Poznań, gluten-free pierogies, and family history

Poznań's Old Town.

Poznań’s Old Town.

A taste of authentic Polish pierogies, and a trip to a small Polish town near-ish to where my Polish ancestors came from— really a relaxing weekend.

While there are a number of vegetarian eateries in Poznań (check Happy Cow!) a combo of traveling on a holiday weekend, with many places closed, and focusing on a side trip, led me astray.

First stop was Bistro Friendly Food, a gluten-free restaurant and shop (conveniently located down the street from my hostel!) They had crepes, pasta and sandwiches on the menu— but I went straight for the pierogies, the Polish staple that’s so usually off-limits.

Gluten-free pierogies, courtesy of Bistro Friendly Food.

Gluten-free pierogies, courtesy of Bistro Friendly Food.

And these pierogies were amazing— simple, yet extremely flavorful, stuffed with the perfect amount of tangy cheese and earthy potatoes. Also, a great place to stock up on gluten-free products— in addition to Schar, they had a lot of Bez Gluten, the Polish brand of gluten-free products.

Gluten-free cheese toast, Bistro Friendly Food.

Gluten-free cheese toast, Bistro Friendly Food.

The Warta River.

The Warta River.

Despite the holiday,* the weather was amazing— and I decided to rent a bike and explore Poznań a little more. It’s a very pretty city, and feels much more Polish that the once-German Wrocław where I’ve been living.

Graffiti.

Graffiti.

I was also distracted by the discovery that there was a great Mexican restaurant down the street from my hostel. If you’re looking for spicy Mexican food, stop in to Mamasitas.

Enchiladas at Mamasitas.

Enchiladas at Mamasitas.

While I was in Poznan, I made a day trip to the picturesque town of Gniezno, about a half hour by train.

Why Gniezno? Well, I am part Polish, and my Polish great-greats are from this approximate area. Although none of my ancestors were from this specific city, when I checked Google Maps, the town they were from, Brzyskorzystew, appeared to be the middle of no where. Which makes sense, as the Jasińskis were likely farmers. I wasn’t even sure if I could get a PolBus out that way (or pronounce it properly! 14 letters and only 2 vowels…)

The Cathedral Basilica in Gniezno.

The Cathedral Basilica in Gniezno.

However, as I was doing some amateur genealogy work, I wound up in contact with the Archdiocese of Gniezno, where my family’s records— birth and marriage certificates— were held. And looking online, Gniezno looked pretty, easy to get to from Poznan, and at least I would get to see a snapshot of the Polish countryside that my great-greats likely lived in.

Second from left, my great-grandmother, whose father was born in Poland.

Second from left, my great-grandmother, whose father was born in Poland.

View from the top of the Gniezno Cathedral.

View from the top of the Gniezno Cathedral.

Inside the Gniezno Cathedral.

Inside the Gniezno Cathedral.

Also, if you have Polish ancestors and are thinking about looking them up, this is a great blog: https://pastprologue.wordpress.com/

*Corpus Christi, a church holiday, in case you’re wondering.

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5 responses to “Poznań, gluten-free pierogies, and family history

  1. It’s very likely that I have Polish ancestors, but nowhere to start with that part of my family. Gorgeous countryside.
    If you’re ever inclined to figure out a GF pierogi recipe, that would be 8 kinds of awesome.

  2. Hi there! Thanks for posting about Friendly Food. I’m celiac and planning to head to Poznan later this month, trying to find any place I can eat safely. The website looked like this was just a store and special-order food place – is it actually a bistro where you can go sit down and order a meal as well? I won’t have a clean kitchen to cook in while I’m there, so I’d need places I could eat out at without worry. Any insight or tips you could give me would be greatly appreciated!

  3. Kate: great questions. When I was there last year, there was a little cafe you could sit down and eat, but they mainly did breakfast and lunch. For more suggestions, I would try this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/poznanbezglutenu

    This website is a great resource for gluten-free Polish places, as it lists restaurants that are certified gluten-free: http://www.menubezglutenu.pl/english (main page)
    http://www.menubezglutenu.pl/wojewodztwo-wielkopolskie

    I haven’t had a chance to check this place out, but this is a gluten-free bakery in Poznan: http://www.glutenex.com.pl/

    Good luck with your trip! Would love to hear how it goes. With a little bit of planning, I’ve found some great gf restaurants in Poland.

  4. Pingback: Finding gluten-free pierogi in Poland | V 8 Mile·

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