Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Coffee and Bagels?? Yes please.

I was in my Polish Literature class yesterday, when our conversation took a turn to a more historical discussion. We mentioned Jan Sobieski III when my professor all of a sudden said, “Who here likes coffee? Who here cannot go a morning without drinking a cup of coffee?” Majority of the students in my class, including myself, raised our hands high. I do not function in the morning without a cup of joe. It is really quite sad actually.

Well, apparently, it was a Polish man by the name of Jerzy Kulczycki who opened one of the first cafés in Vienna, and apparently one of the first ones in Europe. Kulczycki was gifted coffee beans leftover from the Ottoman Empire during the Battle of Vienna. With these small delicious, highly addicting beans, Kulczycki opened the first café, named Hof zur Blauen Flasche (House under the Blue Bottle.) This little shop became a hot spot in Vienna. He remains a coffee hero, especially to Viennese coffee houses, as well as Polish coffee connoisseurs.

So the next time you are sipping on the delicious cup of coffee (as I am right now), remember, chances are Kulczycki made it possible for you to drink it. Yes, thank Poland for that delicious morning necessity. I know I will.

Also, if you are ever in Krakow, Poland and you happen to be searching for a delicious cup of coffee, under the guidance of my Lit. Professor, go to Pożegnanie z Afryka. This café apparently has the best coffee in all of Krakow, and is reasonably priced. I will surely be venturing there this week and will report back with my thoughts.

Now, with this new found knowledge of Poles and coffee, I want you to picture this. You are sitting at your kitchen table, enjoying that delicious cup of coffee, perhaps in a Kulczycki commemorative mug and what is sitting on the plate next to said mug? Is it a warm, slightly crispy bagel with some cream cheese? Well, if it is you can just call yourself a Polish loving person. Because indeed, Bagels were in fact created by Poles.... in KRAKOW... in the early 17th Century. This carb filled delicacy became a quick staple in Poles diet.

With this new found glory of Polish creations, I hope every morning when are enjoying a wonderful breakfast you raise your mug and bagel to the Poles.

There are bagel stands all over Krakow. My heart belongs to the one right next to my foreign language school. The woman there knows me now and knows what kind of bagel I always choose... z serem (with cheese). Actually, one day it appeared that there were no more bagels with cheese left so I was content with getting a sesame seed bagel, when all of a sudden she looked at me, pulled out a cheese one and said Jeden. Just one left... for me?? She smiled and handed me the bagel. She officially is the best bagel lady in all of Krakow.