A view of a bowl filled with soup. There is a hefty piece of sparerib and some potatoes in the soup that someone is beginning to eat with a spoon. The eater’s hands can be seen on both sides of the bowl.
Kwaśnica soup.

Winter in the land of electrified teas and heart-warming soups.


Winter has arrived, unsurprisingly, bringing with it chilly temperatures that make us crave something warm and comforting. Realising this, besides the picturesque landscapes, Małopolska offers a range of warming activities (more about them here) and also plenty of warming-up drinks. Unsurprisingly (after all, Poland has become quite famous and notorious for that), some of them may contain alcohol. Perhaps, even less surprising than that, some of them are soups.

A view of the face of a young woman looking into a mug of tea she is holding at her lips. There is a lemon slice on top of her beverage. The woman is wearing a jacket and a warm cap.
Winter tea.

Polish wintry soups are definitely on the nourishing side, to provide the necessary nutrition and keep you warm in winter. The varieties to look for are definitely żurek – the sour soup made of fermented rye, often with halves of hard-boiled eggs, kwaśnica – literally “the sour one”, made of sauerkraut with assorted pieces of meat and often a generous helping of potatoes that will make you go through a long cold day, and many others, including zupa ziemniaczana – potato soup.

What to do, however, if you need to warm up but are in no mood for soup? A cuppa is the answer, and you can definitely get a decent one in Małopolska! Poles can be quite ingenious when it comes to serving tea, and there are solid grounds for the jokes you might have heard about us offering lemon in your tea, as the default variety. Luckily, apart from that sacrilege, we make a variety of delicious “warming-up” (rozgrzewające or zimowe) teas, with ingredients including ginger, cloves, cinnamon, but sometimes also juniper and rosemary. In many places, zimowa herbata is not a beverage but an art form! To provide you with the necessary calories, such a winter tea is often sweetened with quality honey and/or syrup made from cherries or forest fruit.

There is, however, something much more quintessentially Polish waiting for you on the tea menu – herbata z prądem, literally “tea with electricity”, meaning a splash of alcohol. The usual choice is slivovitz, but you can also expect cherry infusion or vodka, while some make experiments with whiskey. In reasonable amounts, such fortified drinks are fantastic for your skiing adventure. They definitely keep you warm, but moderation is the key: don’t add too much speed and bravado to your skiing experience.

For those with no penchant for stronger potions but still in need of some soul-warming beverage, the Christmas fairs organised in the main squares of most towns and cities offer grzane wino (mulled wine) and grzane piwo (mulled beer). Like herbata z prądem, these festive concoctions are also available in restaurants, pubs, and cafés throughout the region.

Enjoy the cosiest winter in Małopolska!

Most places in Małopolska offer a decent cuppa, with Twinings sadly not being a popular brand in this part of the world. Yet, making up for it, are the Ceylonese Dilmah teas. There are also many tea brands that you might never have heard of, even though they have very “English” names, such as Sir William’s and Loyd. As with any tea brands, you’re going to like some, find others indifferent, and yet others an abomination.
Tea with rum is available in some places, including skiing stations, but it is rather a Slovak and Czech poison, and locals don’t order it often.

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