Check-out the Czech Republic in the Eurodream chocolate box! Hold that thief! A man overpowers a burglar only to find that the police can’t come because they don’t have a car. And a new tradition has been established – a procession of Prague ghosts on Halloween. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarová.
How would the Czech Republic have been represented if a foreign artist had produced Entropa? We’ll never know, but the Swedish presidency has just put out a kinder version on the controversial Czech art piece – commissioning a box of chocolates labeled Eurodream. The box contains 27 pralines with 27 unique flavours each inspired by a member state. The choice was made by chocolate chef John Messinger and the way to taste it, apparently, is to close your eyes –sample each chocolate and guess. France tastes of champagne of course, Poland of vodka, Sweden tastes like a cloudberry, Germany like a hazelnut and Greece is about anise. If your guess is that the Czechs must have been given a beer flavour then guess again because the beer flavour went to Belgium – along with a miniature picture of hops. The Czech Republic is pictured as a potato – which may leave you mystified –but there’s a good explanation. If you bite into the praline you will taste rum or at least the Czech version of rum which had to be renamed after the country’s entry to the EU because it is made of potatoes. Neighbouring Slovakia tastes of brandy –and Bulgaria, mortally offended by its representation as a Turkish toilet in Entropa – has been vindicated and has come out smelling –and tasting - of roses. I think the Swedes have finally made peace within the 27 member block.
The “rybička” or “little fish” folding pocket knife is something that generations of Czechs have grown up with and fondly remember. Once the only pocket knife on the market, the “rybička” is something that fathers gave their sons when they were deemed old enough. Shaped like a fish, complete with scales, fins and tail the little fish has stayed pretty much unchanged for over half a century. And despite the wide variety of top-quality Swiss pocket knives on the market the original Czech product is still going strong. In fact, some people are willing to pay huge sums of money for a luxury version of their prized childhood accessory. A “rybička” made of gilded Damascus steel and silver – selling for nine thousand crowns – has become a hot collectors’ item and you will see top managers choosing one as a gift for a friend – a gift that holds memories of the days they went fishing together as twelve year olds, proudly carrying their first “adult” pocket-knife. Mikov, the firm that has produced millions of little fish since the end of the World War II has long-since expanded its production line to high-quality hunting and kitchen knives exported around the world. But part of its production is always reserved for the little fish which only sells in the Czech Republic.
A new tram model which is gradually expected to replace Prague’s old tram park has not made a highly successful debut in the Czech capital. A short test run around the city revealed a serious deficit – the tram can only go straight. Every time there was even a slight bend it promptly got derailed. The tram was sent back to its producer in Plzeň and the company swears that it is not a systemic error but a one-off mistake affecting just one vehicle. Apparently an employee had put in a longer screw in the chassis than prescribed which prevented the bearings from turning. Let’s hope they are right because Prague is supposed to get 250 of these trams by 2017 which together with the metro should form the backbone of Prague city transport. It would be rather inconvenient if they all crisscrossed the city in straight lines.