NEWS, UPDATES & SUCH!

Dear Followers!

First of all  – apologies for not updating the news on our website too often. In between cooking, frying and baking new stuff, we underestimated the interest of anyone outside China in our little brand. Therefore, we mainly focused on local media.However, havaing received the feedback that we neglect the website readers, we are back on it!

Today we would like to share with you the updates on the menu and the events we organize at Pierogi Ladies house!

1.STEWS ALL WINTER!

Bigos aka Hunter Stew : sauerkraut, cabbage, pork, bacon, tomato sauce, plums, mushrooms and wine

 

We understand that no matter how much you love pierogi, only them are not enough! That’s why to keep you all warm all winter, we added bigos and lecho to our menu!

Lecho : bell peppers, onions , sausage with tomato passata and spices!

 

 

2.NEW PIEROGI FLAVORS!

It’s 2017 and only white pierogi are not enough to stay in pierogi game! That’s why here’s what we added!

( FYI : At the moment we have 15 flavors in total!)

#1 Shrekopierogi

Pierogi with green skin, stuffed with feta cheese  plus black & green olives, served with tomatoes!

#2 Hong – rogi

Just a quick reminder that ‘hong’  stands for beloved in China ˜’red’.

Hong rogi have evolved, and although at the beginning we planned to  fill them with barley, goat cheese and mint, we decided to change their destiny and the new stuffing contains mozzarella cheese, chicken and sage.

#3Thanksgiving pierogi

We could not ignore this important Holiday as we are definitely thankful for all the Pierogi Ladies fans and we decided to show our appreciation by creating these yellow babies! They hide Thanksgiving signature turkey stuffing with turkey and of course cranberry sauce on top!

#4Pie – rogi

Turned out that our customers started getting convinced to fruity flavors so we added pie- rogi : stuffed with apples mixed with cinnamon and caramel and covered with warm caramel sauce!

3.Pie

What’s a full meal without a proper dessert!

We are gradually adding more and more family-recipe based pies, and 2 that are on the menu already are classic Polish apple pie aka ‘szarlotka’ and  and plum pie

4.COLD SNACKS

We listened to the feedback that our dear customers would love to see some˜lighter™ snacks as well, that’s why whenever you are not starving, but still feel like a bite with the craft beer, we offer either a plate of cold cut skewers, or sliced ham, cheese and sausage. Or you can just get our home made pickles, full of vitamins and natural probiotics!( PS We also sell small small jars of these precious treasures!)

5.BIG BEER AND DRINK SELECTION

We have stepped up the game with our beer and drink selection!

You can find a lot of interesting beer and cider flavors in our fridges , for example our top seller Moody Tongue or pear&berry cider!

We are also proud to introduce our own drink inventions!

Heike Goes Nuts –  based on Heike Mate, Malibu and Prosecco or Moscow Mate – Heike Mate, Vodka & Ginger Syrup

6.BUY 1 GET 1 FREE MONDAYS ( FROM 7-9 PM!)

Because sharing is caring and we do care about our pierogi fans!

7.GAME NIGHTS WITH HOT WINE AND HOT BEER ON WEDNESDAYS!

It is healthy and refreshing to put down your smartphones sometimes ( yes we know – it is difficul, but try!).We have collected a few fun board games AND we also have POKER SET! Bring your group of friends or make new ones at Pierogi house as you roll the dice and sip on the house special mulled beer or wine at a discounted price!

8.COMEDY NIGHTS ON THURSDAYS!

The world’s best medicine to cure anything is laughter ( we are sure you can find lots of scientific studies proving THAT!).Having that in mind, we invited Shanghai’s funniest comedians to provide you with healthy dose of laughter every Thursday evening!

9.FREE FLOW WEEKENDS!

Although we work in F&B where sometimes every day feels like a weekend, we do remember that TGIF feeling from our ’past lives’ and to help you celebrate with our super free flow deal!

10.ANDRZEJKI AKA ST ANDREW’S DAY!

The  spiritual character of this period was appreciated by the Christianity and St Andrew’s Day coincides  with the start of Advent in the Catholic Church . Advent, lasting until Christmas, is the time of reflection, and prayer to  develop spiritual contact with God.

