These little treats show up whenever Czechs organize a family party! They are called obložené chlebíčky, or in English open-faced sandwiches.
Open-Faced Sandwich Definition
Open-faced sandwiches or obložené chlebíčky are slices of a special type of white bread (veka in Czech), with butter, or occasionally, deli salad (vlašský or pochoutkový salát) spread on top and garnished with rolled ham slices, hard salami, cheese and more.
The end aesthetic of the sandwiches is also important. It dictates how the ham slices or cheese are garnished on top.
Czech open-face sandwiches are a good meal to feed a crowd. They‘re eaten at major celebrations: birthdays, weddings, Christmas and New Year's Eve, large family gatherings.
Read also: What do Czech eat at Christmas
Tip: Another great option for spreading white bread while making open-faced sandwiches is the famous Czech potato salad (bramborový salát).
Chlebíčky: A Czech Specialty with a Long History
The open-faced sandwich was invented in Prague by a delicatessen shop owner Jan Paukert.
He lived in Prague during the so-called First Czechoslovak Republic (in the interwar period; 1918-1938), and his shop was considered to be one of the 3 most famous European delicatessen shops.
The chlebíček was created because Jan Paukert wanted something between finger foods and large sandwiches. And the gourmet open-faced sandwiches really took off!
TIP: A bite-size open-faced sandwich is in Czech called jednohubka.
Veka: Czech White Bread
The base of the chlebíček is formed by a slice of white bread called “veka“ in the Czech Republic (similar to a french baguette).
Veka is a white stick loaf made out of yeasted dough. The slices of veka are about ½ inches thick.
It´s easy, you just need to grab the right knife and then a little patience to get even slices of veka.
Read on how to make homemade veka bread.
TIP: Try out topinka, an easy Czech appetizer!
How to Garnish Chlebíčky?
First, také a slice of veka and spread butter or some salty spread (Czechs typically use „vlašský salát“, a kind of ham salad).
Cook’s tip: Try out my sardine spread, it tastes heavenly good on veka!
This recipe uses the so-called „pomazánkové máslo“ something like spreadable butter, another popular Czech specialty.
You can then garnish the sandwich with the following delicatessen:
- ham slices or rolled hard salami slices
- hard boiled eggs, sliced into rounds
- wedge of tomato
- canned peppers
- sprig of parsley
- hard cheese
You can use various kinds of cheese, salami, ham or vegetables. Sprinkle the egg slices with sweet ground paprika or chili flakes for a nice effect.
My tip: Hermelínová pomazánka, a spread made with Czech famous Hermelín cheese
Watch this: Janek Rubeš (Honest Guy) Making Chlebíčky
Look at this VIDEO on Youtube, Janek Rubeš aka Hones Guy explains, how to make Czech open face sandwiches! Video with instructions in English.
More Czech recipes:
- Šunkofleky - Czech Ham and Noodle Casserole
- Bramboráky - Czech Potato Pancakes
- Česneková pomazánka – Czech Garlic Cheese Spread
Obložené Chlebíčky - Czech Open Faced Sandwiches
- French bread
- Spreadable butter or ham salad
- Boiled eggs
- Ham and hard salami thin slices
- Hard cheese Edam
- Springs of parsley
- Chili flakes
- Boil the eggs for 9 minutes, so the yolks keep their nice yellow color. Cool them down in cold water. Peel the finished hard-boiled eggs and cut them into circles.
- Slice the french bread into slices about ½ inch thick.
- Spread the butter or ham salad over the slices.
- Garnish one side of the sandwich with rolled ham or hard salami and the other with cheese and hard-boiled egg.
- Continue garnishing the chlebíček with pickles, tomato wedges, and a sprig of parsley.
- In the end, sprinkle the chili flakes over the hard-boiled egg.
DISCLAIMER: Because I come from Central Europe, my recipes are based on metric units such as grams or milliliters. Check out how I convert metric units to the U.S. system:Conversion chart