The for the bygone summer can be sweetened in many ways. Some put their face up to the sun, others plunge into the woods foraging for mushrooms, and still others seek consolation in food. The autumn flavours of Pomorskie will satisfy the most demanding gourmets!
Mushroom is undoubtfully the king of the autumn menu. The most noble of them, king bolete (or porcini) mushrooms, can be found in the Gdańsk-based Mercato restaurant. Head chef Dominik Karpik says the following about the dish that is the essence of autumn:
“Our most autumnal dish is the rabbit leg confit with a variation on mushrooms. It features greengage, cep, royal oyster mushrooms. This is served with mushroom zabaglione and topped with mushroom creme fraiche and powder.” There’s also place for home-made pickles, variety meats, fish and the jewel in the crown of autumn soups: cream of pumpkin soup. Of course, the way it is served will surprise even the most seasoned gourmets.
If it’s not enough mushrooms for you, the chef has also prepared chanterelles with poached egg on wheat toast, butter emulsion with garlic, parsley and hollandaise sauce with mustard salad.
At Sopot’s Słona Woda, head chef Piotr Strzelczyk went for for butternut squash, which he combined with venison. The wild boar fillet is served with a sweet and salty demi-glace sauce, combined with mouth-watering goat’s cheese gnocchi. As a starter and a break from meat, the chef recommends a velvety pea puree with artichoke and beetroot confit, a dish that by its very appearance lifts the mood. At Słona Woda, the menu is autumn-winter in form, appearing in mid-October and running until March. It will not be short of classic autumn flavours: goose, pumpkin or root vegetables.
In November, on Saint Martin’s Day, goose meat is traditionally prepared. At this time, it is worth visiting the restaurant in Celbowo – Nordowi Mól – where the annual Goose Feast is held, during which you can taste this noble meat at its finest. The melt-in-your-mouth confit goose leg with chokeberry sauce and apple dumplings is a wonderful example that simple, seasonal flavours stand up for themselves. We also recommend the delicious, distinctive pumpkin soup, which is best enjoyed in the autumn sunshine in the restaurant’s garden. Both the pumpkins, apples and chokeberries come from the restaurant’s garden. Nordowy Pier’s chef, Mr Marek Hewelt, makes sure that as many ingredients as possible come from Kashubia.
Delicious duck with red cabbage and fluffy, delightfully golden noodles can be tasted in the Gdansk restaurant Tu Można Marzyć located near the Oliwski Park. Barbara’s confit duck leg covered in demi-glace with blackcurrant, red cabbage, juniper and clove, served with potato dumplings is an autumn classic at its best. And if you don’t fancy meat, Marcin Markowski, co-owner of the restaurant, suggests trying the Fish-Cake of chopped cod with paprika potatoes, mizeria (traditional, Polish cucumber & sour cream salad) and tartar sauce. You should also reserve some room for cake, as the dessert stand in Tu Można Marzyć is a sweet must! And don’t forget to have a cup of coffee, because Marcin Markowski is an expert in this field and talks passionately about this aromatic beverage. The restaurant is already gearing up for its annual St Martin’s goose feast, where every weekend of November will feature an original weekend menu full of goose meat.
Speaking of duck meat, let’s take a look at the Fino restaurant in Gdańsk, which, under the helm of Jacek Koprowski, takes us on an original culinary journey. The duck is served by Chef Jacek appears in exquisite autumn company: chicory and a crunchy bread and gorgonzola topping, juicy blackberries, pear and… spring rolls with a distinct nutty note. This oriental twist enlivens the classic autumnal flavours. At Fino, you won’t find a classic autumn menu that appears at a certain time and disappears at another. As the chef himself explains:
“In our restaurant, there is no such thing as a strictly seasonal menu. We simply work with seasonal products that shape the menu. And so the autumn menu began to take shape during the summer holidays, when chanterelles – a kind of harbinger of autumn – appeared. This is followed by king boletes, autumn fruits and slowly we move towards root stories. November sees a lot of goose – we serve it in many ways: in the form of dumplings, pate or deconstructed goose soup.”
We also tried a Fino classic: beef steak tartare with cream mayonnaise and parsley oil with… potato glaze. We won’t reveal what it is, visit the place and you’ll find out!
We also try duck at the Kashubian Łebunia Palace, where the culinary duo of brothers: chef Damian Dembik and Michał Dembik, confectioner, are thriving. When visiting this charming place, try the delicious dumplings with duck filling, served with caramelised pear and kale in plum sauce. The chateau is well worth a visit in autumn, when it becomes a little quieter. The historic building with its beautiful park complex looks wonderful in autumn. It is also worth ordering a dessert, preferably chocolate, as the palace confectioner specialises in it. The pralines served at the Łebunia Palace look like jewels, and the dessert is a beautiful entry into autumn flavours: here we have chocolate mousse combined with delicate stewed plum and meringue.
When it gets decidedly colder outside, it’s best to dine on a nutritious soup. At Sopot’s Tawerna Rybaki, it is worth trying Kartoflanka a’la Hans Castorp (the soup refers to Paweł Huelle’s novel). Potatoes with salmon play the first fiddle in this nourishing soup, with marjoram playing in the background. The whole thing is wonderfully warming and gives strength for autumn walks at the seaside. It is worth noting that Tawerna Rybaki is located right next to the beach, so when planning seaside walks, you can make a warming stop at this establishment. After the soup, it’s nice to munch on fried sprats or try cod, because, as owner Tomasz Rytlewski emphasises, “our menu revolves around fish and seafood all year round, so all year round these products reign supreme, enriched with seasonal ingredients.” But, he adds, “there will be no shortage of autumn classics: pumpkin, venison or goose meat will be there, too.”
Autumn flavours at Gdynia’s Biały Królik are presented to us by chef Dawid Bielecki, working under the patronage of chef Marcin Popielarz. We sampled rabbit and cauliflower dishes. There’s a lot going on here: the rabbit roulade is stuffed with the same meat, accompanied by firm and crunchy cauliflower in panko, smoky fig and hazelnut puree, all topped with a white demi-glace sauce. It is a delicious, flavour-intensive dish.
And when the November mists arrive and the damp weather sets in for good, there is only one remedy: chocolate! We suggest facing late autumn darkness by trying the decadent chocolate cake from Biały Królik. It’s a vegan brownie made from fermented cacao and date paste, with vegan chocolate vanilla-coconut sauce and fresh passion fruit. The dessert looks like a million dollars and we sadly dabble in it, destroying this little piece of art, but believe us – it’s worth ditching the sentimentality and drifting off into chocolate delight.
Finally, we return to the Fukafe café in Gdańsk, where the selection of sweets is dizzying. Cheesecakes, chocolate cakes, napoleons, lemon tarts or donuts in dozens of crazy flavour versions, all vegan baked goods, lure from the shop window. Agnieszka Sierac, founder of the café and originator of all the desserts, tells us about the autumn flavours at Fukafe:
“We feature a lot of chocolate in autumn. I recommend the brownie with a sunflower seed base, layered with caramel or plums, chocolate cake with fried plums and hazelnuts. I myself like cheesecakes very much, so in autumn pumpkin cheesecake or poppy seed cake with a cheesecake topping is a must. I like to add a hint of orange or sea buckthorn into my desserts. On the other hand, our guests in autumn like ‘drunk’ versions of creams with a bit of alcohol, that is, for example, ‘drunk’ plum or cakes with a stronger note.”
Autumn flavours are a good remedy for the autumn weather. With a chocolate cake or a warming soup, we will be lighter entering this grey time!