Slovenian food: 10 dishes you have to try
Slovenia is a perfect place for all food lovers. Therefore we have prepared this article about Slovenian food with 10 traditional dishes you really have to try.
If you have the opportunity, go on a unique culinary journey across the country and discover that each region has its typical Slovenian food, which you can taste in many restaurants throughout the country, but for the best experience, it is best to visit tourist farms and old village inns. If the trip leads you to the mountain world, do not miss the mountain cabins, where Slovenian food is still prepared according to the old recipes.
Various and rich gastronomic offer in Slovenia enables you to taste the most recognizable culinary delights in as many as 24 culinary regions. You will discover that Slovenian food is something special because of the process of preparing the meals, the selection of local and fresh raw materials and because of the mixing flavors that give Slovenian dishes a specific mark.
Slovenes are proud of the products and Slovenian food that has a protected geographical mark, which represents the country worldwide and promotes the regional and cultural gastronomic diversity in Slovenia.
Since Slovenian food plays an important role in daily life, Slovenes organize various annual festivals and culinary events throughout the country. Below, we present ten famous Slovenian dishes. The list will help you to choose from the menus in restaurants when you will seek for tasty local specialties.
Štruklji or rolled dumplings are one of the best-known Slovenian dishes with first recipes from the 16th century when cooked rolled dumplings were part of cuisine in monasteries and then established in the 17th century as a festive middle-class meal. Today, this Slovenian food is a popular side dish for meat and sauces, and it can also be a delicious dessert.
The first rolled dumplings in a spiral or swirly shape were made of strudel dough. They are also made from leavened, phyllo, noodle and potato dough. You can order this traditional Slovenian food with different fillings, that can be either sweet or salty. Fillings can be made of tarragon, cottage cheese, nuts, apples, poppy seeds, and cheese. Štruklji are prepared differently in different regions, so you can try delicious rolled dumplings such as:
Žganci or corn mush or spoonbread is one of the most widespread Slovenian dishes, particularly those who are prepared with buckwheat flour and dressed with cracklings. If you are not a fan of cracklings, you can eat this healthy Slovenian food with sour milk, mushroom soup or chicken stew. Maize žganci are delicious with goulash and buckwheat spoonbread with sauerkraut. On a side, you can also order pork sausage or blood sausage.
Buckwheat žganci are traditional Slovenian food in the Upper Carniola region. If you are going on a guided hiking tour anywhere in the Julian Alps, do not forget to stop by in the mountain cottages, where they serve the Gorenjska žganci version, where the flour is cooked in salted boiling water. They will also add potatoes and semolina or corn grits.
Spoonbread is considered as a perfect meal that gives your body a lot of energy, so try them during a hiking tour through the beautiful alpine world. There are also some other preparations for this specific Slovenian food:
Potica or rolled dough is the most famous Slovenian cake, and it is known almost everywhere in the world and recognized as an ambassador of Slovenia. The oldest written source about potica was mentioned in 1689 in the famous book The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola written by Janez Vajkard Valvasor. Originally, the roll was prepared only for the nobles and the upper class but was later also popular in the lower classes.
The festive pastry is made from rolled up and leavened dough, which they overlay with one filling or more, and then the dough is rolled into a roll or oblong loaf, which is baked in a special baking tray and then served in slices.
Potica can be prepared with more than 80 different fillings, the most common of which are fillings with tarragon, walnuts, poppy seeds, chives, cheese, and raisins. This sweet Slovenian food is prepared differently in particular parts of the country, so on your culinary journey you can try:
Bujta repa is haggis-style blood and meat sausages with turnip stew and is one of the most recognizable culinary specialties of the Prekmurje cuisine. In the autumn and winter, this traditional Slovenian food is more or less a constant meal on farms, as well as in many village inns. There is also an annual event to honor bujta repa, similar to the bograč, a type of goulash, cooking competition, which is another famous gastronomic delicacy in the Prekmurje region.
Preparation of bujta repa is associated with another fall-winter farm job when farmers every year make pork meat and sausages. The name of the dish is also linked with the slaughter of a pig, as “bujta” in the northeastern dialect means “killed”. Otherwise, you can also order this dish meat-free as it is equally tasty.
Sour or pickled turnip hotpot is a one-course meal consisting of basic ingredients such as millet porridge, pork and grated sour turnip. Most often, it is seasoned with garlic, onions and ground red peppers, for a richer flavor. You can also eat this Slovenian food with roast pork or with millet or buckwheat black pudding.
Sausage Kranj style is the most famous Slovenian food based on the rich heritage of pig processing into meat products. The earliest mention of the Kranj sausage dates from the early 19th century, during the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. It is mentioned in a large number of old cookbooks and was known and praised by Emperor Franz Joseph.
