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What I Ate (and Didn’t Eat) At a Polish Wedding

Thanks to the lovely JennPeas and Crayons for hosting our weekly WIAW party! 

Peas and Crayons

This week’s edition on L&LTE is from my husband’s cousin’s wedding in Poland.  His family warned me that there would be lots of food (and that it would last until 4 in the  morning) – but I had no idea it would be so elaborate!

There are even several courses I don’t have pictures of – including a baked ham and the actual wedding cake – but I’ll try to piece it together as much as possible.

Now I couldn’t communicate well enough to learn the real ingredients or traditional names for a lot of these dishes – maybe the ladies at Lofty Appetite or Pawsitive Life can help me out? ;)

I know that a lot of the food is traditional Polish cuisine, but I’m not sure how much of it was planned by the caterer (at the hotel) and how much is really typical of a wedding in Poland.

When we were seated (one long table, about 60 guests total), a soup dish with noodles and vegetables was awaiting broth to be poured on top (it ended up being chicken broth, which I figured out after one taste).  Also on the table were 1 bottle of vodka between two guests, large centerpieces with flowers and whole fruit, and several cold salads.

One of my favorite salad dishes: a cold, sweet rice with raisins and a creamy dressing.

French fries were only one of the potato options – there were also boiled potatoes (seen in the back left), mashed potatoes, and potato salad.  My main course consisted mainly of potatoes, and the veggies seen here.  The silver platter had chicken prepared 4 different ways.

Another main dish option: pork with some kind of tomato sauce.

One thing that surprised me in Poland was that they drink juice with nearly every meal – orange, grape, apple – always juice.  You can also see the shot glasses (refilled with vodka every 5 minutes or so) in this photo.  The juice definitely came in handy as a chaser for those who were doing the shots (which followed a song called “Sto lat”, toasting the couple to 100 years of happiness).

The groom (my husband’s cousin) is a culinary student and carved this watermelon for the head table.  Isn’t it beautiful?

After the main dinner course there was about an hour of dancing, and then the first dessert course was served!  I got to try Adam’s choice and my own, of course.  These cakes are similar to deserts I’ve had at my mother in law’s home – they are always delicate and filled with multiple layers of fillings and flavors. 

Adam’s was a dulce-de-leche type flavor, with some coffee flavor:

I chose a chocolate/chocolate mousse piece.

After more dancing and more shots, more food was served!

These were cold (I think cooked) fishes, preserved in a gelatin of some sort.  Adam said they have something similar on Christmas Eve.  I took one bite but they tasted a bit too fishy for me.

More dancing, more dessert!  Ice cream in waffle cone bowls.

After the ice cream and more dancing/shots?

Meat.

Raw meat.

Seriously.  Ground, raw, meat.  With onions and relish, of course.

A fried (but cold) fish, with a sweet and sour type sauce.  Again, I tried a bite before deciding it wasn’t for me.

Something I felt comfortable eating: a salad with feta, chickpeas, tomatoes, and olives!  It was heavily dressed and only iceberg lettuce, but it was meat-free!

Another salad that was similar to coleslaw, chopped in to tiny pieces with peppers, carrots, and onions:

After more dancing (and toasts/shots), there was some kind of pork (on the bone) served.  This was as close as I got to it.

After this, more dancing, the official wedding cake was cut, and then an entire ham was sliced and served as well.

More dancing…

The final course consisted of borscht (which I’ve had before and like), but I could barely take two sips after all of the food that night.  Of course, more meat was served too – very rare, large cuts of beef – hope you don’t mind the lack of a photo.

All in all, the wedding was a great experience – even though many of the courses weren’t vegetarian friendly, you can see I still had a LOT to choose from.  There were lots of games played at the wedding too, and different themed dances than we do here in the US.  It was a total blast and I’m so glad I got to experience it with my husband and his family.

Have you ever been to a wedding that was very different than what you’re used to?

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17 responses to “What I Ate (and Didn’t Eat) At a Polish Wedding

  1. sprint2thetable October 19, 2011 at 11:49 am

    That is some crazy food! Can you just pour the vodka into the juice for a cocktail? LOL! Glad you have a good time! :)

  2. Katie October 19, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Well the desserts all look amazing to me!

    The raw meat, not for me, haha!

    How awesome he did that on the watermelon ! I love it!

    Happy Wednesday girl! Hope all is well! xo

  3. loftyappetite October 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    haha this is very typical. the food consists of like 10 courses that are served every hour. the juice is there mostly to chase the vodka down. The shots are funny. The weddings I’ve been to literally between every 2 songs the DJ would make everyone take a shot. It doesn’t matter if you’re 12 or 96 years old, you’re taking a shot! it’s not optional. otherwise when it comes to beverages they are big coffee/tea drinkers with regular meals (not water which was hard for me to adjust to when i was there this summer, i need my water!). Was it hard being a vegetarian in Poland? I couldn’t even imagine it, my whole family would be trying to convert me the entire time.

    • Claire @ Live & Love to Eat October 19, 2011 at 1:23 pm

      It was very challenging – they couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t eat the 12 different kinds of sausages available at any given time! I’m going to post more on that later, but let’s just say I lived on bread and cheese for a week – and my belly was NOT happy about it. I wanted to avoid drinking the tap water, but after a few days I just gave in – I was drinking nothing but coffee – and it was instant!

      • loftyappetite October 19, 2011 at 1:55 pm

        haha yeah everything is around meat, butter, potatoes. but it goes back in history and how people had to eat to survive, and it kind of stuck! I definitely ate more bread and butter than usual, it tastes so much better there! But I was really craving vegetables, and they don’t eat vegetables like we do, Just a tomato on the bread and butter sandwich and pickles! Not the same… I was defintely warned against drinking tap water, so I just walked over to the nearest convenience store every day and bought tons of waters and put them in the freezer. My nonPolish bf did not understand why no one uses ice and why drinks are warm! I guess it’s just something I never noticed because I grew up not drinking drinks with ice! I look forward to reading more about your experience!

      • Claire @ Live & Love to Eat October 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm

        Not only did his family leave their (opened) juice at room temp, but also leftovers – his mom does this at home too! Having taken one too many food safety courses, this continues to freak me out! Having read some of your insight before I left definitely helped prepare me! :)

  4. allieksmith October 19, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Mmm, so much food! That is my type of wedding!

  5. Alexia @ NamasteYoga October 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    wow, thats a big amount of food at a wedding. and i thought austria serves a lot. we have starters, mains, a lot of different desserts, more open faced sandwiches and fruit while dancing, then the wedding cake, and around midnight the traditional “gulash” which actually originated form hungary. Its a good hangover food and nice to have when u have drunk a lot. i love going to weddings. everybody is in such a happy mood!

  6. Melissa October 19, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    WOW. What an experience! It sounds pretty amazing, though!

    I went to a wild game dinner once. It was terrifying. Not only did they have mostly meat, but it was mostly meat I didn’t recognize (think squirrel :/). Scary!

  7. Natalie @Will Jog For Food October 19, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    What a cool experience! But the raw meat ball thing is pretty weird, hehe.

  8. Matt @ The Athlete's Plate October 19, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Have you ever tried Kielbasa? It’s polish sausage FYI.

  9. Jilian October 20, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    The desserts all look amazing!!

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