Exploring the Easter Markets in Krakow

There’s no better time to travel to Poland than at Easter, when the country blossoms with color in a cultural and religious celebration. In the days leading up to Holy Week, the Main Market Square in Krakow fills with colorful market stalls selling all kinds of interesting items, from dyed flowers to painted eggs, clocks and teacups.

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One of the highlights of the Krakow Easter markets, as with most markets is… the food! The delicious scents waft through the air, surrounding you with temptations of fried cheese and pierogi among the bright spring colors.

A frequent sight (and smell!) at the Easter markets is the fried oscypek, or smoked sheep’s cheese, that’s fried in butter right over the grill in front of you and then served with a perfectly complimentary cranberry sauce.

Pierogi! These little Polish dumplings are filled with everything from potato to meat, cheese, sauerkraut or fruit, then boiled and fried in butter. They’re so small, they’re meant to be eaten many at a time, which is why we use the plural “pierogi” instead of the singular “pierog!”

On the sweet side, many varieties of Polish Easter cakes and pastries are widely consumed around this time of year. Makowiec, or poppy-seed cake, is a very traditional Polish yeast cake stuffed with minced poppy and covered with icing. Because the poppy represents a bountiful harvest, eating the cake is thought to bring luck!

Paczki are Polish donuts, round and spongy and filled with a variety of sweet flavors such as strawberry, chocolate, sweet curd cheese or even liqueur. They’re fried in oil until they’re deep golden, then sprinkled with powdered sugar. These are another “lucky” pastry to eat in Polish culture!

Another very traditional Polish Easter cake is Mazurek, which is essentially a shortbread tart. It’s usually very sweet and dense, and filled with fruit preserves. You’ll probably find it cut into very small pieces, because it’s so sweet and rich that it’s impossible to eat too much of it at one time!

So if you find yourself wandering through Central Europe around Easter time, Poland’s Easter markets will surely get you in the spirit of the season. The only problem is figuring out what to do with all of those adorable painted eggs you will undoubtedly acquire during your stay!

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