St Andrew’s Eve was  traditionally  the last day when dancing parties were permitted and so it  became the  ideal time for telling the future. Naturally St Andrew became a patron  of young girls as a confidant  of  their hopes and prayer for getting married. The tradition of Andrzejki fortune  telling was noted  in 16th century and is still known and practised in all regions in Poland., although nowadays  the ceremony has lost  a lot of its  magical and serious character and has been transformed   into  fun and games during  St Andrew parties arranged by young people.

Expect wax pouring and many other attractions at Pierogi Ladies on November 30!

11.POLISH GATHERINGS

Since this is official now that Pierogi Ladies house has become Underground Polish consulate, we have taken over the monthly Polish meetings and from now on, the Poles from all walks of life gather at Pierogi Ladies on every second Friday of the month, starting at 6pm.

12.SPEED DATIN EVENT IN EARLY DECEMBER

No details yet, but get ready ! We believe that our cosy Pierogi House has a great vibe to find your match!

13.CHRISTMAS DINNER & CHRISTMAS ORDERS

Polish Christmas dinners are epic and we will be accepting bookings for Christmas Eve free flow dinner, with lots of Polish specials.

14.YOU CAN RENT  & BOOK OUR LITTLE VENUE FOR PRIVATE GATHERINGS!

That’s right! If you wish to have a private gathering in our venue,  it is also possible! PM us directly for details! ( 30 people max!)

What’s more- we can be very flexible with menu list plus we can offer special discounts for big groups!

15. WE HAVE A PIEROGI CAT – MIELONKA!

Meet the third Pierogi Lady aka  Mielonka ( which in Polish means ‘MINCED MEAT/MEATBALL)the mascot of the venue who joined Winston the pug on our grounds!

Beware! She loves humans, but is not the biggest fan of the big dogs . We are still working with her on the attitude !

If you live in China and are fluent with the WeChat world, please let us know and we will ad you to our PierogiLove wechat community for daily updates on our little brand!

 

Don’t forget that you can also follow us on Facebook – Pierogi Ladies or Instagram – pierogiladies

LATEST UPDATES & WIN A DINNER FOR 2!

Dear Shanghai Citizens!

Welcome back after summer! We hope that all of you had lots of adventures and unforgettable experiences, but most importantly –  that you recharged your batteries to have enough power to work hard and play even harder in our beautiful city!

As for Pierogi Ladies, the last two months brought one major change for our little brand and a few extra additions to our offer, so it’s about time to officially share the news with you!

#1 We officially took over That One Place so the cozy venue in 273Jiaozhou Road #10 will soon see the change of logo outside! We will be more than happy to open our doors and offer special deals on food &drinks for various communities’ events, gatherings, private parties or anything else you would like to celebrate with our help!

#2 For all of you to enjoy that fast and furious vibe, every Monday from 7-9 pm we are screening The Grand Tour with BUY 1 GET 1 FREE pierogi set!

#3 We teamed up with some of Shanghai’s funniest people, and every Thursday 7 30 pm – 9 we are hosting POP UP COMEDY with BUY 1 GET 1 FREE DRINK AND 10% OFF ON FOOD!

#4 We are offering a regular discount if you visit us as a group of minimum 8 people! All of you get 15% discount on food and house drinks for 35RMB!

#5 WE HAVE A NEW FLAVOR BUT….WE CAN’T DECIDE ON THE FUN NAME TO GO WITH IT!

The stuffing is white sausage with marjoram and we hope that YOU our dear customers could help us  come up with something creative! We are giving you time till September 13th. The winner, whose ideas appeals to us the most, will get 200 RMB WORTH DINNER ( food and drinks included!) Bring it on!

10 TRADITIONAL DISHES OF POLISH EASTER

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White sausage, rye soup, cakes with poppy seed or cottage cheese: the numerous traditional Easter delicacies in Poland are surprising, sophisticated and inspired by Spring.

Biała kiełbasa (Bya-wah keew-basa)

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Easter is a feast of smoked meats and ham, where biała kiełbasa takes centre stage. Biała kiełbasa – white sausage – is an unsmoked minced pork sausage (with the addition of beef and veal) covered in a thin layer of pork casings and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and marjoram. Whether it’s in the żurek or amongst the food samples carried in the Easter basket, white sausage is mostly served boiled, sometimes with horseradish, mustard, or ćwikła (horseradish-beetroot relish).

Żurek (Zhoo-rek)

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Żurek, or żur is a soup made of home-made or store-bought sourdough from rye flour. It’s garnished with boiled white sausage and boiled egg halves. In remote times, żurek and herring were the main pre-Easter Lent fasting food staples. By the time of Holy Saturday, sick and tired of these dishes, people would give them a festive burial.
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A pot with the soup would be either buried in the ground or spilled. When it’s not attending a funeral, żurek is consumed all year round.

