I do not have a Polish bone in my body but am always open to sampling new cuisines so when the Polish Village Bread company invited me to try some of the products from their range of ultra-convenient chilled village meals I jumped at it.
I got the food just in time for a supper I was hosting for some new friends and it looked so lovely I decided to abandon my original menu and serve a selection of Polish food including dumplings, pancakes and vegetable dishes. This turned out to be a fortuitous decision.
On the day in question I ended up in hospital for hours with my son. He was there to have tests for an ongoing condition and although I optimistically hoped to be home by lunchtime I actually only just made it home to pick the other children up from school.
Feeling stressed and panicky I yanked the Polish Village meals out of the fridge expecting to have to start cooking right away. Imagine my delight and relief when I realised they were all microwaveable in a matter of minutes giving me time to quickly tidy and clean and get changed. (you can fry or oven cook many dishes but to be honest microwaving them was fine)
I set my daughter to work sorting out a menu for our guests- as I popped each microwaved dish into a pre-warmed serving bowl I got her to describe the bowl and its contents on paper so we would know what we were eating. I planned to serve all the dishes tapas style so we could all try a bit of everything. I kept the dishes I had heated keeping warm on a low heat in the oven while I microwaved the rest. Then when our guests arrived I just pulled them all out onto the table trying hard not to look too smug.
The food was delicious! There were dumplings (pierogi) stuffed with pork and sauerkraut, potato and soft cheese and sauerkraut with mushroom.
There were giant pancakes stuffed with spicy chicken, pancakes with spinach and cheese and pancakes with mushroom and cheese. My favourite dish was cabbage leaf packages stuffed with pork and rice. We also had sauerkraut and cabbage side dishes.
Now this is not airy-fairy nouveau cuisine. This is substantial food. We found it both tasty and incredibly filling. These dishes were served between 8 as a starter and since it was so delicious we ate all of it and then didn't really have room for a main course.
My guests were very impressed and I slightly regretted warning them at the start of the meal that it was fundamentally a selection of ready-meals I had microwaved. I reckon I could have passed it all off as home-made!
As I mentioned, I am not in any way Polish so cannot really comment on how authentic the food was. However a snoop round the Polish Village Bread website indicates to me that the company has many happy customers.
The company started life as a Polish bakery and sells a range of bread, rolls, doughnuts, cheesecakes, yeast-based cakes, special and celebration cakes and cream cakes. I was sent a gorgeous moist cake topped with bilberries and raspberries which again I could have passed off as homemade if I had been cheeky enough.
You can telephone or email and order many of the products but at the moment the Polish Village Bread Polish Village meals are only available from Polish shops in the UK, mostly in and around London. If your local Polish store doesn't stock them yet- get them to order some in! Prices vary according to each store's mark up.
Hopefully soon you will be able to order the meals via the evolving website. Since the company already has a fleet of delivery vans covering the UK it shouldn't be too difficult to add these to the list of products they can deliver.
I was very impressed overall with the appearance, ease of preparation and taste of the food. Next time I serve them however I will be more prepared and wear my stretchy trousers!
Disclaimer: I was sent a selection of Polish Village Bread Polish Village Meals for the purpose of this honest review.