A culinary journey to Slovenia

Slovenia has become a more and more popular touristic destination, but the surprise element was the fact that it can be a wonderful destination for gastronomic tourism also. Regardless of the fact that we are interested in modern, traditional or mixed cuisine, a journey from the Slovenian seaside to the Alps shall satisfy even the highest expectations of the gourmand tourist.

Unfortunately there is no direct flight from Bucharest to Ljubljana, so the hungry tourist is forced to begin his experience by flying from Bucharest to Frilui and afterwards to follow the Adriatic coast and reach Koper, Slovenia`s only sea outlet. Here, an Italian influenced cuisine waits for us, one where fresh fish and sea food represent the base products. Among the specific regional dishes there is Bakala na belo in rdeče – red dry cod served with fresh bread or polenta, alongside with various calamari dishes that can be found in all restaurants of Slovenian Histria.

Traveling to Histria towards the Capital, it is worthwhile visiting the Postojna restaurant to try a large serving of Bloška kavla ali tojka – a salad made from kohlrabi, beans and potatoes, green spices and smoked meat; for the duck meat lovers there is Polšja obara – wild duck breast cooked with root vegetables and served with a spicy sauce. In Ljubljana there are sophisticated restaurants serving dishes that combine the fine dining with traditional cuisine. A restaurant that should not be missed is Gostilna na Gradu; located in the Ljubljana Castle it offers a panoramic view of the entire city. A specific dish served as an appetizer is Žabji kraki –frog legs cooked or fried in dough; another tasty and heavy dish is Ričet – a stew made from meat and vegetables with boiled rice, and after that we can choose between Ljubljanske skutne palačinke –fresh cheese and dill pancakes or Ljubljanski štrukelj – a delicious apple strudel.

Travelling to Maribor, I recommend stopping at the Tourist Farm Urška, where you shall have the opportunity to spend a few days in a wonderful environment, serving extraordinary tasty dishes prepared by the owners of this place. Everything is bio and 80% of the basic ingredients they use for cooking are produced in their household. For starter, do not miss the house platter Pohorska bunka –made from unsalted and dried pork meat, served in very thin slices, fresh cheese with green nuts in honey and wine vinegar and creamy cheese spiced with pumpkin seeds and oil. The green garlic cream soup served with fresh sour cream and crispy bacon offers some unique tasting experiences. If you choose the steamed veal meat I recommend having as side dish the Musniček – small packages of dough containing baked potatoes. For dessert you can have Kipjena gibanca ali kvasenica – a light tart made from fresh cheese.

If you go back to the West, you shall inevitably pass through Škofja Loka, a beautiful medieval city that was well conserved and has a large number of restaurants; I recommend stopping at Gostilna Kašča, a very old warehouse for agriculture products, converted into a restaurant-museum. Here you can enjoy a wonderful sour cabbage soup with pearl barley and smoked ham. If you trust the staff`s advice, you shall choose also a beef meat roll filled with eggs and forest mushrooms, served with brown sauce and fried onion. For desert you can try Loška garmada – a very tasty dessert made from nuts, raisins, chocolate, almond flakes and cream, despite its not very appealing looks.

Going up to the North, towards the spectacular views of the Alps, I recommend stopping in Bled to admire the castle, the lake and the church island and to eat Loška smojka – kale filled with millet porridge, served hot or, if you prefer something sweet, Blejska kremšnita ali kremna rezina – a specific cake of the region. Traveling to Kobarid, you may try the wild trout served on a grass table in the Garden village – a relaxation center with houses built in trees or on water. Arriving at Kobarid, after some extreme sport on Soča Valley, you can gain energy serving Frika – a dish made in the oven from potatoes and cheese, served with polenta cooked on stove.