Eggs

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As long as you like your eggs, you’ll be fine. The egg symbolises new life and Christ’s resurrection. Polish egg-related traditions include colouring, blessing them as part of the Easter basket in church, sharing the blessed eggs while wishing each other all the best for the year ahead and eating them with different seasoning. They’re served boiled, stuffed, fried or with mayo – there’s no getting away from them. The decorative devilled egg is a hard-boiled egg, halved andfilled with a mixture of the yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, onion and horseradish cream.

Śledź (Shledzh)

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Śledź i.e. herring is as popular in Poland as it is in the Netherlands or Denmark. It is present on holiday and party tables at Christmas and Easter. The fish is served gutted and filleted, in pieces that have been marinated in vinegar, oil, with or without vegetables, usually smothered with chopped, raw onion. While Easter calls for a batch of home-made herring, supermarkets stock jars of marinated herring all year.

Chrzan (Hzhan)

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Grating horseradish roots produces pungent vapours and makes eyes water, but white or red horseradish relish pairs well with the variety of cold cuts.
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The fiery relish draws out more of the meat flavour. The red type is called ćwikła and its colour is due to the addition of beetroot.
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Mazurek (Ma-zoo-rek)

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The first of the freshly baked cakes is the mazurek. The recipe is considered to have arrived to Poland from Turkey and started circulating in the 17th century.  How the mazurek looks depends on who made it.

Mazurek with peanut butter and chocolate icing (a piece cut)

The flat shortbread can be made of different kinds of dough and toppings, for example marmalade, chocolate glazing, dried fruit or nuts. The sky’s the limit.

Sernik (Ser-neek)

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The sernik is a rich creamy baked cheesecake that differs from its American counterpart in cheese. You could try to replace the exclusively Polish cheese called twaróg with country/ cottage/ quark /curd cheese or ricotta but it won’t do the trick. Twaróg is more dense, sweet and less wet than those cheeses and less smooth than ricotta.
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Sources say that sernik dates back to ancient Greece and Rome. The Eastern Orthodox Church has a tvorog-based equivalent – the truncated pyramid shaped Paskha.

Babka (Bab-ka)

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The tall airy Easter babka is a no-knead yeast cake baked in a Bundt pan. It can be laced with rum syrup and drizzled with icing but custom dictates that it has no filling. The name derives from the word “grandmother” and probably refers to its shape: a grandmother’s wide, pleated skirt.

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Makowiec (Mah-ko-viets)

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Among the wealth of Easter cakes is the makowiec, a poppy seed roll spun like a strudel. It’s main ingredient is poppy seeds and it uses the same type of dough as the Babka. The texture is crunchy and nutty, and it’s sometimes covered with sugar icing.

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Made entirely of sugar and shaped like a lamb, this is a traditional centrepiece of the Polish Easter table and Easter basket. It often has a miniature red flag with a cross.

So – which one would you like to try the most?!

Come and tell us this coming Saturday at Jiaotong Market, from 11 till 7 pm to celebrate Easter weekend with us!

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POLISH EASTER TRADITIONS

While China usually celebrates Spring Festival around February, Polish people ( just like the rest of the world) need to wait for the first full moon of the spring ( after March 21) to officially welcome this beautiful green and flowery season with Easter Sunday (which this year will be on April 16). That’s because Poland follows the Western Roman Catholic Calendar, so the rites and practices are market by Christianity. Yet, the celebration still remain strongly influenced by pagan traditions. It is usual for both modern and conservative families to partake in the celebrations, regardless of what their religious beliefs may be.

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The first sign of approaching Easter in Poland is a large number of branches and dried flowers being brought to church. One week before Easter, Palm Sunday (in Polish niedziela palmowa) takes place. According to Catholic tradition, the day marks the entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem. Since palm trees are rare in Poland – although there is one known specimen – churchgoers often bring pussy willows or ‘palms’ made of colourful woven dried branches.

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The Holy Week preceding Easter involves spring cleaning. In the countryside, people would use the occasion to repaint their barns. One of the most vivid memories of my childhood related to preparations for Easter is the smell of wood polish for the floors of my grandparents’ apartment. Religious fasts are sometimes observed in varying degrees of strictness. Families visit representations of the tomb of Christ, often decorated in a spectacular fashion for the occasion.

