Patrick Robinson
The Czech Tourism roadshow came to West Seattle Saturday Sept. 21, visiting The Swinery artisan butcher shop in the Admiral District. They presented a Taste of the Czech Republic, a selection of Czech wines, beers, and foods meant to share part of their cuisine and culture with people in the U.S.

SLIDESHOW: A Taste of the Czech Republic comes to West Seattle

If your ideas about the Czech Republic are limited to beer and a poster of Prague, the Czech Tourism bureau is working hard to change that. They are on a roadshow tour of various points in the U.S. and made a stop in West Seattle at The Swinery artisan butcher shop on Sept. 21. They are located at 3207 California Ave SW.

Their goal on the trip is not only to educate people about the places to go and things to do in their nation but to gain exposure for their food, beer, wine and culture.

To that end a group of people including, Honorary Consul Wayne Jehlik, Vojtech Kacerovsky, Barbora Skokanova, Radim Petratur, and chef Jakub Cerny, came to the Swinery and offered a taste of Czech plum wine called Slivovitz, a powerful but tasty shot of alcohol as an introduction. A selection of breads was made available with a kind of pork cracklings called Skvarsky. Along with this the well known Pilsner Urquell beer and another beer called Staropramen were offered. The second was milder but still very flavorful. A tradtional goulash (similar to Hungarian types) and boiled pork was offered too.

Czech wines are something of a mystery for Americans. Even though they have been actively making wine "since the end of the first millennium," said Kacerovsky it has not, up until recently been exported to the U.S.

"We drink all we can make," he explained laughing.

That's changing as some is now being exported and they offered tastes of both red and white wine. The white was a dry Riesling variety that unlike most of that type was still richly flavored but not sweet. The red was called Zweigeltrebe and had a warm, almost sparkling set of light flavors that made it very drinkable.

The event came about almost by happenstance. The Czech team searches for venues to hold these tasting events and came to West Seattle looking for pork and possibly a sandwich. Kacerovsky met the owner James Dillon and they discussed the potential of holding the event there. A deal was struck and a date set.

One major focus of the event was directly educational. The old expression, 'you don't want to know how they make sausage' was laid to rest as Chef Cerny and an assistant set about to not only make sausage but to demonstrate the method and ingredients to about 30 assembled guests. The variety he made contained organ meats, bread, ginger, garlic, and pork plus seasonings. The ingredients were finely chopped, then blended in a bowl as people looked on. Finally it was put in a grinder and output into pork sausage casings. The result was cooked for about 25 minutes in 90 degree (Celsius) just short of boiling water. Served simply the result was different than what you might be used to. It was soft but bursting with flavor and spice. Also served was vegetable soup in a pork broth.

The roadshow stops next in Portland, then on to Palo Alto and points south, as they spread the word that the Czech Republic is a place of long history, high culture, and a wide variety of tasty food and beverages.

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.