Australian Winter Story

Wafers, honey, garlic and wafer rolls. Perfect Slovak Christmas combination. source:

It´s friday evening, around 6pm. I am cleaning the sink (what a wonderful friday activity) in the kitchen of my small apartment in a boarding house. Yep, as a boarding staff member I live in a boarding. Plus I am from Slovak republic, no local, so this option is in my situation very handy.

Suddenly I hear knocking on my door. All kids are gone because of holidays, so there are not many options to guess who came. And unfortunately it´s probably not Santa.

I open the door and my funny australian colleague (from Brisbane, also boarding house citizen by now) comes in for the challenge he recently accepted.

In Slovak republic we have one delicious thing which probably every slovak family eats on Christmas. Or even before the christmas time - during the whole december. Two thin wafers, sticked together with honey and chopped garlic.

These people are so surprised when I even mention eating a raw garlic. I usually eat garlic when I am sick. Or I make a garlic soup. On the next day you don´t even know that you felt bad the day before. And well, you finally understand why vampires never do this. And you probably will never do it again as well, unless you are a tough type.

I put on the wafer a generous portion of honey and just gentle amount of garlic. I didn´t want to scary him a lot. And well, not to kill him either. He took the innocently looking sweet circle from my hand and just before the first bite he looked at me and said: “This is the revenge for Vegemite, right?”

It was not, but we can call it like that. If you never tried Vegemite, you definitely should. I am vegetarian, so I used to try Marmite before and I think you might consider them being twins. But to be honest - it takes a while till you put such a generous layer of it on your toast as these people do.

Let´s get back to the story.
The first bite. Noisy crunch is being heard in every corner of a silent room. The second bite. The third.
“You didn´t put so much garlic in it, did you?” he said suspiciously.
“No, I didn´t. Do you like it?”
“Yeah…it´s…allright.” I think everybody knows these polite reactions.

Oh, people, it´s so amazing! Despite my offer he didn´t want more. But he handled it and didn´t run away from the challenge. When he was leaving, I gave him Kolonada, famous czech wafers, Horalky, our most common biscuit and one bar of an amazing dark chocolate Lyra. At least some St. Nicolaus present, when he finally survived the garlic attack.

(Typical St. Nicolaus (or Mikulas as we call him) present in my family includes peanuts, mandarines, chocolate sweets and if the kid was a bit cheeky (evil), also the garlic, onion, coal and mixing spoon (for beating) as well). But all these things are just symbolic, no kid is pushed to eat the raw onion in front of the eyes of a parent with the threat of being beaten by the spoon or so.

I picked for him just the most representative sweets, so he could try something really no australian. Tim Tam are allright, but…get Horalky. And you can´t compare Cadbury with Lyra at all. If you´d like to give it a try, Lyra is also the part of a I promise you will not regret it. Some of my australian friends may already claim that too. ;) Seven kilos of this chocolate treasure mysteriously disappeared in the depths of a boarding house suspiciously fast. And not by kids.

I should try to make some our typical christmas cake or biscuits here, but I am not sure if they would suit to this tropical weather and very…light christmas mood, when I compare it with all that romantic snow, freezing, night lights, christmas markets and so on at home.

Still speaking about desserts, thing I like here are the scones despite they are originally british. Funny dot at the end:
One colleague once asked me:
“So, what are the scones like in Slovakia?”
“Well…we don´t have the scones.”
“Oh. I guess the sugar is too expensive though.”
“ We eat cakes, we just don´t eat scones.”

At that moment it was pretty funny. And after all — we got the scones together as a sign of our friendship again.

Hope you are looking forward to coming Christmas. If you´d like to have a new tradition, no matter in which country you live, St. Nicolaus is on 6th of December, so watch your shoes. If you cleaned them properly, there might occur some nice sweet present for you. Or maybe something bit more challenging — what makes it unforgettable for sure.