SLOVENIA / SLOVENIAN CUISINE
Slovenia has a wealth of dishes and drinks that have appeared during centuries at the meeting point of the Alps, the Mediterranean and the Pannonian cultures. The range of culinary creations features a wealth of flour-based foods and bread, which is represented in the north east of the country by the most diverse roll cakes like gibanica, kvasenica (a yeast cake) and polsonke (savoury). These specialities are best complemented by high quality white wines.
Various meat dishes are served throughout the country, in particular two specialities:
• sausages & salamis
• prosciutto - “ kraški pršut “ which is an air-dried pork from the Karst region customary served with a ruby-red wine called “ teran “.
The western part of Slovenia is known for its other varieties of red and white wine and is also home to the climate of olive trees, olive oil and seafood specialities. One of the typical dishes in Gorenjska - the lakes & mountains region, is most certainly ŽGANCI. These groats, that are made from buckwheat, barley or corn. They are usually served with sauerkraut or sour milk. Slovenian bread is excellent and a real treat is “mottled bread” in which three types of dough (buckwheat, wheat and corn) are combined into a roll and baked.
If we look on the vegetarian side of typical a Slovene menu, unfortunately you won't find a vast variety of dishes, because most of them do come hand in hand with meat. Nevertheless you will always find ŠTRUKLJI on the menu. These are dumplings made with cottage cheese, often with chives or tarragon. Besides that you will find a selection of salads or dairy products. Slovenia is becoming more aware of vegetarian cuisine, and with the influence from Italy there is normally a pasta dish on the menu.
Food and Drink
The most important thing to remember about Slovenian food is that it it heavily influenced by the cuisines of its neighbouring countries. For example:-
Austria - sausage (klobasa), strudel (zavitek) and Wiener schnitzel (Dunajski zrezek).
Italy - risotto (rižota), potato dumplings (njoki) and ravioli (žlikrofi).
Hungary- goulash (golaš) and chicken/beef stew (paprikaš).
Cakes and desserts
Slovenian cuisine boasts two excellent and very different desserts.
• POTICA almost a national institution kind of a nut roll (though often made with savoury fillings too) eaten after a meal or with coffee/tea during the day.
• GIBANICA from Prekmurje region is a rich concoction of pastry filled with poppy seeds, walnuts, apple and cottage-cheese, this is then and topped with cream. It is definitively not for dieters.
But the wonders of cakes do not end with these two. You are bound to find the following on offer as well:
• BLEJSKA GRMADA - a local invention, let it surprise you!
• KREMNA REZINA - special vanilla-cream with pastry and cream on top. A large vanilla slice.
• APPLE STRUDLE - a speciality made of dough and Apples.
• PANCAKES - usually with marmalade, nuts or chocolate.
• FRUIT CAKES - fresh cakes garnished with different fruit.
• CHOCOLATE CAKES - the best of the best.
• RAISED DOUGHNUTS - filled with marmalade.
• AND MUCH, MUCH MORE.
The quality of Slovenian wines compares favourably with some of the worlds best. Slovenia has a similar wine-growing tradition to the French, Italians or Spanish. Slovenia lies at the centre of the European wine- growing belt, at the same latitude as Burgundy or Bordeaux .
Its geographical diversity and varied climatic conditions make for a wide choice of wine, from typical central European quality white wines to late harvest wines with their characteristic taste of the noble grape fungus Botrytis. Not forgetting the dark red wines of the coastal tracts and pleasantly fresh, reddish young wines with their fruity flavours from the continental regions. It would be a sin not to mention the excellent vintage vines, stored for years, decades even, especially those kept in the famous Slovenian oak casks.
The art of wine growing began in Slovenia some 2400 years ago. Wine was cultivated here by the Celtic and Illyrin tribes of north-eastern Slovenia long before the arrival of the Romans. The industry of wine making developed in the Roman times, made this part of the world quite famous in the 1st century AD. There have been many archaeological finds from that area including goblets and glasses.
The art of wine growing almost died out in the 6th century with the arrival of the first Slav tribes from Russia , and again with the arrival of the Hungarians in the 9th Century. This was in a lesser degree for local consumption, returning to the forefront with the introduction of Christianity in the area developing actively in the 12th century when the Hungarian tribes withdrew. Wine was cultivated by Christian monks and from that time on their wine continued to develop. Some forestry area was cleared for new vineyards, which were manly owned by the Catholic Church and the local aristocracy.
