26.10.2014

Eating KRAKOW: Najedzeni Fest!

Two hungry and determined women. Hungry for good taste and people, determined to mix these two ingredients in an exquisite, seasonal one-pot meal with a hint of love for Polish language.

True Cracovians, Kasia Pilitowska and Magda Wójcik, have created ‘Najedzeni Fest’, an unusual culinary festival, where everyone can talk and eat to their heart’s content in a typically Cracovian way. 

 

photo: Posiłki (left),  Agnieszka Wojtuń / Green Carrot (right)

 

photo: Smaki z Lanckorony

 

‘A recipe is simple. We want to show those who can cook and love doing it as either professionals or amateurs. We want to extract tastes which cumulate in huge and small kitchens to make them part of the Cracovian culinary landscape’ 

 

says Kasia, co-host of the event, while making preparations for the autumnal edition.

 

‘Eating out is not a Cracovian habit, which is a pity...We carry sandwiches to work, and places worth recommending are sparse. To us, now, it’s all about trying a little bit harder. Go out and eat something good, get inspired, and learn new tastes. Promoting quality, not quantity is what we aim for’ 

 

she continues.

 

Najedzeni Fest is organized seasonally and consists of three spheres: a tasting sphere – eating copiously and feeding senses, a cultural sphere – abundant in workshops, meetings, and cooking movies, nourishing not only body, but also soul, and finally, a thematic sphere – connected to a particular edition’s leading theme. 

 

photo: Agnieszka Wojtuń / Green Carrot

 

photo: Posiłki

 

‘We’d begun by promoting bars and restaurateurs to draw them out of their culinary kingdoms for a while. Later, we expanded the formula a little bit, and those who produce food - farmers, regional producers, and cooking lovers, joined chefs. Showmen promoting tastes and cooking joyously on stage were the icing on the cake’ 

Kasia recounts.

The idea of ‘Najedzeni’ has turned out to be a real catch with a regular number of over hundred exhibitors and six to eight thousand visitors indulging in regional delicacies. When we’d run a little bit out of room, girls came up with a brilliant idea of a ‘mobile’ edition of ‘Najedzeni’. 

‘It’s all about freeing creativity. We drop a theme and, suddenly, lots of people cook all kinds of legumes and groats (the theme was ‘groats and peas bubble away’) or try to come up with an idea for a perfect ‘second breakfast’. Our festival does not have a permanent place, it is organized in different spaces of Krakow. We don’t feel confined but creative. Because to cook means to be always in action’ :)

 

photo: Staszek Romek / KuchenneWariacje.pl

 

Locality is not just a catchy word. ‘Najedzeni’ promotes cosmopolitan tastes like those of sushi or oysters, but prepares mostly what’s regional. It’s healthier, cheaper, and more interesting that way. It’s October, the time of harvesting potatoes, hence, they become the major figures. As it turns out, there are many variations of potatoes and each of them has its specific qualities. There is also slightly obsolete potato flour, ‘but in times of common gluten intolerance it’s an invaluable rediscovery’ Kasia laughs.

Małe Najedzeni Fest that took place at Krakow’s Stary Kleparz, with a potato playing a leading role, was a real success. There was sweet potato soup, as well as Korean and Mexican potato dishes. The fact that no food  was left speaks for itself! Everything was delicious!

 

photo: Staszek Romek / KuchenneWariacje.pl

 

The festival has become a platform for exchanging experiences. It’s the birthplace of new culinary initiatives that are constantly being tested. If food tastes good at the festival, it will surely taste equally good on an everyday basis! 

‘Our event is a great place to start, a final test, and a confrontation with a client. You create your own brand with what you cook, you can’t escape it, and you have to know the answer to a client’s question about the ingredients of your dumplings.'

summarizes Kasia. 

Has the festival changed Cracovians’ tastes in any way?

About eighteen months ago, we had a girl exhibiting at a festival. She was selling baked goods and used a camp bed as a table. Now, her kitchen has been redecorated and equipped with two ovens. Moreover, she is going to open her own catering company. When people hear the word ‘cake’ they think ‘Ewa’, and it makes us very happy! We give courage to people and evoke good energy. We connect caterers with restaurateurs, and chefs with winemakers. ‘I want to have my stall set up next to that of Mr. Andrew’s’ is a type of requests we get. So, it’s clearly working!

 

photo: Zielony Talerz (left), Agnieszka Wojtuń for Atelier Cookia (right)                         

 

There is no competition here, we work together in the name of good taste. Food plays first fiddle when it’s art itself, but resonates most when shared with others. Only then does it satisfy tastes and invoke emotions.

Kasia i Magda are perfectly aware of what suits culinary pleasures best. At the ‘Najedzeni Fest’ all the senses are awaken, not only the sense of taste. Because cooking isn’t all about what’s in our pot or mouth, but about what’s in our soul. Culture lies on a plate. What we eat reflects what we feel, think, fear, and what we do in this world. The ‘slow food’ culture, a belief in conscious food production and consumption, ideally illustrates this thesis. This Saturday, it will be possible to watch a remarkable movie ‘Senza trucco’, about women making natural wine in Italy, as part of one of the ‘Movie przy jedzeniu’ meetings always organized at the festival.

Girls have gotten so involved in the culinary cinema that they are going to organize Food Film Fest. If you happen to be in Krakow between November 21 and 23, you have to go there. A real treat for senses!

 

 

 

photo: Agnieszka Wojtuń / Green Carrot
 

‘Wine’ is the theme of the upcoming edition of ‘Najedzeni Fest’. Winemakers, distributors, and wine enthusiasts from Lesser Poland will visit atmospheric spaces of Krakow’s Forum Hotel. We were particularly intrigued by "wine crimes": ‘sensational disappearance of wine barrels in Tuscany, Languedoc winemakers-terrorists, a chalice with poisoned wine in Zurich’s cathedral..’ The opportunity to hear them can’t be missed.. Taste is, after all, a never-ending story.

 ‘A table is supposed to connect, not divide’. And so it does. It connects tastes, people, high and popular culture. If misalliances happen, they are pretty inspiring! A talk with Kasia was so tasty, that she has become our PURO explorer of Cracovian tastes, unique personalities and unusual places.

 

Search for her characteristic and dainty style among texts on our blog!

 

 
photo: Staszek Romek / KuchenneWariacje.pl
 
 
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