Czech Slovak Festival serves elusive ethnic fare

Unless you have a Bohemian grandmother, the meat-heavy, Slavic cuisine of Slovakia and the Czech Republic is hard to find locally. You might be able to scare up a kolache or two at Kramarczuk's, but otherwise you're in for a drive to New Prague for the excellent Czech roast duck at Schumacher's. "Alas," laments Joe Landsberger, who oversees the upcoming Czech Slovak Sokol festival, "[there are] no Czech or Slovak restaurants in the Twin Cities."

On September 19, though, you'll have your chance to eat your fill during the Czech Slovak festival that takes place at the Highland Park Pavilion in St. Paul, from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. The event is free and will include all the requisite folk music and folk dancing, an appearance by Miss Czech-Slovak MN, and, most importantly, Czech/Slovak food and drink.

Czech/Slovak fare might be characterized as Central European, with similarities to southern German cuisine, Landsberger says. A few highlights from the festival's menu include Moravian chicken paprika with dumplings, Czech pork ribs with dumplings and sauerkraut, Slovakian cabbage rolls, potato and cheese dumplings, and sausages. For desserts, look for walnut and poppyseed potica and several varieties of kolache. They'll have Czech wine and beer, too, but no word if they'll be serving the Czech/Italian liquor Fernet--if so, sample the medicinal brew if you dare, but don't say you weren't warned.

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