From the Upper Carniola region, where it originated, this popular Slovenian food spread throughout the country. Since Carniolan sausage originates in this part of the country, you can try it in one of the best restaurants in Bled, where local delicacies enrich the taste of the sausage.
Carniolan sausage is a meat product that is protected by a geographical mark and can only be produced and named by certified manufacturers. Only the best pork meat and hard bacon are used to make the Carniolan sausage, to which salt, pepper, and garlic are added.
According to the folk tradition, Carniola sausage is served warm with sauerkraut or sour turnip or cold with a bread roll, mustard, grated horseradish and a mug of beer. It tastes good in stews, as the sausage gives a spicier flavor.
In the Bela Krajina region, you can also try a cereal sausage filled with millet porridge and a type of stuffed pork stomach. The Central Sava region is known for its semi-durable sausage with a liver filling that can be served warm or cold.
Idrijski žlikrofi or Idrija dumplings originating from Idrija with its surroundings are well known traditional Slovenian food. They are prepared from home-made noodle dough, filled with potato stuffing and have a characteristic shape. Preparation is based on an old recipe that was described in the mid-19th century.
These filled pastas used to be cooked by housewives for their husbands who worked in a mine nearby. Nowadays, stuffed dumplings from Idrija are officially protected by a geographical origin, mainly because of their specific production and a unique recipe.
Idrija dumplings are stuffed inside with:
Idrija dumplings are similar in shape to ravioli, but are made from two thin layers of pasta that are pressed together and hold the stuffing in the middle. Preparation requires some skill, as the dimensions of a true žlikrof are well-defined, such as 3 centimeters in length and 2 centimeters in height.
Stuffed dumplings are cooked in water and served as a warm appetizer, side dish or one-course meal. Delicious Slovenian food from Idrija can be dressed with lamb and vegetable sauce, which the locals also call “bakalca”. However, bakalca can be made from mutton with sauce or rabbit meat.
Gibanica or layer cake is one of the old festive and ceremonial Slovenian desserts, which originate from the region along the Mura River. The oldest written recipe dates back to 1828. This sweet Slovenian food is under European protection and is regarded as one of the national gastronomic delicacies, due to its flavor, ingredients and a unique recipe.
Prekmurje flat cake can be sweet or salty, and it is made of strudel dough layers and layers of many fillings. The classic gibanica is made of nine layers with fillings like poppy seeds, raisins, groundnuts, and steamed apples. However, there are some other alternatives to these Slovenian desserts that originate in the northeastern part of the country.
Cold cuts are popular appetizers in many restaurants. Especially delicious are salami and cheeses that are produced locally, such as karstic prosciutto, a meat product that is protected by a geographical mark.
Karstic prosciutto is a pork thigh that dries in the Karst bora. Its specialty lies in the centuries-old tradition of salting and drying, particularly in the Karst, Brda, Vipava, Istria and Tolmin region. The quality and reputation of this typical Slovenian food can be found in its rich aroma, intense ruby color, juiciness, firm structure and the salinity of prosciutto slices.
A culinary journey across the country will also lead you to regions where village inns and restaurants serve other meat products that are home-made and represent Slovenian food in the cold cuts.
Delicate cheeses are produced in the idyllic conditions of high mountains and pastures. Most of the favorite cheeses in Slovenia are protected by geographical origin, which reflects in their specialties. That’s why they should not be missing from your cold cut plate.
Jota or yota is a stew, and its name derives from the Gaelic word for soup. A light and tasty stew is a karstic and Friulian national specialty that is most often cooked in the Primorska and Gorizia region. This Slovenian food must be dense if it is made from bigger slices of potatoes and whole beans. In some places, it is a custom to crumble bread into a plate, pour over the jota and then extra virgin olive oil on top. Jota is served warm in winter and cool in summer.
The main ingredients are beans, potatoes, sauerkraut, dried pork and spices such as garlic, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. They can add the whole cumin seeds or Carniolan sausage in this typical Slovenian food. Yota, however, can be prepared in many different ways:
Kremšnita or cremeschnitte is a confectionery specialty in Bled, created after the Second World War, when it was invented in 1953 by the famous confectioner Ištvan Lukačevič in Bled, in the Hotel and Cafe Park.
The legendary, light and delicious Slovenian cake consists of three different layers, such as dough, egg cream and whipping cream. Between the top and bottom golden baked butter dough crust are a thick vanilla cream and whipped cream that melts in your mouth and is sprinkled with caster sugar on top.
The kremšnita with the original recipe of the famous confectioner is still available today at Hotel Park in Bled, where up to 20 million cream slices have already been sold. If you go on a Bled roundabout biking trip and a wonderful excursion by the lake and around the town of Bled, you will also discover other pastry shops and cafes that offer delicious kremšnita slices as one of the best Slovenian desserts.
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Proud recipient of a TripAdvisor 2021 Certificate of Excellence
Thank you all for the great reviews!