Explore Poland travelling the Trail of Historic Recipes
Dozens of destinations worldwide have wine trails, spanning from France and Italy to the continents of South America, Africa and Australia. U.S. Kentucky has its Bourbon Trail, and Mexico has its Tequila Trail.
Now, Poland has The Trail of Historic Recipes, that consists of a series of distilleries, breweries and wineries, spanning the country’s southeastern Carpathian region and northern Slovakia. The just-launched program features 16 facilities so far, most of them family-owned and operated, where you can sample artisanal spirits, beer and wine that are locally produced with recipes that have been passed down through the generations and learn how they are made.
And it is not all about vodka, although some of the distilleries specialise in that spirit. Among the other beverages visitors can taste are traditional liqueurs made with botanicals like nettle, elderberry and Scots pine and distillates - clear spirits that are made by macerating locally grown fruits such as pears or apricots, or herbs, and distilling the juices.
Some breweries on the Trail also operate as full-service restaurants, serving up local cuisine along with beer, including flights of hefeweizen, pale ale, pilsner and other types. Others show you the brewing process on guided tours.
The southeastern Carpathian Province is home to dozens of boutique wineries, as well as Poland’s only viniculture school. Depending on the winery, you’ll taste wines ranging from those made with local grapes to vintages from around the Carpathian region (Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czechia and Romania).
What all the facilities have in common is that their products aren’t distributed in the United States and many European countries, so it’s a rare opportunity to sample artisanal beverages that you can’t buy at your local liquor store. With a few exceptions, visits to most of the distilleries, breweries and wineries must be scheduled in advance.
The wineries dot a picturesque countryside of hills, meadows and centuries-old villages that offer other activities and attractions along the Trail. Among them, you can see how master glassmakers create works of art - and even try your hand at glass-blowing, sample hand-made chocolates, learn calligraphy, pottery-making or local pastry-baking, pedal along railroad tracks on rail bikes, explore centuries of life in the region at the open-air Museum of Folk Architecture, with original, restored structures and artefacts, walk among Soviet and German tanks, planes and other World War II artillery, as well as see a collection of Orthodox church art.
Photo by ATom / Wikipedia Commons