Czech New Year’s Eve Just Wouldn’t Be the Same without the Local Speciality – Open Faced Sandwiches

Czech New Year’s Eve Just Wouldn’t Be the Same without the Local Speciality – Open Faced Sandwiches

An open faced sandwich (in Czech: chlebíček) is an item of quite small dimensions but of serious importance. Very popular with Czechs, open faced sandwiches are a must at various family celebrations, and even more so on New Year’s Eve.

In the Czech Republic the locals love the open faced sandwich almost as passionately as they do beer. Small slices of veka (long narrow white bread) topped with a combination of ham, cheese, pickled vegetables, mayonnaise and eggs are affectionately prepared by Czechs for birthday parties, wedding receptions or just for guests to nibble on. Simply, chlebíček is a Czech delicacy that a New Year’s Eve celebration cannot do without. We have selected for you five places where you can enjoy some of the best open faced sandwiches in Prague no matter what day it is.
Each “sandwich bar” has its own original specialities and techniques which it tries to keep secret from the others. Nonetheless, the initial procedure in open faced sandwich preparation has been the same for years.  In the early 20th century this type of food was served at fancy parties where the cream of society was feasting on the very best of the best fare – truffles and such. Tips on how to make open faced sandwiches appeared in one cookbook as early as 1931. It advised that chlebíčeks should be prepared shortly before being served to prevent them from becoming stale and that they should be garnished with no more than five ingredients, all of which however, must be of top quality.

During the years, owing to their practical nature, open faced sandwiches became popular throughout society and the recipe underwent some adjustments – expensive ingredients were replaced by those more affordable, truffles gave way to salami. Over time exotic or more costly toppings found their way back onto these sandwiches but the salami decorated classics have remained thanks to their great popularity.

Below you will find some of the most well-liked establishments in Prague. Forget about your waistline for a while - anyway it’s always best to start dieting in the New Year.

Chlebíčky Letná

Many years have passed but it’s still as good … the sandwich bistro in Letná quarter has not really aged at all and in Prague you won’t find a soul that hasn’t heard about it. An open faced sandwich here will cost you about twenty crowns and you can take your pick from the classic topping range – ham, cheese, crab salad, Hermelín cheese and lots of other tried and trusted ingredients. If you feel a little guilty because of all of these calories, you can order a mini open faced sandwich. A half portion comes at half-price.

Libeřské lahůdky

Libeřské lahůdky have several outlets throughout Prague. However, in each and every one you will be treated to the same high level of quality, whether you pop into the shop near Wenceslas Square or in Vinohrady quarter. Chlebíčks taste simply delicious in all of them. Being a family business with a long tradition, Libeřské lahůdky has managed to perfect its recipe. How about sampling its debrecen-ham or caviar open faced sandwich?

Lahůdky Zlatý kříž

Lahůdkářství Zlatý kříž (Golden Cross Delicatessen) calls itself a sandwich paradise. And it is not a case of being arrogant it is simply the truth, because it sells 50 (yes, really, fifty) types of various sizes.  And if it seems to you that your chlebíček orgy has left you with an extra pound or two, you can try the low calorie range.

Prima Chlebíčky

A few steps from the National Museum  you will find a simple shop where all attention is focused on open faced sandwiches. True, their offer stretches to some desserts too, but nobody really takes any notice of them. The place sells both classic chlebíčks as well as those aimed at real gourmets – for example a delicacy with smoked breast of duck, goat cheese with cranberries and Niva cheese with apple.

Sisters

A small and cosy sandwich bistro called Sisters is located at the beginning of Dlouhá Street, which is reputed for its bars and wild night life. So before setting off for a party or to the nearby Old Town Square, have a snack – have a chlebíček. Sisters is a novice among the established “sandwich bars” and therefore it relies on tried and trusted techniques with mild innovations. One of them being that in Sisters they make open faced sandwiches from their own sourdough bread. Right opposite the bistro stands the renowned Prague butcher’s, where you can buy a meat delicacy just to nibble on. What would you say to a baguette stuffed full of the best ham? … Well, that has to be a topic for a different article, so in conclusion – enjoy your feast and be lucky when choosing the most delicious chlebíček.