FEATURE: A taste of European food brings communities together

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Some amazing tastes of European food were available at a Lincolnshire European Supermarket recently and food writer James Waller-Davies went along to try out some of the delicacies on offer and sniff out some new recipes...

An event aimed at bringing diverse communities closer together through food took place at Korzinka Taste of Europe supermarket, in Boston.

Korzinka open day. L-R Lorraine Mitchell and John Syson trying food with owner Jolita Alisauskaite.

Korzinka open day. L-R Lorraine Mitchell and John Syson trying food with owner Jolita Alisauskaite.

Supported by the town’s Boston More In Common initiative, which looks to bring people together through its Facebook group and a variety of events and projects, Korzinka owners Jolita Alisauskaite and Suayp Dogan invited visitors to try traditional foods from Eastern Europe.

Miss Alisauskaite wanted the event to be a chance for traditional and new communities to get to know each other. She said: “We hope to bring more English people into European supermarkets and maybe to change English views about Europeans and show we can get along better and make one community.”

Visitors were given guided tours of the supermarket, offering a chance to find out more about the breads, cakes, meat, fish and other products from countries such as Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. The store also provides recipe cards to help new shoppers cook dishes at home.

The flavours of Eastern Europe are typified by the traditional methods of preserving food, especially pickling and smoking. The pickling of a huge variety of vegetables and fruit add the distinctive sourness to many dishes.

The Personal Shopper day went very well, there was an amazing presentation of food. From the most different kinds of meat and fish to sweets and a lot more. People who tried the food liked it. Some took home recipes with pleasure. Some went straight to the supermarket to do more shopping.

Lina Buziliauskaite, Lithuanian police support volunteer

Korzinka also has a large range of cured and smoked meats. Some, such as smoked sausage are more familiar to English cooks, but others, such as pig’s ear wrapped in cured pork, are more unusual.

The same can be said of the fish products. Smoked mackerel is something both communities have in common and pickled herring fillets have long been popular in Britain, but smoked catfish will be a new taste for many Lincolnshire palates.

Those with a sweet tooth will not be disappointed, with Korzinka stocking many types of cakes and biscuits. Most striking is Sakotis, a Lithuanian ‘tree cake’ for special occasions that is cooked on a spit in a similar way to a donor kebab. The Sakotis is slowly turned as it cooks with new layers of pastry added on the outside and finally it is decorated with chocolate.

Miss Alisauskaite thought English shoppers might find some of the European ingredients unusual, such as smoked raw meats and fermented cabbage, but many of the recipes also use the very traditional Lincolnshire ingredients of pork, potatoes, cabbage or fish. Her favourite dish from home and one she recommends is Lithuanian Cepelinai, a potato dumpling filled with minced pork.

Korzinka open day. James Waller-Davies looking at bread with Aleksandra Morawska.

Korzinka open day. James Waller-Davies looking at bread with Aleksandra Morawska.

The event was organised along with volunteers from Boston More in Common and volunteers from Lincolnshire Police.

Lina Buziliauskaite, Lithuanian police support volunteer, told The Standard: “The Personal Shopper day went very well, there was an amazing presentation of food. From the most different kinds of meat and fish to sweets and a lot more. People who tried the food liked it. Some took home recipes with pleasure. Some went straight to the supermarket to do more shopping.

“I feel very positive, this was a very good idea. I spoke with a few English people there and they also said what a great idea, they were really pleased. Next thing would be interesting, as Hanka suggested, introducing restaurants and holding a stall on a market day, where English people can come and try some of the European recipes.”

Andy Morrice, the Boston Community Beat Inspector for Lincolnshire Police said: “We are really proud to take part in this, it is about showing people what an incredible range of items there are available in Boston, that even bigger cities can’t offer.”

Korzinka open day. Allan Ross of Boston trying food.

Korzinka open day. Allan Ross of Boston trying food.

If your business would like to get involved or to find out more about this event if you are looking to hold a similar one in your area and would like more information visit the Boston More in Common Facebook page.

Want to try some of your own Eastern European style food? Try out the recipe for Borscht (Beetroot Soup) below, and keep an eye out in The Standard over the next few weeks as James will be trying out a number of different meals.

Ingredients

400g beetroot

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, diced

Korzinka open day. Christopher Dorrington of Boston trying food with shop assistant Kludia Wencel.

Korzinka open day. Christopher Dorrington of Boston trying food with shop assistant Kludia Wencel.

1 leek, finely sliced

2 potatoes, diced

¼ white cabbage, chopped

4 cloves chopped garlic

1½ litres beef stock

50g butter

2 tbsp vinegar

2 bay leaves

Method

Peel the beetroot and dice 300g of it. Grate the other 100g.

In a large pan, fry the onions in the butter until soft, then add the diced beetroot, garlic, carrot, cabbage, leek and bay leaves.

Fry for a few more minutes.

Add the beef stock, the potatoes and the grated beetroot and bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Add the vinegar and season well with salt and lots of black pepper.

Serve with soured cream and good chunky bread.

For a twist, any leftover meat or smoked sausage can be added.

Korzinka open day. James Waller-Davies trying food.

Korzinka open day. James Waller-Davies trying food.

Korzinka open day. James Waller-Davies with owners Jolita Alisauskaite and Suayp Dogan.

Korzinka open day. James Waller-Davies with owners Jolita Alisauskaite and Suayp Dogan.

Korzinka open day. L-R Shop assistant Karolina Ragelyte with Gloria Sands of Boston trying food.

Korzinka open day. L-R Shop assistant Karolina Ragelyte with Gloria Sands of Boston trying food.

Korzinka open day. L-R Joanna Gabrowska and Monika Pakatilyte on the meat counter.

Korzinka open day. L-R Joanna Gabrowska and Monika Pakatilyte on the meat counter.

Korzinka open day. Monika Pakatilyte with the fresh meat.

Korzinka open day. Monika Pakatilyte with the fresh meat.

Korzinka open day. Joanna Gabrowska with smoked fish.

Korzinka open day. Joanna Gabrowska with smoked fish.