Poznan chefs to serve a taste of home for Irish football fans
TASTY: Humble spud is locals' favourite dish
IRISH football fans should feel right at home with the 'potato people' when they travel to Euro 2012.
Locals in Poznan are known as 'pyra' for their unusual accents and love of spuds.
Potatoes are the basis for many of the local dishes, served on their own with cottage cheese or as a gratin.
Other specialities include meat dumplings, roast duck with red cabbage, sausages, puddings,and goat cheese.
While pork and beef are the main meats available, some restaurants offer game and horse meat as delicacies.
A very popular dish in Poland that may be somewhat of a culture shock to Irish nationals is smalec, a sort of pork dripping or lard which is eaten with bread as a starter or appetiser.
A simple two-course meal and one drink in Gdansk should set you back around €10 and €15 in Poznan, with prices rising by another €5 in higher standard establishments.
According to local tourism sources, restaurants in Poznan and Gdansk, where Ireland will play Croatia, Italy and Spain, could push up prices by up to 50pc.
However, the cost of food and drink is not expected to rise by as much as that of accommodation which is already up by four times.
At the moment, Polish beer costs around 8zl (Polish zloty) or approximately €2 in Gdansk and slightly more in Poznan, but local guides believe that prices will be closer to €3 in June.
Expect to pay up to €5 for a pint of foreign beers like Guinness or Heineken in international and Irish pubs.
Breweries, such as the famous Brovaria on the Old Market Square in Poznan, also offer their own beers -- Pils, Honey or Wheat beer.
Fortuna, a traditional beer, also offers cola and cherry flavours for those looking for something different.
While Poland produces its own wine, the 2011 and 2012 harvests were not the best and a glass of house foreign wine costs between €4 and €5.
Vodka is very popular across Poland, especially Zubrowka Bison Grass, a type of herb-flavoured vodka, which is drunk with apple juice. Vodka can cost between €2 and €5 per 4cl.
Flavoured shots made from fruit liqueur, such as Soplica Malinowa, are almost de rigueur on nights out.
'Formula bars', where only two prices apply to food and drinks served, are the best place to get them.
As long as prices remain the same, €1 per shot or a half pint of beer, these small bars should be very popular with travellers on a small budget.
In terms of transport, try to avoid renting cars in Poland as traffic is frequent on national roads and the system can be confusing with no direct motorway between the two cities. On match days, it will be particularly difficult to drive around Gdansk as the 3km road going from the fan zone to the stadium will be closed off four hours before the match. Parking will also be limited. In Poznan, many roads in the city centre will be converted to pedestrian zones for the duration of the championships.
Those with a ticket to the matches will get free public transport on the day in both cities. Otherwise, bus and tram fares cost around €1.
Those looking to enjoy the nightlife in Sopot, where the Irish squad is staying, can get there within 15 minutes by train from Gdansk for around €2, and service continues throughout the night.
Travelling by train from Poznan to Gdansk takes around five hours and most trains do not have a snack bar, so bring food or water with you. Tickets in a second class carriage cost nearly €15, one way.