Głąbik krakowski back on the tables

Głąbik krakowski [a variety of stem lettuce] - this, once popular, lettuce in Krakow has a chance to make a comeback on people’s plates. And in a grand style, with the help of great chefs. And all this thanks to the cooperation of the Krakow City Office, the implementer of the SLOW FOOD CE project and the Krakow Trade Fair, the organizer of the HORECA® International Hotel and Gastronomy Equipment Trade Fair.

Głąbik krakowski back on the tables
Photo Targi w Krakowie

Głąbik krakowski is a variety of lettuce. It was seeded in March and planted in April so that it could be harvested before the more delicate cucumbers appeared. Their scapes were cut at the very ground, at the moment when they begin to form flower buds. They were eaten drizzled with vinegar and olive oil and seasoned with salt, cooked and served with butter, but above all pickled. It once had been a very popular vegetable in Krakow, and it disappeared from the tables several decades ago.
- As part of the Slow Food CE project, the City of Krakow will promote selected regional products and encourage residents and tourists to taste them, while restaurateurs and hoteliers will serve them. Głąbik krakowski is one of the products which could be, next to the bagel, a culinary symbol of Krakow. A symbol fully consistent with the idea of the slow food movement - cultivated in close proximity to the city and by small farms, and prepared on the basis of traditional recipes - says Katarzyna Opoczka from the Krakow City Office.
"Krakow Łoczyga. The species of vegetable lettuce has been seeded in two of our  neighboring villages, Czarna and Nowa, since time immemorial, and commonly known as głąbik. Głąbik krakowski, as is characteristic of our city only, together with other vegetable plants, commonly called włoszczyzna [Italian vegetables], sold on the market, are healthy and widely liked vegetables. (…) The people of Krakow used to use, i.e. pickled scapes, which, especially in hot weather, are delicious, pleasantly sour, refreshing, cooling and easy to digest; for this reason too, both in richer homes and in rural mud huts, they were eaten almost every day, especially since the acidic liquid in which they are pickled, became a pleasant and refreshing drink. The lettuce, just when there are not enough ground cucumbers, is already well grown, it replaces them and it is eaten with boiled meat. Nothing easier than pickling głąbiki, it is enough to place them peeled in a clay or wooden dish, cover with boiled lukewarm water, add a piece of rye bread, season with salt and fresh dill for the aroma. (...) Pickled głąbiki become yellowish. Głąbiki, when the pickling is done, can be stored for no longer than three days. (...)" Florian Sawiczewski wrote in "News about łoczyga in general, and about Krakow łoczyga in particular" (Krakow, 1840).
Thanks to the organizer of the International Trade Fair for Hotel and Gastronomy Equipment HORECA® which will be held at EXPO Krakow on November 20-22, głąbik will go to great Krakow restaurants. As part of the "Tradition striking" campaign, they invited ten renowned chefs to cooperate: Grzegorz Fico - Albertina Restaurant & Wine, Marcin Filipkiewicz - Copernicus Restaurant, Łukasz Ciche - Biała Róża Restaurant, Michał Cienki - Art Restaurant, Leszek Kawa - EURO-TOQUES Poland, Miłosz Kowalski - Halicka Eatery & Bar Restaurant, Paweł Krasa - Bottiglieria 1881, Tomasz Leśniak - Bistro Bene, Nota Resto by Tomasz Leśniak, Marcin Socha - Mavericks Cracow Restaurant, Huberta Tabak - Halicka Eatery & Bar Restaurant. The chefs met in June on a field being part of the JeDynie farm in the village of Wawrzeńczyce to jointly plant nearly 300 seedlings. – It seems that głąbik krakowski has a chance to become a new culinary symbol of Krakow. This is a true revolution. Thanks to the commitment of chefs who are famous for unusual and bold combinations, we will soon be able to find głąbik in the menu of the Malopolska Region restaurants. - said Tomasz Krupa, Deputy Commissioner of the Fair.
- It is good that głąbik is coming back to Krakow tables. It is difficult to say why it was forgotten. We import lettuce from all over the world, and having such a great product as głąbik krakowski, we have not been able to appreciate it so far. Tourists coming to Poland crave such dishes - noted Leszek Kawa, a member of EURO-TOQUES Polska. - The name of the vegetable inspired me to participate in the campaign. I have never come across głąbik before, hence my curiosity and willingness to participate. I think it's a great undertaking. I want to learn about new products that I could use at my restaurant - said Marcin Filipkiewicz, chef of the Copernicus Restaurant. There is also surprise expressed by a representative of the young generation of chefs, Michał Cienki, a chef at the Art Restaurant. - Neither I nor my colleagues have heard of głąbik krakowski before. I am glad that such types of products are coming back, all the more so since they are identified with our region. Thanks to such initiatives, we can expand our kitchen capabilities and range.
The harvesting of the lettuce is scheduled for early August. Chefs have a lot of time to think about how to prepare it. - We are looking forward to the results, because to be honest I have never dealt with such a vegetable. It will be nice to come back and see how it grows. When the right moment comes, we will pick it up to later use it in our own way. It will probably be included in the menu. - said Łukasz Cichy, a chef at the White Rose Restaurant, after the field meeting.

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News author: Magdalena Wójcik
News Publisher: Culinary Krakow
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