Slovenian cuisine builds on local ingredients. Herbs and spices grown in the garden, from a farmer or the nearest meadow. Mushrooms and forest fruits from the surrounding forests and dairy products from the Alps. Slovenian people swear by traditional recipes and local specialities.
Slovenia is at the epicentre of culinary worlds from different parts of Europe. Mediterranean, Alpine, Pannonian and Balkan cuisine come together here. Despite this, each dish is imbued with a touch of local tradition and regional character.
The 5 typical dishes in Slovenia
Probably the best-known dish from Slovenia. It is a thin, coarse and smoked variety of boiled sausage. Sauerkraut or sour beets are often served as a side dish. It can also be eaten cold.
A rolled cake made from yeast dough with various fillings. It is the traditional festive pastry in Slovenia. There are over 80 different fillings, of which the most familiar are walnut, poppy seed and tarragon. It is an integral part of Christmas celebrations.
A dough roll with a variety of fillings, served on its own or as a side dish. The dough can be prepared in both sweet and savoury varieties. It can also be baked or boiled. The best-known variations are tarragon, curd, walnut, apple or poppy seed.
Air-dried ham has a centuries-old tradition. It is left to dry in the harsh bora wind of the Slovenian Karst, the coastal region. It is said to taste particularly delicious with a glass of the Karst red wine Teran.
These are traditional Slovenian dumplings. They are filled with potatoes, fresh herbs and sometimes with meat. Sauces often accompany the dish, for instance tomato or mushroom.
What are the best drinks to sample in Slovenia?
Slovenia is increasingly becoming an attractive destination for beer enthusiasts. In recent years, more and more craft breweries have opened in the shadow of the major brands Lasko and Union. There are now said to be around 100 breweries in Slovenia. Visitors to the capital city can take part in a guided craft beer tasting tour.
But nothing can beat the wine in Slovenia. Cultivated regionally, visitors are certain to find particularly fine varieties.
The most famous harvest takes place when the grapes are gathered from the world’s oldest vine, the Sara trta. There is also a festival dedicated to the national treasure that takes place during Lent in Maribor, around the time of the harvest.
St. Martin’s Day in November is another important festival for Slovenians that has a lot to do with wine. The event is also known as Martinovanje. People celebrate the name day of St. Martin and also the date on which the ‘must’ or young wine traditionally turns into wine.
Festivals and celebrations in Slovenia
Carnival is a major event everywhere in Slovenia. Traditionally called ‘Pust’, it has been celebrated for many centuries. The costumes are largely ethnographic: the main figure in the festival is Kurento (with feathers and horns), who is said to banish evil and herald the arrival of spring, which is also reflected in the devils and peasant clothing symbolising spring. Carnival builds a bridge between winter and spring. Traditional customs, balls, parades and also delicious food all come together during carnival. It has been held since 1960 and is one of the oldest in the country.
The capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, has been hosting a major jazz festival since 1860, which is considered one of the oldest in Europe. The best jazz musicians from all over the world come to the festival, accompanied by up-and-coming artists looking to make a mark.
With more than 20 years of tradition, the Lent festival in Maribor is considered one of the most important in Slovenia and among the largest in Europe. Events and activities include classical music and traditional jazz, theatre, puppet shows, workshops for children, exhibitions and sporting events.
Arts and festivals are a great and certainly enjoyable way to learn more about Slovenia’s rich and diverse culture. It is definitely worth taking part if you visit the country during one of the festivals.
The Slovenians have sport in their genes, so to speak. The list of medals and strong performances – as well as the disciplines in which they were achieved – gets longer every year. Ljubljana is known for its marathon. Thousands of visitors flock to the start each year. But there are plenty of other sporting opportunities both inside and outside the capital. Visitors can climb the hill called Roznik in Ljubljana or walk the 32.5km Trail of Remembrance and Comradeship (Pot ob zici) around the city. There is also a broad selection of organised sporting activities. Slovenia even celebrates a national holiday that is entirely dedicated to sport. Many Slovenians are keen winter sports enthusiasts due to the close proximity to the Alps.
As usual, the marketplace is often at the centre of a town. Visitors can join the hustle and bustle and select from numerous local delicacies. Markets are held throughout Slovenia. The largest and most diverse market is located in Ljubljana. Healthy and local produce is also available in the numerous organic food shops, which are found in many Slovenian towns.
What can you bring back from Slovenia?
A small keepsake for home or a nice souvenir is an integral part of any holiday. Many visitors choose the very popular spirit called Slivovitz Pelinkovac as a good example of the culinary style in Slovenia. Honey is also highly recommended, although it is usually cheaper, tastier and more natural when purchased directly from the producer. Morska Sol – sea salt – is another frequent keepsake. It is available directly at the salt works or in supermarkets and souvenir shops. Wine, ham and cheese are other good ways to remember a holiday in Slovenia.
Slovenia has plenty of exciting events, in addition to the delicious food and outstanding wine. Visitors can party to great music and also enjoy the beautiful markets, art and culture.
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