In Prague, dumplings that say ‘Mom’

Petr Kosiner owns the Czech Republic's first homemade dumpling shop. He hopes to change the misconception that "store-bought" can't compare to homemade for one of the country's staple side dishes.

• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

“Since I’ve started making my own dumplings, I don’t buy them anymore,” said Zdenek Snajder, a Prague resident. “I can alter the recipe based on what I am serving them with, and my wife prefers them.”

The Czech dumpling is a locally cherished side dish that serves to soak up sauces. It is often paired with traditional Czech meals such as goulash and sliced beef with cream sauce.

But sampling the work of Petr Kosiner, owner of the country’s first homemade dumpling shop, might change Mr. Snajder’s mind about “store-bought” houskove knedliky.

Mr. Kosiner’s dumpling shop has only been open since the summer, but he’s been selling to restaurants and at farmers’ markets for nearly a year. His bread, potato, herbed, and meat-and fruit-filled dumplings have the “just like homemade” taste not found in most store-bought brands. “I have special recipes – my dumplings must be better,” Kosiner says.

He says Czechs can taste the difference between mass-produced dumplings and ones only Mom can make. He hopes to win over those who have sworn off the “inferiority” of commercial dumplings.

“We have a totally different way of thinking; [my dumplings are] homemade with good quality ingredients.”

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