WHAT TO EAT WHEN YOU ARE IN SLOVENIA – THE BEST SLOVENIAN FOOD
Slovenia is a foodie destination for sure. If you want to eat top class, you don’t need to tear apart your wallet. Prices are reasonable, and the offer is diverse. The kitchen went through some rough times. Today, however, it’s stable and the future is bright. I say hard times because the Slovenian nation used to submerge to other nations, ideas or their impacts. Only a decade ago, there was plenty of French kitchens with the fusion of Italian cuisine and some avantgarde guidelines. Lately, however, a few of individuals took things into their hands and brought back good traditional Slovenian cuisine with a modern touch. Surely, we didn’t visit them all, and we still have some unseen places in this beautiful country that we want to stop at.
We dined at some of the best restaurants and we can confirm that this country is one of the top food destinations in Europe. So, what can you expect from Slovenian cuisine? For sure, very mixed and diverse choice of food in different regions or just a town, you are in. You will find some similarities between all variations, but the taste will be different. Meals are served in three courses mostly. First, there is a soup or, in a more modern approach, a cold or hot appetizer, main dish with meat in the mainland or fish at the seaside, and a dessert. The main dish is well-balanced with a lot of vegetables. The salad next to the main dish is not uncommon. The most common side dish is a potato. However, you will also find some traditional dough side dishes such as struklji or krapi. Struklji is composed of dough and mostly young cheese filling rolled in a roll and cooked in boiling water. The fillings can be different and can be served as a main dish, side dish, or even a desert.
The meat will be the king on the plate. They have a lot of pork, beef, and chicken. Lately, however, other varieties of meat have been coming in the foreground. However, it wasn’t always like that. The meat was on a plate only on Sundays and mostly in towns, while the countryside was enjoying their meals with a lot of homegrown vegetables. Some vegetable was preserved through fermentation which is also a global culinary trend. My favorite Slovenian dish has also some of these fermented goodies on the side. It’s quite a heavy meal that is usually enjoyed in cold days and composed of four sides. First, there is some mash that is a mix of cooked potato and beans with fried garlic. Next, there is a blood sausage and a sausage similar to German bratwurst. The last ingredient of that dish is fermented cabbage, fried with garlic and pork cracklings. Sometimes fermented cabbage can be replaced by fermented turnip which is also great. You can expect this typical Slovenian dish in late fall and in winter when it is the time for slaughter. At that time, it is also popular to prepare roasted livers with onion! Oh, my god, you really need to try this delicacy full of fat and flavors. You can order this dish in veal version throughout the country all year long.
In Slovenia, they are a specialist for dishes which can be eaten with a spoon. There you can eat soups, and stronger thicker soup varieties are available. They can be eaten alone with some good home-made bread. Some of those dishes were introduced from the neighboring countries and set the roots in Slovenia. One of our favorite thick soups is jota. A strong soup with turnip, beans, onions, potatoes, and smoked pork ribs in it. This dish is traditional at the seaside. They mastered it into perfection. The other similar thick soup is ricet, which was brought from Germany. It contains pot barley, beans, potatoes, carrots, parsley, celery, leeks, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. There is typically a substantial amount of cured pork in it. After this tasty thick soup, it is great to have a traditional dessert. My favorite is gibanica, which is multilayered pastry assembled, with cheese, curd, apples, walnuts, and poppy seeds. You will also find apple strudel or even blueberry strudel absolutely delicious. And if you are lucky it will be still warm. The other traditional dessert from Slovenia is – potica. A multilayered roulade-like baked pastry filled with walnuts and young cheese. These fine pieces are good next to some coffee or tea and an easy peasy afternoon snack.
Here is a list of delicious food you need to try when you visit Slovenia.
- Idrijski zlikrofi: dumplings that originate from Idrija. They are made from dough with potato filling and are often served either as a side dish to meat or on their own, in which case they are topped with fried breadcrumbs.
- Ajdovi zganci: buckwheat mush sprinkled with pork cracklings and in some cases with sour milk or sour cabbage on the side.
- Jota: is a strong soup with turnip, beans, onions, potatoes, and smoked pork ribs in it.
- Matevz: is made of mashed beans and potato with cracklings.
- Roasted potato: we have tried this dish in Austria, France, and Germany and we can assure you. Here they come upon the best to do it. They even have annual competition in the cooking of this dish.
- Langus: is fried potato dough with horseradish, radish, and chives on top. This dish you will find only in Prekmurje region.
- Struklji: are composed of dough and various types of filling. The dish comes in the form of rolls, which can be either cooked or baked and can have a wide range of fillings.
- Kranjska klobasa: is one of the best sausages in the world. It’s geographically protected, and you will find it almost everywhere.
- Potica: is present on all celebrations and is a multilayered roulade-like baked pastry filled with walnuts and young cheese. There are many different filling options.
- Strudel: is a type of layered pastry with a filling that is usually sweet and sour. The most common is apple version.
- Blejska kremna rezina (Cream cake): it’s made with wholesome ingredients like eggs, cream, and milk with a small amount of sugar.
- Prekmurska gibanica: is a pastry assembled with cheese, curd, apples, walnuts and poppy seeds.
I’m sure we left something out, but it will be good for a culinary start. And here is the list of restaurants we tested and are proven the best ones in Slovenia! Those aren’t fancy restaurants with some French cuisine, but restaurants with good traditional Slovenian cuisine!