Roast Loin of Pork with Juniper and Poppy Seeds. Italy. (Photo by: Eddy Buttarelli/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Food - Drink
The Reason Poppy Seeds Are Beloved Across Eastern Europe
When food lovers think of Eastern European cuisine, they likely picture pierogis, pickled vegetables, and potato pancakes, but those who live outside of the region may not know that poppy seeds play a major role in many meals. From bialys to poppy seed rolls and more, this is why Eastern Europeans love these tiny seeds.
In Eastern Europe, poppy seeds represent wealth, prosperity, and a bright future, so the seeds are popular at special occasions. There's the Polish seed-stuffed cake called Makowiec, eaten Christmas for good luck, and Hungarian mákos guba, a poppy seed-laden dish similar to bread pudding that brings luck and fortune to the new year.
From noodle dishes to pastries, poppy seeds are sprinkled on foods or poured liberally into dishes in other countries like Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, and the western part of Russia. The seeds are not only symbolic, but play well with the hearty cuisines and flavors of Eastern Europe.