Poland is a place where culinary traditions of several nations have coexisted and mixed through the centuries. This is still visible in today's Polish cuisine. But there are some elements of this old and valuable legacy which are quite obscure even to the Poles themselves.
Prince Charles and Dzenetta Bogdanowicz (source: AFP)
This is certainly the case with Tatar dishes. Today's Tatars are descendants of a Mongolian people which belonged to the Genghis Khan's empire and then came to Europe. From the 14th century on some of them were permitted to settle in Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, usually in return for military service.
Today there are about 3000 Tatars in Poland. They have their own traditions, e.g. they're mostly Muslims, and what's most important for us - their own cuisine.
On March 16th, Prince Charles had a rare oppotunity of meeting Polish Tatars and tasting their dishes in the village of Kruszyniany in North-Eastern Poland. And he seemed to really enjoy that opportunity. The Prince of Wales visited the house of Ms Dzenneta Bogdanowicz, who runs a small restaurant. He was treated with such dishes as pierekaczewnik (a kind of beef pie in the shape of crescent moon), pieremacze (similar to Polish pierogis or Italian ravioli stuffed with beef and mutton), cebulniki (a somwhat different kind of pierogis) and listkowiec cake. The drinks included "syta" made from water, honey and lemon, as well as mint tea and cardamom coffee.
Enjoying Tatar Food in Kruszyniany (source: PAP)
Ms Bogdanowicz says Prince Charles liked her meal, especially the pierekaczewnik. We have no doubt he did. Just please don't ask us how exactly those Tatar dishes taste. We admit we haven't tasted it yet. But we promise to catch up on that. Meanwhile if you happen to be in Eastern Poland - visit Kruszyniany and taste some Polish Tatars' Food!