Favourite fruit dishes

Ovocné knedlíky

Welcome to the ABC of Czech, Radio Prague's Czech language course which this season looks at Czech food and cuisine. In today's lesson we'll be talking about some traditional Czech fruit dishes and cakes.

Jablečný štrůdl
Who hasn't heard of apple strudel - jablečný štrůdl or jablečný závin - the central European apple pie with nuts and raisins and cinnamon? Apple strudel is one of those dishes that everyone swears their own mother makes best.

Třešňový koláč
Another favourite fruit pastry that's mainly made in the summer is třešňová bublanina or cherry soufflé, literally cherry bubble cake. When fresh cherries are no longer available, stewed cherries will do. Unfortunately, preserving fruit for the winter seems to be dying out and very few young people know how to do it these days.

My grandmother used to make preserves and jams from all kinds of fruit. Preserved cherries - třešňový kompot, or apricots - meruňkový kompot were never missing on her Sunday table. She also made blackcurrant jam - rybízová marmeláda (note that unlike marmalade, the Czech marmeláda can be made from any fruit, not just citrus fruits).

My granny also made her own syrups in the summer - blackcurrant syrup - rybízový sirup and raspberry syrup - malinový sirup. Add soda water and you get malinová šťáva or malinovka, a lovely refreshing drink in the summer. Children sometimes use the word malinovka to refer to blood - it sounds less scary. In the Slovak language, malinovka means any kind of fizzy non-alcoholic drink.

A traditional Czech fruit dish that should not be forgotten is ovocné knedlíky - fruit dumplings, basically pieces of fruit stuffed in a ball of dough which is then cooked in hot water. They are usually eaten for lunch in the summer. Eating knedlíky sprinkled with caster sugar and with melted butter poured over the dumplings is a childhood memory that's difficult to forget. If you don't know how to make them - you can buy them ready made and frozen.

Ovocné knedlíky
And finally we have two handy idioms for you. Czech sweet dishes are so tasty you wolf them down - slupnete je jako malinu - you gulp them down like a raspberry.

At the end of today's lesson, that idiom was something like třešnička na dortu - the cherry on the cake, or the icing on the cake, in proper English.

We hope you've enjoyed the fruits of our work today and till next week, bye-bye and dobrou chuť - bon appetit.