I love a food that is so versatile and beloved that it makes up its own food group, how about you?
Well in the Czech Republic, pomazánka may be that food. Appropriately translated as “spread”, pomazánka has a smooth consistency and can be spread or smeared on bread. Its versatility reflects the wide range of ingredients that are used to make it and thus enhance the flavor of other foods.
While pomazánka can be as simple as a single ingredient such as butter or tvaroh, more often it is a smooth mixture of a few savory ingredients such as mayonnaise, cheese, ham, onions, or herbs. Many people have their own recipe that they blend at home, but prepared mixtures are widely available in Brno shops such as lahůdky (deli’s) and supermarkets.
Pomazánka can be eaten throughout the day to add flavor to fresh bread or may serve as the base layer with other ingredients on top like chlebíčky (on the picture below), the open-faced sandwiches that are a Czech specialty.
The key to pomazánka is the smooth, moist consistency, which makes it different from a salad (salát) that contains small chunks of ingredients, or pate which is more of a paste and usually includes meat or liver.
So, get some fresh bread and start spreading the news and flavor of pomazánka. You can consider these recipes, crafting your own mixture, or trying traditional favorites like vajíčková (eggs), budapešťská (paprika). rybičková (sardines) or škvarková (pork cracklings).
The nutritional value of pomazánka will vary significantly depending on your choice of ingredients which may include higher amounts of less healthy fats and salt, so consider pairing it with some whole grain bread and vegetables, and spread it wisely.
Please help spread the news about pomazánka and share your favorite way to savor this Czech specialty.
Recipes in English:
The article was written by Victoria Hawk, PhD, RD – an American Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with more than 15 years of clinical and research experience. She recently completed her PhD whilst living in Brno with her husband Jon, who is working here on an expat assignment. Victoria enjoys learning about local foods and plans to share her experience through this blog series.
Special thanks to Hanele Martinez and Martin Krobot for their contributions to this posting.