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On the Saturday before Easter Sunday, Poles paint hard-boiled eggs (called pisanki). Some use store-brought kits which make the coloring and decorating easier, others continue to make dyes the traditional way – with boiled onion skins. Egg painting is encountered in several other Slavic cultures, and is thought to date back to talismanic pagan rituals that are over 5000 years old.

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Another Saturday activity is the preparation of Easter baskets. Lined with a white linen or lace napkin and decorated with sprigs of boxwood (bukszpan), the baskets contain a sampling of Easter foods: pisanki, a piece of sausage or ham, salt and pepper, bread, a piece of cake and an Easter Lamb made of sugar or even plastic.

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They are brought to church to be blessed. My favorite part was a gathering at the Main Market Square at the Mariacki Church and then going for a spring stroll around the old city.

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On the most important day, Easter Sunday, some go to church at 6am for the Resurrection mass – a ceremonial service and procession. Homes come alive with families who gather to eat breakfast. Before the meal, in much the same way as for Christmas with the sharing of the opłatek (Christmas wafer), people share wedges of the blessed Easter eggs from the basket. They exchange wishes and a Wesołego Alleluja (Joyful Hallelujah).

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The breakfast is dominated by cold dishes and is a feast for meat lovers: ham, sausage, roast meats, pâté (pasztet), eggs, horseradish relish, bread and in most Polish homes – traditional vegetable salad with mayonnaise. Easter breakfast is so decadent that it has to be considered a day-off from the Spring diet. If you ask me for the smell of Easter – it is horseradish and smoked ham!

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What follows is a frenzy of Easter cakes: a tall, round 15-yolk sweet yeast cake with a hole in the middle (babka) that can be compared to the American election cake, a mazurek – cake with a fat layer of icing, decorated with dried fruit, walnuts, almonds, roasted seeds or a cheesecake – sernik.

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The last festive day is Easter Monday, known as Śmigus-Dyngus (Wet Monday), on which tradition requires that boys throw water over girls and spank them with willow branches or…whole buckets of water!

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These are just general traditions.In addition, every city and/or region has it’s own peculiar Easter celebrations but…I will tell you about these in another post!

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HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY TO PIEROGI LADIES! TOP 10 HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR 1ST YEAR!

Today is exactly 1 year since the official launch party of Pierogi Ladies at Craft. We will need to wait with proper celebration till we finish our relocation and for now we will commemorate this special date with a few acknowledgements and unforgettable highlights.

First of all, It’s been an amazing first year for our little brand and what happened exceeded our expectations. We know full well we wouldn’t be where we are now without the support of some amazing people who believed in us from the very beginning, and each and every one of you who trusted our cooking skills.

Special thanks for support during the first year go to:

Miriam D. – for introducing us to each other in the summer of 2015

Agata J.– our very first customer, who motivated and pushed us to start the project

CRAFT SHANGHAI – for housing Pierogi Ladies Kitchen and our Launch Event

Yannick Lequellenec aka Shanghai Hunter – for the invaluable media and moral support

Austin Kittelson – for spreading pierogi love on Bonapp and being our very first reviewer

Adja ‘LALU’ Sy for sponsoring our Launch Party with a gift bag of her brilliant natural cosmetics and promoting us at the ‘Spring Bazaar’ organized by her’ Made in Shanghai’.

FS Juice – for sponsoring our launch party

Hanady Awada aka Recipe Nomad – for her outstanding blog articles about Pierogi, motivation and spreading the word about pierogi

Last but not least – all our regular customers ( you know who you are!) – for giving us this priceless motivation to keep working hard on our product as well as everyone who believed in us,  recommended us and spread the Pierogi Love to help us grow bigger!

 

THANK YOU ALL – IT MEANS THE WORLD TO US AND WE PROMISE TO KEEP WORKING EVEN HARDER!

 

Let’s have a quick look now at the highlights of the first year of Pierogi Ladies!

1. Our launch party at Craft – we were amazed at the great turnout of guests. We believe they had fun getting lots of free pierogi, drinking FS juice and getting wonderful prizes from LALU, FS juice and ourselves.

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 2. Joining Kate&Kimi community

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 We got surprised by an invitation to join the community even the day before the official launch! Thanks Mr R! Today we are trying to catch up with pierogi getting sold out too quickly!

