It is worth exploring the local cuisine of Lviv!
1. Please, tell our readers a little about Your professional activity.
Based in Hamburg, Germany, I have been working as food and travel writer since 25 years, which brought me around the world a couple of times, into the best hotels and best restaurants
2. What drew you towards culinary journalism in the first place.
My mother was an excellent cook, who taught me her expertise. Then besides studying I worked in a fine dining restaurant. Both let me appreciate excellent cuisines. But as I could not afford to go to fine restaurants, I thought culinary journalism would. And with my background and an obvious talent to write I found a job in then “Gourmet Journal” immediately. There was not much competition in this field as it is today.
3. Is it Your first visit to Lviv? What was Your first impression of the city?
Yes, it´s my first visit and I love the city at first sight. So much historical ambiance, so cozy and for me nostalgic. I felt like knee deep in feudal history, the same time enjoying modern facilities, modern people, openess, hospitality.
4. Is there anything in particular in Ukrainian cuisine that impressed You the most?
You might laugh, but it was finely sliced Salo in different versions – eaten with shots of Wodka . Lardo in Italy or Lardon in France is very much hyped and fine quality very expensive. Here it belongs to the “normal” local food and you find it on the markets.
5. Lviv is famed as a gateway city linking Europe with Eurasia. How do You think this notion is reflected in gastronomical side of the city?
Well, I must admit I am not so familiar with Eurasia food. What I saw on menus was mainly local and traditional dishes, some italian, some sushi. A lot of the same.
6. What tips would You have for hotel and restaurant owners who are expecting tourist and football fan invasion during the upcoming EURO 2012 championship?
Staying in Reikartz Medieval there was actually nothing, which could be done better in that regard. In general I would say, it´s important that the staff speaks some English and menus are in English. But I have found English menus in most restaurants.
7. What would be Your advice for the guests of the city regarding worth visiting venues and worth tasting dishes?
They should definitely do a walking tour in the center with a guide to discover at least part of all these wonderful secrets Lviv has, try to visit the opera, even without a performance, visit a couple of the churches and learn about the different faiths. For dishes I think it´s worthwhile to explore the local cuisine, stick more to meat than to fish (besides the cold starters like marinated herring), more to polish than Italian or Asian.
8. How would You describe Lviv to friends who have never visited the city?
For me it´s a bit of a mixture of Vienna, Krakow and Prague, but with its own kind of fairy tale ambiance. The same time, it´s more laid back, relaxed in a for tourist positive way. There is a particular charm because of that, what the other cities do not have any more. Plus they are overrun by tourists.
9. Does Lviv with it’s local cuisine offers enough ground to be part of the globally popular trend of culinary tourism?
Well, the base is there, what it lacks and what made other cuisines (like the hyped Nordic cuisine) famous are a well-known top local chefs, to promote the cuisine. But this on the other side needs lots of financial support to make it possible for ambitious cooks to cross the border, learn at internationally big names in Copenhagen, Paris, London or Munich, come back and use the techniques they learned to combine with local quality products. So in the end, to create a modern and high quality version of local cuisine.
10. What are Your tips for culinary destinations which are expected to become popular in the next few years?
Difficult to say, one will be Peru, another maybe Portugal. Cuisine of Peru is really on a very high standard and the country pushes heavily to promote it. I think it will also be Germany. The cuisine has been very good since long time, but mainly only Germans appreciated it. Now seems to be the time, as Germany gets more and more Michelin Stars and has shown long time consistency in the ones it has, to be as well internationally recognized. We have in Germany a big bunch of highly motivated young chefs and also investors to support them in their further culinary education.