For the last decade, Lviv has become one of the most visited cities in Ukraine. Not only does it attract tourists to the gorgeous architecture, century-old history, and modern fascinating things, but also remarkable Lviv food. Now gourmet trips around the city are getting more and more popular, and the majority of excursions include visiting the most interesting coffee houses, restaurants, and knaipas.
Peculiarities of Lviv food
Even though the Lviv cuisine belongs to the Galician cuisine, still it owes unique features connected with the fact that the City of the Lion has always been the biggest one in the region, and merchants, travelers, and cooks from all over the world found interest in it. New dishes from other countries first were served to Lviv noblemen, oriental spices were first offered in the pharmacies of the city, and the desserts from western countries were also first tasted by the Lviv citizens. And only after this, the best recipes migrated to other towns and villages without being changed significantly.
You may be interested in Gourmet trips.
Since any cuisine leans on three pillars, let’s find out how locals, products, and traditions influenced the Lviv cuisine.
The city has been home to representatives of different nations for centuries. Besides the Ukrainians (the Ruthenians), one could spot here the Jewish and the Arabs, people from Armenia, Austria, Poland, Italy, France… They all enriched the Lviv menu with pazhybroda, forshmak, andruty (waffles or a waffle cake), flaki, lazanki, pâté, dried fruits.
Besides the Lviv cuisine drew ideas from neighboring villages – mainly they were recipes for light zupas, vegetable dishes and a variety of porridges. The daily ration of people in the village differs from the diet of people in the city – for example, village locals didn’t use to eat desserts but replaced them with fruits and berries. Back then rich dishes made from dough and dairy products were popular. All this supplemented the Lviv cuisine with kaсamak and mamaliga, potato pliatsoks (a Ukrainian pie) and paliushky, uzvar and refreshing berry drinks…
Talking about groceries, local vegetable and beans, fruits and berries, cereals and mushrooms (porcini mushrooms, girolles, honey fungus, etc.), meat and lake fish (common carp, crucian carp, pike and even trout), dairy products – all the food people could buy on the market – made the basis of the Lviv cuisine. But since Lviv is the central city of the region it was the first place which gets spices (ginger, pepper, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg), oriental delicacies (fig, almond, raisins, citrus fruits), vegetable and fruit from western countries (broccoli, asparagus, Pomegranate, olive oil).
Even though different cultures and countries influenced constantly the Lviv cuisine, still it continues leaning on home Ukrainian traditions. Of course, first of all, it sticks to the religious calendar – clinging to the fast, traditional dishes for religious holidays, restrictions on alcohol consumption. Another peculiarity of the cuisine has always been frugality – it was not good to throw away food, thus they started to make dishes from different porridge leftovers, vegetables, and dried bread.
The new traditions of Lviv are the rapid growth of cuisine due to an inrush of tourists. Lviv has been a mecca for those who love coffee, chocolate, pliatsoks (a Ukrainian pie), nastoikas and beer for the last few years. Restaurants have not only beautiful interior designs to offer to their visitors, but also delicious and exceptional options on the menu – from the best dishes of the Lviv and Galicia cuisine that made the century cut, and delights with the taste.
Traditional Lviv food:
To make the cheesecake you need 1 kg of cottage cheese, 6 eggs, 250 g of sugar, 150 g of butter, 1 lemon zest, 40 ml of sour cream, 70 g of raisins, 30 g of flour, 20 g of starch, 1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar.
To make topping: 100 g of dark chocolate, 60 g of butter, 20 ml of cream.
Rub the cottage cheese through a sieve or mince it in a mincing machine, the cheese mixture must be homogeneous. Put one part of the cheese in a mixer bowl, add lemon zest grated finely, 1/3 of sugar, flour, and starch. Start mixing on a low speed. Step by step add the remaining cheese and sugar. Mix until homogenous. Add soften butter in portions and mix thoroughly. Add vanilla sugar, and eggs one by one mixing thoroughly until homogenous. Add sour cream, raisins and mix thoroughly again.
Bake at 200˚C for 40-50 minutes. Cool down the cheesecake for 2-3 minutes, and then fridge for 2-3 hours.
To make topping heat the cream and melt the chocolate over water bath. Pour the cream into the chocolate, mix thoroughly until homogeneous. Add warm butter and stir thoroughly. Pour over the cold cheesecake and fridge until the topping hardens.
Lviv likes to boast that the founder of the first coffee shop in Europe was a native of Sambir raion Yuriy Kulchytskyi. For the reason that he helped to defend Vienna, he was granted a house and 300 bags of coffee that was left by the Turks when they stood back. Yuriy started experimenting with coffee recipes to earn the citizens’ love. This is the way the recipe of well-known Vienna coffee with sugar and cream appeared.
