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A Guide to Slovenian Cuisine

Although it's a pretty small country, your Slovenia holiday will show off just how diverse traditional food and drink can be. With both the Alps and the Adriatic Sea within its borders, Slovenia's cooking features flavours that have evolved over centuries of living off the land and working in harmony with nature.

You're in for a treat when you visit Slovenia, especially at mealtimes. Take our recommendations in mind during your trip, and you're sure to enjoy the finest flavours in the land.

Rustic charm

It's pastries, big old bangers and rich crumbly cakes that make up much of Slovenia's most traditional food. The influences of Germanic cuisine are clear to see, but with some twists brought in from Italy and the wider Mediterranean.

That influence is felt perhaps most strongly in the Karst region, which extends from the southwest of Slovenia into the northeast of Italy. A grand fusion of flavours can be found here, felt most markedly in the smoked hams and cured meats that this region produces. The rich flavours are the result of patient preparation and treatments refined over generations.

A hearty soup is also the order of the day on many a Slovenian dining table. To many Slovenians, the national soup is prezganka, which is made of flour, caraway seeds and eggs. It has a rich brown colour and tastes a little different from north to south, where different family twists on the recipe have emerged.

Grains and goodies

Although thick cuts of meat and smoked sausages make up many of Slovenia's meals, vegetarians will find much to savour as well. Much like in nearby Croatia, in Slovenia they like tucking into a fresh fritaja, especially around springtime.

Although sometimes bacon is added to this dish, it's got plenty going for it even if its veggie and herb base ingredients and flavours are used. Fennel, garlic, chicory, tomatoes and spices are added to crusty breadcrumbs, then all whipped together into a rich egg omelette.

Slovenia also shares an affection for buckwheat with much of wider Eastern Europe. The grain has proven a traditional and healthy base for a variety of meals for over 1,000 years, remaining just as relevant and just as tasty today.

The most popular way to eat buckwheat is in the form of kasha, where it's boiled in milk or water, then livened up with additional ingredients, from freshly diced fruit and berries to a creamy portion of porridge oats. It can just as easily be a savoury dish though, such as kasha with chopped onions.

After dinner delights

We hope you've saved room for dessert, because there's one sweet treat that Slovenia does like no other. Potica is a big pastry cake combo baked into a circular shape with a hole in the middle, and it's become the true king of confectionery in Slovenia.

One reason why potica is so well loved throughout Slovenia is because it's such a versatile dessert. The heavy dough makes for a rich flavour, yet it spirals around to embrace all kinds of syrups, sauces and delights. Any number of additions give potica fantastic range, including fruity jams, creamy white cheeses, walnut or hazelnut spreads, chocolate and buttercream.

Of course, if a huge slice of this almighty dessert is a little too much, you can instead try a lepoticke, which is a modern twist on tradition that takes the grandeur of potica but makes it a more bitesize morsel. Either way, wash it all down with some of the specialised regional wines of Slovenia, such as teran and traminec, known for their richness of flavour.

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