The Grand Restaurant Festival 2017 starts on January 15th

The theme for the eighth edition will make restaurants go for Baroque

Winter isn't a good time for outdoor food festivals. The Grand Restaurant Festival, now in its eighth year, has a solution. It brings people inside, with special menus available directly at top restaurants in the whole of Czech Republic.

Chefs from 91 of the best restaurants listed in Maurer's annual Grand Restaurant Selection guide will offer tasting menus at special festival prices from Jan. 15 to Feb. 28, 2017. The restaurants are not only in Prague but also in every region of the Czech Republic. Degustation menus range from Kč 250 to Kč 600.

The motto for the seventh festival is “Baroque on a plate” (Baroko na talíři). Baroque art had a large impact on what is now the Czech Republic. The style is marked by richness of shapes, decoration and grandeur. While it is well-known in music, painting, sculpture and architecture, it is time for it to be seen again in cuisine as well, according to festival organizers.

Cuisine at that time was based on dishes created from a small number of basic ingredients including venison, fresh fish, veal, duck and crab. The menu often extended to escargot and in coastal areas, of course, seafood. Other ingredients of this period included cinnamon, honey, dried fruit, mushrooms, ginger and nuts, plus things that you can grow at home in the garden such as garlic, onions, herbs, and root vegetables. Sauces such as velouté and béchamel were also very popular.

Last year, the Grand Restaurant Festival had some 32,430 people visiting the selected restaurants for the special menus, which was about 5,000 more than the previous year. The themes last year were discovering new tastes, traditional recipes and terrior, and being in harmony with nature. Several eateries also had menus based on “taste the waste,” which used parts of ingredients that often get neglected and discarded.

The most popular venue last year was the Midtown Grill at the Marriott Hotel in Prague, which saw 2,304 visitors. Their menu there included grilled beef with morel sauce, plus courses with pork cheeks and seafood. The Augustine was in second place and V Zátiší was third.

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