Sweetness Rules at Go to FoodPark
FoodPark took over Pavilion F of the Brno Exhibition Centre; transformed it into a gastro zone. Czech restaurants and ventures that appear in the 365 Gastromap of Lukáš Hejlík filled one part of the hall and food trucks and world cuisine made up the other two sections. Some of the best food however was more local to Brno. Title photo: Leli’s Cupcakes. Credit: KK / Brno Daily.
Brno, Feb 3 (BD) – The press release touted the Hákari, which is the traditional Iceandic fish-shark cured and dried for several months. It is infamous for its ammonia-rich smell and when I tried it in Iceland, I vowed never to go near it again. There were food demonstrations throughout and restaurants and craft food businesses which are featured in the Gastromap of Lukáš Hejlík. This is an invaluable guide to the Czech food scene. As it was such a huge event I focused mainly on food that is locally available.
If their stand here is anything to go by, Kafana, a café in the Pálava village of Dolní Věstonice, is the place to visit when you are next in the area. At its core, the business is about coffee. Inspired by what they saw in Germany, the founders Michal and Dan started roasting coffee. Look out for their brand QB coffee which you can now find in more than 80 outlets. The third member of the team, Petra is part of the coffee business but also makes nanuky (ice lollies) using locally produced fruit as much as possible and the best quality ingredients.
Their version of the classic Czech lolly has the darkest chocolate covering, creamy tvaroh (quark) and when you bite into it, you hit the sweet tartness of plum jam from Petra’s grandmother. Next, they are planning to open an espresso bar in Brno.
Království Makronek, however, couldn’t be more local to Brno; they are based in Bystrc. As the name suggests, this is all about those hard-to-resist colourful macarons. These are the French almond meringue ‘sandwiches’ and not to be confused with English macaroons.
This is another business that started as a hobby when Irena Doležalová, a former banker, was on maternity leave. As she was bored, she started baking macarons. They were a success with friends, then friends of friends and then she started a business.
The carefully arranged multi-coloured tower just invited you to try one. The little pistachio treat I sampled crumbled lightly the moment I put it in my mouth to reveal a sweet gooey interior that melted in the mouth. There is no retail outlet but are available in Brno to order.
The Sisters’ Café and Bistro, as its name implies, is a family affair. It is run by two sisters in a small village, Ostrovačice, a few kilometres from Brno. They make all the cakes and desserts themselves. Everything looked great and the dessert sprinkled with gold was delicious.
It wasn’t all about sweetness though. Nové Město na Moravě isn’t the first place you think of when looking for Indian cuisine, but think again. The Madan Mohan Indian restaurant is based there but also offers a delivery service to Brno through their website and you will find them at special food events around the region.
Kateřina Čechů explained that they are Hare Krishna so the food they offer is the food they cook for themselves. Here they were presenting a range of sweet and spicy indian snacks and one of the highlights was the crispy spicy papadoms; light and dry with a not too aggressive spicy kick.
The main offering was a vegetable and paneer (Indian cheese) curry with basmati rice. The curry was full of subtle fragrant flavours and delicious.
The curiously named Cheddar Boys turned out to be an incarnation of the Burger Inn in Brno city centre. Set up three years ago by three friends who preferred having their own burger bar to working in a bank. They are linked to the Brno hip hop community. Naturally, I tried the cheddar burger; it was a perfect cheese burger. The beef slightly pink on the inside, flavoursome cheddar, caramelised onions all encased in a fresh bun with the usual trimmings.
From further afield, The Bagel Lounge had been recommended and I was intrigued by their specialty black bagel. This produces a bagel with a lighter texture and went very well with the classic cream cheese and smoked salmon that we tried. However, as they come from Karlovy Vary, you will need to travel to find them.
Leli’s Cupcakes from Prague have 20 plus cupcakes on offer everyday. Leli Hnidáková was inspired when on honeymoon in San Francisco and fell in love with cupcakes. The shop followed a few years later.
That was all we had time for, but it was enough to emphasise the vibrancy of the local food scene in and around Brno. If you have discovered any new food gems in the area, let us know.