For many Czechs, Štědrý den (December 24th) is the most enjoyable day of the Christmas holidays. Today we wanted to share our Bohemian Christmas foods & Czech traditions. It is more significant than the 25th of December which is when most Americans celebrate. The Czech name literally means “Generous Day”, and this is most likely for the wealth of food that has traditionally been served for Christmas dinner and fed to household and farm animals. Even the poorest of families would make sure that everyone’s plates were full on this one day of the year.
We love this holiday and spend days in advance preparing.
Starting on the morning of the 24th, we put out plate after plate of Czech cookies, Vanocka, Rum Balls and different kinds of Czech Obložené Chlebíčky which are little open-faced deli style sandwiches served on thin slices of baguette and covered with various spreads and toppings.
Obložené Chlebíčky can be topped with a multitude of different topping combinations. We even make some with crab meat. Some say that obložené chlebíčky were invented near the beginning of the 20th century by Jan Paukert, and introduced at the Paukert Deli that opened in Prague in 1916. (Read this.) Of course anyone’s grandmother or great-grandmother will disagree…
We love, love, love them and so do any friends we’ve introduced them to.
The original Chlebíček consisted of Prague Ham, eighth of a hard-boiled egg, a slice of good Emmental cheese, Hungarian salami, slice of tomato on a bed of piquant potato salad made with homemade mayonnaise, the recipe for which went with Jan Paukert into his grave.
Vánoční cukroví (Czech Christmas cookies) are a big part of the holiday. Czech’s make them in large batches and give them as gifts at Christmas…
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