Slovenia counts 14 distinct wine-growing areas, but there are just three major regions:
• PODRAVJE REGION along the Drava river, is known for its top quality white wines from Slovenske gorice and Haloze, Laški and Renski Rizling, Sivi Pinot and many others. These are aged in the large wine cellars of the old towns. This region also has the oldest vine in the world, more than 400 years old, its grapes are picked with great ceremony every year in Maribor .
• POSAVJE REGION lies along the Sava region and is known for Cvicek, light red wine and velvet smooth Metliška Crnina.
• PRIMORSKA REGION situated below the Mediterranean sun produces red wines such as the well-known Teran. In addition to red wines, it also produces white wines such as Rebula, Pinela and Zelen. Along Primorska's wine roads you will find the largest barrel in Slovenia , which holds more than forty thousand litres of wine.
Nowadays there are some 23.8 million gallons of wine produced in Slovenia per year. Slovenia has strict laws regarding the sale of wine such as French and German and in some cases even stricter and they do conform to the standards set by EU.
When choosing a wine look for signs vrhunsko vino (premium wine), kakovostno vino (quality wine) or why not choose the best sparkling wine in Slovenia for a special occasion - Zlata Radgonska Penina. Slovene wine is very good and excellent value. If you purchase a bottle of wine with your evening meal, you may find it expensive but when buying wine in a so called Vinoteka (specialised wine store) or even in supermarket it is more than just a good bargain.
In order to help you choose the right wine, here are some short descriptions:
SAUVIGNON a top quality wine which boasts good characteristics and a distinctive bouquet. It's a semi-dry wine, has a yellowish-green colour and and optimal proportion between total acidity and alcohol. Usually we are offered this wine at festive lunches with white meat, fish and pastry.
CVICEK Cvicek rose wine's native place is Slovenia . It is a wine of light red colour. It boasts a distinctive sourish, refreshing taste, a low level of alcohol and is extremely drinkable.
MODRA FRANKINJA Belongs between the most peculiar fragrant wine sorts of Slovenia and is considered to be the most particular wine sort of Slovenia . The wine has a dark-ruby red colour, is extremely full and tends to be rather dry and harsh.
LAŠKI RIZLING is a predicate wine and considered as a pillar among our celebrated good quality wines. It boasts noble characteristic of a late vintage, a distinctive bouquet, richness and smoothness. We usually serve it with sweets when finishing lunch finish or at various celebrations.
CHARDONNAY is a top quality wine boasting a hundred year old tradition. It has a distinctive bouquet and aroma plus an extremely explicit richness and harmony of ingredients. Chardonnay is a semi dry wine and goes well with many different courses. In particular it is taken with fish, veal and roasted cheese.
BIZELJČAN BELI (WHITE WINE FROM BIZELJSKO) is a quality dry wine of very full taste and very drinkable. It tastes sourish and has a pleasantly flowery bouquet. People often mix it with mineral water a spritzer - they go well together.
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||Most meals start with soup and some can be a meal in themselves
||Soup of the day
||Cream of mushroom
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||You should have no problem getting something hot between meals. Slovenians often have a snack about 10am which for some may be breakfast, and others already lunch! Here are a few ideas:-
||Spicy meatballs of beef or pork
|Zemljo s Sunko
||A baked cheese or meat pastry
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||Farmers feast of smoked meats & sauerkraut
||Breaded cutlet with cheese
||Braised beef with onions
||Beans, sauerkraut & potatoes or barley cooked with salt pork in a pot
||Pasta with cottage cheese inside, often served with sour cream & chives on top
||Deep fried cheese
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||You can't go home without trying at least one of these delicious desserts:-
||A nut roulade
||Pastry filled with poppy seeds, walnuts &/or sultanas & cheese, topped with cream!
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|Tea with milk
||Caj z mlekom
|Coffee with cream
||Kava s smetano
|Beer - small/large
||Pivo - malo/veliko
|Wine - Red/White
||Vino - Rdece/Belo
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