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 particular 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 essential. It dictates how the ham slices or cheese are garnished on top.
Czech open-faced sandwiches are an excellent meal to feed a crowd. They‘re eaten at significant celebrations: birthdays, weddings, Christmas and New Year's Eve, and 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 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 three most famous European delicatessen shops.
The chlebíček was created because Jan Paukert wanted something between finger foods and giant 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, take 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 famous 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
- dill pickles
- wedge of tomato
- canned peppers or fresh bell pepper cut into rings
- 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.
Interested in Czech cuisine? Discover more authentic Czech food!
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, where Janek Rubeš, known as Hones Guy, explains how to make Czech open-faced 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
- Hot open-faced sandwich – ďábelské topinky
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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
My parents come from the Czech Republic, and these sandwiches were a mainstay on our New Year's Eve parties. Even as a small girl, my favorite was the garlic one. Now I make them (my husband even helps sometimes!) for New Year's Eve, and they're usually eaten in the first hour of the party. This is a really good recipe!
I usually make chlebíčky around Christmas or New Years. I don't know why. We like them so much, we could certainly enjoy them all year around.
Our usual spread used for the "glue" is mashed potato salad, because that's usually something I always have on hand for the holidays. and it already contains a generous amount of eggs
The tops are usually layered with salami or ham, grape tomatoes, Italian Parsley and sliced gherkins. The platter usually contains a bowl of mixed olives, feta, and I usually offer tomato juice along side.
Thank you for reminding me of this tasty treat.
Thank you, Marils, for your lovely comment! We also make chlebicky on New Year's Eve and at family celebrations in our house. Potato salad as a base is a great choice, then just garnish with cheese, ham, boiled egg. Unbelievable goodness!
I’m so glad to find your website. My high school class is having our collective 75th birthday party shortly. I promised to bring some goodies: chlebicky and babovka so they can experience Czech food. I was going to make chlebicky from memory—who knew there is an actual recipe! After 12 years of struggling to learn Czech, I can cook far better than I can speak.
Ahoj Frantisku, thank you very much for your lovely comment, it made me happy! First of all, big congratulations and wishes for such a wonderful anniversary, the 75th birthday must be celebrated properly! Babovka and chlebicky are worthy dishes from Czech cuisine that will stand out on a festively set table - an excellent choice 🙂 I wish you all an awesome celebration and may the goodies you bring be enjoyed by everyone.
Hodne stesti a zdravi vsem preje Petra! (My humble contribution in the Czech language)