But real Lviv coffee is brewed in a cezve (a Turkish coffee pot) on hot sand. Pour 50 ml of water into a cezve, add 10 g of finely ground coffee and leave on sand for 4 minutes stirring carefully. If you wish you can add sugar, a spoon of honey or cognac.
Europe found out about chocolate in the XVI century, but back then it was a pricey product, only noblemen could afford to enjoy it. It was not until the XVIII century the price for cocoa decreased and chocolate became affordable for the general population. In Lviv, the first chocolate house appeared at the beginning of the XIX century thanks to the Swiss pastry chef Dominic Andreolli and it was so popular that the road leading there got the name the Andreolli passage. In the second part of the century the factory of sugar, cocoa, and chocolate “Branka” functioned actively in Lviv. At the beginning of the XX century, practically every building along Taras Shevchenko and Svobody avenues hosted a confectionary shop.
Today tourist can enjoy the delectable product from Lviv handmade chocolate or confectionery factory “Svitoch” that are known far beyond the borders of the country. Besides, every year Lviv hosts the Holiday of chocolate that gathers the best manufacturers and fastidious gourmand from all over the world.
“Those who drink beer will live for one hundred years” – say the Lviv citizens about their favorite drink.
They began to brew beer in Lviv back in the XV century, and in 1533 the city received the permission to do brewing. Monasteries contribute significantly to brewing. Monks there brew this amazing beverage from selective hops, malt, and crystal clear water. They kept up experimenting and improving the recipe. That’s because the quality the Lviv beer gained the popularity around Austria-Hungary and its legendary taste and quality remain the same even now. The first in Ukraine museum of beer and yearly city festival with folk music, dancing, and games along with with the tasting different varieties of beer prove the popularity of the beverage.
Fish zupa with rice
To make this soup you need small local fish. Also, you need 150 g of sour cream, 2 onions, carrot, parsley (root included), a clove of garlic, 2 tablespoons of oil, 2-3 tablespoons of rice, salt.
Pour 1.5 liters of water into a saucepan with scaled fish, and boil over low heat. Peel the vegetables, cut into strips and stew with oil. When the water with fish boils, take the scum off, add salt and the stew, and after add washed rice (in 15-20 minutes). Keep cooking over low heat stirring from time to time to avoid rice sticking to the bottom.
To make zupa taste better, add a little lemon juice and add strips of paprika. Before you serve the dish, add sour cream, bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Sprinkle zupa with parsley.
Tsvikly is a spicy dish made from boiled beetroot, horseradish, and kitchen herbs. It is served with sausages, ham, holodets (aspic), meat or fish dishes. They often cook it for Christmas or Easter.
To make tsvikli you need 1 kg of beetroots, 150 g of horseradish, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and also cumin and salt.
Peel the root of the horseradish and freeze it for a few hours – it makes the horseradish taste less bitter and it takes you less time to roast it. Boil unpeeled beetroot for 1 hour, then pour cold water into it and set aside for 30 minutes. Peel the beetroot and grate on a grater with fine holes together with horseradish root. Add salt, sugar, and vinegar, then add cumin and mix.
Jacket potatoes stuffed with mushrooms
Boil dried mushrooms and cut them finely. Fry a few chopped onions, combine with mushrooms, add grated white bread, 2 yolks and 1 egg, add salt and pepper. Wash and cut fresh potatoes into halves, core them and fill with the stuffing, sprinkle with the greenery and cheese grated on a grater with fine holes. Roast with oil in the oven or stew with mushroom bouillon.
Battered white mushroom
Remove stipes from mushrooms and peel the caps. Roll them in flour, and then in an egg wash made from egg, pepper, and salt. Put in a well-heated frying pan, and fry from both sides. You can top them with sour cream or cheese and sprinkle with parsley. The dish is served hot!
Karmanadli with citron
The name sounds not that tasty, but in fact, it is a pounded steak rolled in bread crumb with slices of lemon.
To cook the dish you need 700 g of veal or pork (flesh or fillet steak), a lemon, 2 eggs, ground bread crumbs, flour, 1-2 cloves of garlic, salt, parsley, 1 tablespoon of sour cream.
Cut the meat longwise the fibers into thin slices, and beat them with a meat-chopper wet with water. Add salt, sprinkle with mashed garlic and roll in flour, then dip in egg wash (egg and one spoon of the sour cream mixture) and then roll in bread crumbs. Fry in fat. Arrange the meat slices into a greased container interchanging each layer of meat with a slice of lemon. Then place into the hot oven for 10-15 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Visit Lviv to get familiar with the Lviv cuisine in person – plenty of coffee shops, knaipas and restaurants will warmly greet you. And to have pleasant and interesting leisure time, take the tours “Old Lviv in one day” and “Lviv + fine Carpathians”