Traditional 38% (76 proof) liquor made with a large number of herbs from a secret recipe of the Karlovy Vary pharmacist Jan Becher, created in 1807. Much like the recipe for Coca-Cola, the Becherovka recipe is also hidden in a safe and, reputedly, only two people in the company have access. It is nonetheless a frequent topic of discussion to what extent the current recipe matches the two-hundred-year-old original. A favorite drink of the current Czech President, Mr. Miloš Zeman. Unfortunately, he has a habit of drinking it in quantities unbecoming his office, as well as during his work hours.
Olomoucké tvarůžky (Olomouc Cheese)
Soft cheese made from low-fat, sour cottage cheese, known for its characteristic fragrance (or rather, stench) and taste. The oldest record of it dates to 1452, and describes it as a commonplace food that was even used as a unit of account. Great with beer, as well as with garlic.
The national drink, and a big part of the Czech identity. Personally, I recommend the Pilsner Urquell brand (translator’s note: translator concurs). That’s the largest, probably best-known brewery, and its beer is consistently ranked near the top. It is also exported in massive quantities, meaning it’s the Czech beer you’re most likely to find in your home country. From the other widely-available brands, I can swear by Kozel 11, Krušovice 12, and Bernard, among others. In Prague, you may also occasionally come across beer by the small Únětice brewery, which is excellent. Also common in recent years are beers from some of the micro-breweries, of which there appear to be a limitless number in the country.
Soft cheese with a distinctive aroma and taste, fairly similar to Olomouc Cheese.
Fernet Stock (and Fernet Stock Citrus)
A hard liquor made with 14 different herbs, known for its signature bitter taste. Originally made by Lionel Stock in the West Bohemian city of Pilsen in 1927 (Pilsen is also home to Pilsner Urquell beer and Bohemia Sekt sparkling wines), it has since become very popular across the country. Also made in a Citrus variant, which is noticeably milder (and somewhat less alcoholic) than the regular kind.
Lázeňské oplatky (Spa Waffles)
Confectionery made from two large, thin, circular waffles with various fillings in the middle. Local brands are made in most Czech towns claiming to be “spa towns,” particularly those in Western Bohemia (Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně, Františkovy Lázně). Industrial production started around 1856.