A little bit of language first. The full name is obložený chlebíček (singular) or obložené chlebíčky (plural) which literally means “small garnished bread(s)”.
However, if you say just chlebíček or chlebíčky, everybody in the Czech Republic will know what you mean.
What type of sandwiches are these?
The most important feature is that there is only one slice of bread. Besides this basically, anything goes. In general we could say that a chlebíček has three main parts: bread, spread and garnish. The bread is usually plain white baguette called veka.
The spread can be anything from butter through typical Czech sandwich spreads like vlašský salát (vlašák). As for the garnish, there are traditional garnishes like cheese, ham, egg and gherkins but there are also luxurious varieties with caviar and smoked salmon. As for the size, the original chlebíčky sandwiches were rather small, nowadays they come in different sizes.
Brief history of chlebíčky
The creator of chlebíčky was a Czech charcuterie shop owner Jan Paukert who founded his shop in 1916 and invented the open sandwich not long after. It was the painter Jan Skramlík who came to his friend Paukert and said that he didn’t like the canapés called jednohubky because they were too small.
He suggested that the ideal party food should be for two to three bites. And Paukert did well in taking his friend’s advice. His customers liked the new sandwiches instantly and Paukert’s shop became famous in the whole city of Prague. Many celebrities of that era loved his sandwiches. Among them Jan Werich or Vlasta Burian who even organized parties for his friends where chlebíčky was served.
The popularity of these party sandwiches is still huge. And no wonder, they have a much better bread-garnish ratio than usual sandwiches and because they’re open they look very pretty which makes them ideal party food.
People make them typically for birthday or New Year’s Eve celebration but you’ll find them also at very fancy and VIP events.
How to make these sandwiches
As mentioned, anything goes. The original Czechoslovak standardized recipes contained around 100 types of chlebíčky.
If you want to make some of the traditional ones, you will need a white baguette for bread and some of the typical spreads: vlašský salát, pařížský salát, garlic spread or egg spread…and for the garnish some ham, sliced or grated cheese, boiled eggs and slices of red pepper, tomato and gherkins.
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.
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 70 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.
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 30 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.
Two small and cosy sandwich bistros called Sisters are located in Spálená Streest and 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.