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3.   Our very first pop up market – Spring Bazaar – organized by Adja Sy and her Made in Shanghai.

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The popularity of our booth went beyond our expectations!

 

4.  Our epic pop up at the historical Yongkang Road to mark the beginning of  our partnership with The Rooster

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Although Yongkand Road the way we all remember it is a history, we are proud to have our very own pop up supported also by Boxing Cat Brewery!

5. We supported the biggest fans of Polish Football with a nighttime pop up at the gates of The Camel

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6. We got interviewed for the most popular Polish TV ( and we are still receiving messages from people who watched it!)

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7.  We got invited by Bubbly Nation for a live cooking on their grounds.

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8.PAWSOME-  an amazing brand that provides your furry friend with healthy and delicious ingredients– invited us to feed the participants of their first seminar and that event was the beginning of currently in the works , auspicious partnership!

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 9.   We appeared on a few significant lists mentioning Shanghai’s best comfort food

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10. We developed a great team work of 2  that works smoothly and efficiently, while simultaneously having our other full time jobs. We complete each other with our strengths and skills to deliver the best performance and results. We wouldn’t be where we are now without making the teamwork priority and sharing all the tasks related to running Pierogi Ladies!

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 Of course our year was filled with many more small achievements that kept giving us power and motivation to work even harder. We admit it – we have also been extremely lucky with many things, so – as my friend Ana says – we have responsibility to be happy.

We are extremely excited to start a new chapter for Pierogi Ladies by moving to a new venue in Aomen Road 280 under the roof of The Market and bring our brand to the next level. We hope that you will accompany us on this journey as it is you all, who trust our product, that make our dream possible and we want you all to know how much we appreciate it!

THANK YOU AND BEAR WITH US!

THE ROOSTER IN POLISH FOLK TRADITIONS !

It may be just a sheer coincidence or magical Powers of  the universe. Whatever it is, for us this Chinese New Year has a special meaning. Why? The Rooster takes over its reign just in time when our little brand  is about to turn 1 year old! Where is the connection? Just have a look at our colorful logo and you will see 2 of those majestic birds in a bromance pose right at the top!

I know what your next question will be – why did you choose the Rooster for your logo  if you don’t even stuff pierogi with it ?! ( or at least – not yet!)

Well, there are a few reasons!

 1) Threat to evil spirits!

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Polish people strongly believe that all the evil creatures dread the rooster and its  powerful crow. When building the house, it is common in Polish villages to put the rooster under the foundation to ward off the ominous spirits. For the same reason they would place the rooster on the bell towers.

 2)  Fertility symbol.

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At the harvest festival, women often wear flower wreaths with attached rooster symbols. At wedding receptions it is a tradition to serve the rooster broth or roasted rooster that is supposed to enhance sexual potency. Some would even put the rooster under the bed of the newlyweds!

 3) The main animal symbol in Polish folk decorative art.

 

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You can find the rooster on Polish embroidery, bowls, crosses, paper cutting and even rooftops aka weathercocks.

 

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4) Fortune telling and forecasting the weather!

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Rooster’s crowing has several meanings in Polish tradition. In the mountainous regions of Poland there is a common belief that it forecasts happy journey. If the rooster crows at the threshold it means the guests are coming, BUT if it crows 3 times then fire or death are imminent. Yet, people from other regions of Poland believe that if the rooster crows for a long time, it spells the rain, while others maintain that if lengthy crowing happens while it walks, the sunny weather can be expected!

Rooster’s fortune telling abilities are not limited to weather only! If a woman dreams about rooster that means she will have a son!

 

5)  Major role in Polish traditional medicine.

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The blood of the rooster plays significant role in Polish traditional medicine. The folk healers would recommend rubbing your body with it to treat skin disease, spasms or even epilepsy!

 

Now  when it comes to our logo, the two handsome roosters have fulfilled their duties beautifully so far, keeping our little brand lucky, safe and prosperous! Bring it on, Rooster!

We trust your patronage this year!

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20 BIZARRE FACTS ABOUT POLISH CHRISTMAS !

Christmas in Poland is a HUGE deal. What’s more – it’s quaint and includes multiple small but key details! Hope that you got yourself a comfy spot as this post will be long! Here it goes!

