Republic of Poland is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate.With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union.Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk and Szczecin.
Polish cuisine has evolved over the centuries to become very eclectic due to Poland's history. Polish cuisine shares many similarities with other Central European cuisines, especially German and Austrian as well as Jewish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Russian, French and Italian culinary traditions. It is rich in meat, especially pork, chicken and beef (depending on the region) and winter vegetables (cabbage in the dish bigos), and spices. It is also characteristic in its use of various kinds of noodles the most notable of which are kluski as well as cereals such as kasha (from the Polish word kasza). Polish cuisine is hearty and uses a lot of cream and eggs. Festive meals such as the meatless Christmas Eve dinner (Wigilia) or Easter breakfast could take days to prepare in their entirety.
The main course usually includes a serving of meat, such as roast, chicken, or kotlet schabowy (breaded pork cutlet), vegetables, side dishes and salads, including surówka [suˈrufka] – shredded root vegetables with lemon and sugar (carrot, celeriac, seared beetroot) or sauerkraut (Polish: kapusta kiszona, pronounced [kaˈpusta kʲiˈʂɔna]). The side dishes are usually potatoes, rice or kasza (cereals). Meals conclude with a dessert such as sernik, makowiec (a poppy seed pastry), or drożdżówka [drɔʐˈd͡ʐufka] yeast pastry, and tea.