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Published on July 25th, 2013 in Dining & Drinking
Crown Prince Frederik and his brother prince Joachim, enjoying an ice cream - 1973 (source: CTK)
Ice cream stand outside a pub - c 1960 (source: Hodonín Nostalgický)
I recently posted on Angelato Café, my favorite place in Prague for a premium scoop or cone in Czech-inspired flavors (beer anyone?). Because there’s no such thing as too much ice cream, I also suggest sampling these classic Czech frozen treats. Find them in the freezer case of any supermarket or potraviny (bodega) at prices so nice you may want to buy more than one.
This beloved ice cream bar—recognizable for its logo, a grinning teddy reminiscent of the Grateful Dead’s psychedelic bears—has been around for over 50 years; the company actually introduced tvaroh (a tangy farmer’s cheese) ice cream to the Czech market. The traditional favorite is the basic tvaroh flavor dipped in chocolate, but the Míša line has grown to include chocolate-strawberry and white-chocolate-apricot. Also available in a tub.
This brick of vanilla or chocolate ice cream, sandwiched between two ultra-thin sugary wafers, originated in the Soviet Union in the 1930’s and was exported to the countries of the Eastern bloc. Czechs liked to joke that the Russians couldn’t afford to give their ice cream pops a stick! A light, refreshing treat that is currently produced by, among others, the Czech company Prima, whose “Mrazika” ice cream still features the familiar Russian “grandfather frost” on the silvery-blue package.
Similar to the Míša ice cream bar, Lednáček bars hold vast retro appeal for their Socialist-era packaging and basic flavors of vanilla, chocolate, or coconut. These cheaper imitations of the Míša bar tend to melt after the first lick or two, so eat fast! (Historical note: Czechs refer to any form of ice cream on a stick as nanuk, slang derived from the 1922 film about the Inuit “Nanook of the North”.)
A relative newcomer to the Czech ice-cream circuit, Mrož has only been available for 20-plus years. These days you can get all manner of Mrož varieties and flavors, from dark-chocolate-and-berry on a stick to a cup of gluten-free strawberry sorbet. But the original strawberries-and-cream pop with a chocolate glaze is the company’s signature flavor and bestseller. (Look for the tell-tale red package bearing a friendly walrus.)
This staple of Czech freezers (in English “polar cake”), made by a variety of manufacturers, comes packaged in a flat tray with a clear lid that reveals ripples of “ice cream”—I use the term loosely as it’s a bit icier and waterier than your typical ice cream. Similar in consistency to Viennetta, minus the cake layer, it comes in a range of flavors (vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, and, my personal favorite, vaječný koňak (egg-nog liqueur). At about 12 CZK for an entire box, it’s a total steal.