We all know that the Polish make good vodka and it’s the Polish choice of tipple, but it goes much deeper than I ever realized.
Standing in a local supermarket in a district on the outskirts of Bialystok I gazed in wonder at the rows of vodka I saw before me. Where do I start?
My usual choice is Zubrowka’s Bison Grass, I like the distinctive taste coming from the blade of local grass they put in each bottle, the colour also has a green tinge. Generally, I take my vodka neat, which helped me here, otherwise I drink it with cucumber or apple juice.
Little did I know that there is a whole range of Zubrowka in existence. A purer, sharper white one, then wait for it. They have woody ones, produced using oak, maple or pine woods. Who knew?
Collectively, there is literally every fruit, nut or colour available. A personal favourite is the pink rose flavoured, just like Turkish delight.
Even the local open-air museum has its illicit, hidden still display with a hole in the ground where the vodka will have been stored.
I did not however, spend my whole trip drinking vodka.
The architecture is stunning, the food interesting, the hospitality warm. Traditions such as the puppet theatre are kept alive, the youngsters are still following the family recipes and wooden houses and churches still exist.
Poland is a beautiful country, there are lots of wide open spaces. It is very green, nature can be seen everywhere. The parks boast colourful flower displays and animals, the red squirrels can still be seen swinging between the trees. I’ve also been lucky enough to see the local Bison.
It’s charming, picturesque and affordable.
From the vodka they may take for granted, I amused people with tasting sessions, as I myself experienced and appreciated new depths.
I will be disappointed if I ever see the day people don’t have a bottle of Polish vodka standing on the kitchen table, ready to welcome guests.