A while back we hosted the opening night party for the cast and patrons of the play, The Kitchen Witches, at the Highlands, N.C. Performing Arts Center. The play is about two mature female cable TV cooking show hosts who’ve had an ongoing 30-year feud – both in the kitchen and in their personal lives. While the play has the two characters cooking up more insults than food, it does feature one baked treat called Babka, which is a traditional Polish Easter cake.
Because we wanted to maintain the theme of the play for our party, we decided to whip up some Babka. After several attempts and three days in the kitchen we came up with our version of the Easter favorite – soaked in rum. (Sure, we thought of trying vodka – THE Polish spirit – but figured it just didn’t have the flavor needed for this dessert.)
We decided to make Babka for our own Easter celebration. And this got us to thinking – how about pairing it with a Polish wine? We thought the cake was difficult!
Prior to World War II, vineyards were numerous in Poland – particularly along the western border of Germany, where some of the best-regarded sparkling wines were produced. But with the advent of communism, winemaking collapsed and was practically nonexistent until early this century.
Recent new plantings – mostly in the country’s southeast region – have started to revitalize the Polish wine industry. Varietals such as Rondo, Seyval Blanc (widely grown in Michigan and New York) and Riesling are able to cope with the extreme cold and frost and are being made into some good quality wines. Many Polish wine enthusiasts are supporting the industry and winemaking has become a fashionable activity for the business elite.
However, stateside, we’ll have to wait a bit. Polish wine is not exported much. So unless you’re planning a trip to Poland soon, you’ll have to make do with some Babka.
Barbara and Beverly