1. In Poland, Advent is the beginning of Christmas Time. It’s a time when people try to be peaceful and remember the real reason for Christmas. People try not to have excess of anything. Some people give up their favorite foods or drinks and parties and discos are not widely held. Some people also go to Church quite frequently. There is the tradition of the ‘roraty‘, special masses (or communion services) held at dawn and dedicated to Mary for receiving the good news from the angel Gabriel.

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During Advent, people also prepare their houses for Christmas. There’s lots of cleaning and people wash their windows and clean their carpets very thoroughly. As a kid the moment my grandparents took out the huge floor polishing machine for our wooden floors was the sign Christams was on the way!

2.Christmas celebrations start in Poland on the night of Christmas Eve (24th December, Wigilia in Polish).

3. Families sit to the Christmas table as soon as they spot the first star on the winter sky (which in Poland is around 6-7 p.m.).

4. Christmas culinary traditions differ depending on the region, but in almost every Polish house you are bound to eat fried carp. The fish can be bought alive or already prepared for cooking.

When I was a child, we used to buy a live carp that would swim in the bath for a couple of days before it would be put on the Christmas table. Then my grandpa would come with a big cooking axe and chop the poor bugger’s head off.

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5.There is a superstition that if you put the carp’s scale in your wallet, you will be lucky and rich in the forthcoming year.

6. It’s important to serve 12 dishes on your Christmas table which is linked to the number of Apostles. It is believed that you should try all of them; otherwise the next year food will be less abundant.

7. Many Poles say that “Jaka Wigilia, taki cały rok” which means that the forthcoming year will be the same as Christmas Eve, so if you are happy on that day, your next year will be happy too. If you are arguing with your loved ones, you should expect the next year to be the same!

8. It’s customary to leave one empty seat with a set of plates and cutlery for an errant wanderer who might knock on your door and need something warm to eat. On Christmas Eve you shouldn’t refuse anything to the ones who might need your help.

9. Before you start your Christmas supper, Polish people share Christmas wafers (opłatek) and wish each other happy holidays. Opłatek is a white, thin as paper wafer made of flour and water. You can buy it at a local church for a small donation for the poor.

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10. Among the 12 Christmas dishes you will always find some soup (the majority of Polish families eat soup every day). Its kind depends on the region but the most popular ones are: beetroot soup (barszcz) with “uszka” (a kind of ravioli), forest mushroom soup and fish or almond soup.

11. Other traditional dishes include: sauerkraut with forest mushrooms, sauerkraut with peas, pierogi  with sauerkraut, jellied fish, kutia (wheatberry, poppy seed honey and nuts), herring in oil, moczka (gingerbread, beer, raisins and nuts) and makówki (poppy seed, honey and nuts).

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12. Poles rarely drink alcohol to their Christmas supper. Instead, it is customary to drink compote made of dried fruit (such as prunes, apricots, pears etc.).

13. After dinner it’s the present time! Adults give each other gifts (or put them directly under the Christmas tree) and children, who had been absorbed by their food, find their presents hidden under the tree (or on the balcony, as it was in my house).

14 The Santa Claus figure is utterly confusing in Poland. According to the Polish tradition, St. Nickolas (św. Mikołaj), who is dressed as a bishop, rather than a fatty with red coat and a beard, comes on 6th December. On Christmas Eve, it’s the Baby Jesus, Starman, Star or an Angel who brings the gifts. It’s disputable and highly regional.

15. In many Polish houses (especially in the countryside) it is customary to put some hay underneath the table cloth. After the food, family members would draw a hay-stalk each. A green one would symbolize fortune in the forthcoming year, a yellow one means that nothing would seriously change, a broken blade brings bad luck and a bent one – health problems.

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16. Apart from the Christmas tree, a common decorative object in Polish houses and churches is a nativity scene (szopka). The most distinctive and decorative nativity scenes are to be found in Kraków. The biggest clockwork nativity scene in Europe, built inside a church, is located in Katowice (Panewniki).

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17. After the Christmas feast, many Polish houses will reverberate with Christmas carols. Polish Christmas songs are rather serious and religious, not the kind of cheerful sing-songy types you are likely to hear in England or the States.

18. The best way to burn heavy Christmas food is to go for a walk. The more religious Poles attend the Midnight Mass (Pasterka), whilst the less religious or younger ones tend to go to a pub to wish happy holidays to their friends.

19. Christmas Day and Boxing Day (called the First Holiday and the Second Holiday respectively) is the time to visit other relatives, eat the leftovers from the Christmas supper, sing carols and play with your gifts.

