tell, for me, the view is just as important in our dining experiences as is the food and drink)

Tomorrow, we head to Spain to enjoy what Barcelona has to offer. We’ll send out a blog on our experiences there soon. So far, the trip has been an incredible experience!

Written by: Jason Douglas

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