Wesołych Świąt! Christmas Eve or Wigilia is the most festive holiday in Poland celebrated in the company of those dearest to us. An unforgettable evening of food and song, guests will dine on traditional Polish Christmas dishes, learn about old Polish customs while tapping their feet to the tune of classic Polish folk music and carols performed live by host Maria Rozynska and accompanied by the ever-talented Ewelina Ferenc from Polky Village Band.
Guests will enjoy traditional Polish Christmas Eve recipes passed down from Maria’s family. As per tradition, wafers (opłatetki) are divided between guests, who exchange greetings and well wishes. Most of the dishes served are cooked only once a year, specifically for this special day; this is a unique opportunity to experience a truly authentic Polish Christmas dinner,
Śledzie (Smoked Herring) – Slowly marinated in olive oil with chopped onions, garlic and bay leaves, it’s the traditional starter at any Polish holiday meal, served with fresh light rye bread
Christmas Red Borscht (Beetroot Soup) – Christmas Eve dinner often starts with red borscht and requires a sour base (kwas) which is made a few days in advance. Flavorful and slightly sweet, this beet and cabbage broth is served over freshly made uszka, or mini dumplings, filled with traditional wild Polish borowik mushrooms straight from the forests of Poland.
Christmas Fried Carp – The tradition of carp farming in Poland is at least 700 hundred years old but only became a prominent part of Polish culinary traditions after World War II. Today it is the Christmas Eve must-have for many families. Brined to add plumpness and marinated in a lemony sauce, the carp is then fried on high and served over a bed of arugula and roasted baked potatoes with a splash of dressing.
Braised Sauerkraut with White Beans – Polish Christmas Eve is redolent with the smell of sauerkraut since it’s an absolute must-have on the holiday table, whether in a filling for pierogis or on its own as a delicious side dish. Cooked for several hours with the addition of dried forest mushrooms and tiny white beans, this sauerkraut recipe is true Polish soul food.
Kutia – This sweet wheat berry, poppy seed and honey pudding with roasted walnuts and almonds was perceived as a special holy dish and eaten only on special occasions. Nowadays, it’s prepared only for Christmas Eve.
Kompot – A non-alcoholic sweet beverage prepared from several kinds of dried fruit
A self-taught cook, Maria Rozynska grew up in a Polish household observing her mother, grandmother and great grandmother knead, roll, shape, mallet and whisk consistently yummy Polish cuisine picking up generations of knowledge. They were recipes traditions worth talking about and ones Maria wanted to spread. What started as a passion turned into a business. Through her cooking school Just Be Cooking, Maria now teaches others how to make their own traditional Polish food while singing songs from the Polish Highlands in order to keep alive her families recipes and traditions.
Polky Village Band is professional Polish folk band in Toronto performing traditional Polish folk songs and dances using traditional Polish instruments at numerous cultural events in the GTA. Their repertoire, comprised of songs that singer Ewelina Ferenc learned growing up in Poland, can move just about anyone to dance — even those with two left feet!
See you there!