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20.  According to an old Polish legend,  animals are granted the gift of speech on Christmas Eve as a reward for their role in welcoming Jesus on earth. As a result, children often try to extract a word or two out of bewildered family pets.

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6 STRICTLY POLISH CELEBRATIONS!

As the month of Christmas festivities is just around the corner, we wanted to tell you a little bit about joyful celebrations,that only the Poles are familiar with!

1) Andrzejki – St Andrew’s Night – the night from November 29 to 30

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 Universal partying on the night of St Andrew’s Day has folk origin; on this day people (mainly children and teens) are making prophecy by pouring candle wax by key hole to water and guessing what the wax shape means. Andrzejki, or St. Andrew’s Day, is a traditional holiday and is an evening of superstition and fortune telling. On this night, young women can predict who they’ll meet and fall in love with!

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2) Mikołaj- St Nicholas Day – December 6

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 This has been always the date when children in Poland expected Santa Clause bringing gifts (unlike Americans – we believe that the one who brings Christmas gifts is an Angel!). The gifts are put under sleeping children’s pillows to be discovered by them in the morning of 6th December. It is believed that  Mikołaj only brings gifts for well-behaved children. The naughty ones get switches to remind them that they must do better next year! ( FYI – older generations of Poles always try to remind the kids that Mikołaj was in fact a bishop of Mira, born in privileged family, who decided to commit his life to helping the poor).

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3) Śmigus dyngus/Lany Poniedziałek – Wet Monday – the first Monday just after Easter

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Monday (just after Easter) is a holiday in Poland and is called in polish ” Lany Poniedziałek” or “Śmigus dyngus“.This is a wonderful day of fun, however some take too much advantage of it!

The ancient Polish tradition on Easter Monday is celebrated by everyone with enthusiasm by sprinkling each other with water. Especially kids have fun this day. Some people say that by being splashed with water on Easter Monday will bring you good luck throughout the year.

Beware though – you might end up being splashed with 9 (or more) buckets of water especially if you are dressed up and on your way to a fancy restaurant downtown ( as happened to me more than once…)!

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4) Konstytucja 3 Maja – Third May Constitution Day – May 3

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Even though May 3 is celebrated throughout Poland as the day that marks the signing of the Polish Constitution in 1791, this is not the exact day that Poland received their independence. The constitution of 1791 only lasted one short year prior to an invasion that divided Poland among Austria, Prussia, and Russia. Finally, in November of 1918, Poland received its independence. This day however, is still an important date that offers visitors a glimpse into the culture and pride of the Polish people with an array of Polish festivals and parades in the larger cities throughout Poland

 5) Wianki – Noc Świętojańska –  the night from June 23 to 24

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 A Midsummer’s Night Eve. Maidens construct wianki (intricate wreathes) decorated with herbs and flowers. At dusk they launch them, candle lit, into the river hoping the boy who finds her wianki will ask for her hand. Bonfires smoke the crop fields for good luck in growing and harvest. Boys show off jumping over the flames. Fertility rites abound and the barren fern blooms this night for only a moment. Summer solstice. If you happened to visit major Polish cities like Kraków or Warszawa, you will be lucky to see impressive firework displays and laser shows  as well as live concerts by the river banks!

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 6) Dzień Niepodległości – Independence Day – National Independence Day – November 11

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Poland signed its historic constitution in 1791 but its independence was to be short-lived as invading forces partitioned the country between Russia, Prussia and Austria the following year. It was not until 11 November 1918 that Poland was to regain its independence. To this day, 11 November is an important civic holiday that is recognized throughout the country and is marked with patriotic parades and festivities in many of the larger towns and cities.

Below a picture of Józef Klemens Piłsudski- a Polish statesman and the person most responsible for the creation of the Second Republic of Poland in 1918 – 123 years after it had been taken over by Russia, Austria and Prussia.

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Which Polish festival would you like to celebrate the most?!

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TOP 10 WINTER WONDERLANDS IN POLAND!

While most of us here in Shanghai just started bracing ( mainly mentally) for winter time, the home country of pierogi – Poland – is already the picture perfect land of frozen in most parts of the little kingdom. In this post check out the most stunning ,must – visit places in Poland for the next few months!

1.SZKLARSKA PORĘBA

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One of the most spectacular winter resorts in Poland. Since it is located at the bottom of Izerskie mountains, it is the only resort in the country that prides itself in Alpine microclimate. Neighboring Polana Jakuszycka is the most modern center for ski running in Poland.

