Fried Carp, Symbol of Czech Christmas

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Fried Carp, Symbol of Czech Christmas

Besides decorated Christmas tree, fillets of fried carp are undoubtedly one of the most important Christmas symbols in the Czech Republic, though put on the Christmas menu in the course of the 19th century only. Before that time, Czech Christmas was different. Nevertheless, solidarity, abundance of food and folk traditions had always been part of it.

People Used to Fast on Christmas Day

Dominant feature of Czech Christmas is Christmas tree decorated with home-made sweets, gingerbread or wooden, straw or glass decorations. However, most of the Czechs have no idea that the tradition of decorating Christmas trees had come from Germany and was introduced in Czech countries in the course of the 19th century, together with eating fish. Christmas day used to be a day of fasting, until dinner people were eating only modest meals or no food at all, and definitely avoided meat.

Formerly, Freshwater Fish had to be Served with a Sweet Sauce

In the 18th century, fish was a luxurious expensive meal, while festive menu used to be more modest. Carp, tench or catfish, if already served, was prepared very often sweet. For example, the so-called “black carp”, traditional and still preserved recipe, is prepared with plum butter, almonds and nuts; its sauce can even be seasoned with gingerbread.

Christmas Menu Today

Traditional Christmas dinner, served before people start unpacking Christmas presents they will find under the Christmas tree, starts usually with fish soup. Though rather tricky to prepare, this soup with eggs and roe is perceived by many Czechs an indispensable part of the menu. The main course consists of fillets of carp fried in egg batter and bread crumbs, accompanied with potato salad made with root vegetables, eggs, mayonnaise, spices and possibly some other ingredients.
To get the carp meat tender and free of its distinctive fish smell, it is usually dipped in milk; prior to frying it is salted and sprinkled with lemon juice. The meat is then crisp and tasty, the only disadvantage being its tiny bones. Nevertheless, the necessity to eat slowly and watch for the bones will help you enjoy every single bite. Christmas menu with carp and potato salad as well as fish soup is offered in many Food Specials Restaurants. Why don’t you savour the taste of Czech Christmas in one of our restaurants?

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