2.BIESZCZADY

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Perfect destination  for experienced backpackers, who can rent snow – rackets or ski running equipment. Besides that you can embrace your winter on the horse-drawn carriages in the area. The snowboarders and skiers won’t be disappointed by the slopes either!

3.BESKIDY

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The place you want to visit is Beskid Śląski with the skiing ‘capital’ – Szczyrk. It’s the place where Poland borders with Czech and Slovakia. Cosy villages, skiing slopes – wonderful winter landscape.

4. KRYNICA ZDRÓJ

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Besides great quality skiing slopes , the longest sleigh track in Poland and sleigh rides, Krynica also offers a big variery of mineral water houses and old, wooden heritage buildings from 19th century scattered around.

5.SUWALSZCZYZNA

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The coldest spot in Poland, with temperatures around -25 Celcius degrees. You can even try ice-fishing here!

6.SZLAK ORLICH GNIAZD ( THE ROUTE OF EAGLES’ NESTS), PARK OJCOWSKI

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With the Hercules club and Pieskowa rock in the background, the trees covered with tiny frozen drops of fog look simply magical in winter. Peaceful place, prefect for winter meditation walk!

 7.MAZURY LAKESIDE

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In winter, vast surfaces of impressive Polish lakes turn into gigantic, sparkling ice rinks and and fans of yachting switch to …iceboats called ‘bojery’! Another unique activity that you can enjoy only here is the sleigh ride, where an airboat will replace the horse!

8. PUSZCZA BIAŁOWIESKA

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You could already read in on our blog in the summer    about Białowieski Park Narodowy (Check it here ).It hosts around 44 thousands of tourist per year! It is worth visiting in every season, especially that it is home to the biggest in the world herd of wild European bisons!

9. TATRY WYSOKIE ( HIGH TATRA MOUNTAINS)

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Tatry with Morskie Oko ( the Eye of the Sea) with  and Poland winter capital – Zakopane – are a must visit for everyone as they are the heart and soul of Polish winter

10. SEASIDE – FROZEN BALTIC SEA

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In winter the splashing waves of the Baltic sea turn into awe inspiring ice fence – a vie definitely worth seeing with your own eyes!

Let us know if you visit any of these places this winter and get back to us with your impressions!

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HOW DO POLISH PEOPLE STAY WARM IN WINTER?!

We all know it – the perfect fall weather is over and we are all bracing to face Shanghai’s wintertime. The brutal truth is – won’t be easy. However! There are quite a few ways to get yourself warm, other than just turning your heater or kongtiao  on to the maximum. You should know that where Joanna and I come from – that is little kingdom of Poland – winters can be mercilessly freezing, with temperatures dropping down to ‘nose biting’ – 20 Celcius degrees….Therefore – trust the Polish – we know how to embrace winter time! Here are top 3 Polish ways to stay warm!

1.  Rosół aka broth

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The King ( or Queen) of Polish soups and usually enjoyed on Sundays! We make it by boiling a variety of vegetables ( carrot, root of the parsley, celery, leek, onion and cabbage) with any meat or bones of your choice (my favorite is duck though!). We serve it with very thin pasta ( homemade is the best) and sprinkled with parsley for that extra vitamin boost. If you prepare it using bones, it will be even healthier for a few reasons!

#1 – supports immune system

#2 – contains healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine and proline

#3 – the collagen in broth helps your gut lining and reduces intestinal inflammation

 2. Grzane piwo aka mulled beer

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Yes, you read it right. While mulled wine is popular worldwide, few nationalities know that beer can also be served hot! While it may sound like a paradox, since we all know the saying that beers tastes best when cold, but just try hot beer mixed with spices and honey and let us know what you think! Watch this short video to see how to make it! Thank me later!

3)     Herbatka z prądem /Goralska Herbatka aka  ‘Electric tea’ or ‘Tea with Electricity’/ ‘Mountain Tea’

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Another peculiar Polish way to deal with cold and gloomy fall and winter evenings. Simply prepare your favorite tea and add raspberry syrup and 50 ml ( a full shot) of the alcohol of your choice – preferably vodka or rum!

 

Well, obviously a plate of hot pierogi or a bowl of bigos ( Hunter’s Stew) combined with any of the above will be an ultimate winter set. Just saying!

 

Stay warm and happy this winter, Shanghailanders!

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