Slovenia’s diversity offers a great opportunity to meet different people whose life is tightly connected with growing, harvesting or preparing food. Travelling through different regions of Slovenia you will have the chance to meet them and open as they are; they will gladly share some secrets with you.
Ljubljana’s central market is known for “branjevke” who are, among others, selling “Ljubljanska ledenka”; a special sort of lettuce grown just outside the city centre.
Visiting Ljubljana open and covered food market is also a cultural experience; while looking for the best deal, you can enjoy the architectural masterpiece of our greatest architect, Jože Plečnik.
The Soča Valley mountains are known as “milk mountains” with shepherds and flocks spending summer days on juicy green pastures. No wonder that three cheeses labelled with PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) originate from this area.
Soča River is a home of the indigenous Soča trout and sympathisers gather into fish guilds so they can protect and breed the protected spices while at the same time regulating the increasing interest in fly fishing.
In Goriška Brda region winemaking is a serious profession as they are producing excellent, worldly recognized wines.
When visiting in spring you will have the chance to participate in the cherry festival, since the rolling Brda hills are full of cherry orchards.
The Karst people are adapted to harsh living conditions, but strong bora wind and terra rosa ground are returning their love for this land with delicious authentic karst prosciutto and “Teran” wine which cannot be found anywhere else.Air is rich in lavender scent during June and July and you are more than welcome to join the lavender harvest in the old fashioned way, by hand using a sickle.
There would be no food without bees and the Gorenjska region is the birthplace of indigenous Carniolan bee or Carniolan grey. As the only member the EU, Slovenia has protected its Carniolan bee. Decorated front panels of beehives are considered a typical feature of the Slovenian Alpine region and folk art.
Another traditional handicraft, originating from the middle ages, is »lectarstvo« and honey-bread heart production is still visible in The Live Gingerbread Museum. Bled Island is the home of »potičnica« where you can participate in a “potica” baking workshop followed by delicious tasting.
The Primorska region is home to fishermen, fish farmers, olive oil producers, truffle hunters and, again, wine makers. Salt is still harvested by hand like almost 700 years ago in the Piran Salina fields which are among the oldest Salinas in Europe. Salt flower with its distinctive taste and fragrance is one of the most quality ones in the world and it is picked by hand only.
Štajerska is the home of the “Old Vine”, the oldest living specimen of vine in the world that still bears grapes. It is more than 400 years old and every year a symbolic harvest of 35 to 55 kg is bottled in special bottles designed by the famous Slovenian artist Oskar Kogoj.
Without surprise Štajerska is Slovenia’s biggest vine area and there are numerous wine cellars, museums and wine roads to discover. And if you are not sure that you are on the right way just listen to the sounds of “klopotec” (rattle), an authentic symbol of Štajerska. Set among vineyards even a gentle breeze is enough to make it sing in a way they scare the birds away.
If you think Slovenia is all about wine you are just partly right. Hops fields are one of the most picturesque sights of the Savinjska region.
And luckily, local people have enough ideas and knowledge to start their own craft breweries experimenting with new flavours and ingredients.
Wandering among Prekmurje villages you will easily notice the aromatic smell of pumpkin seed oil. The tradition of squeezing pumpkin seeds goes back to the 18th century.The everyday life of Prekmurje people is also strongly connected with the Mura River where you can see the only remaining floating mill still grinding wheat, buckwheat, maize and spelt flour.
Kartuzija Pleterje is a catholic monastery where monks, among others, are producing most famous “Pletrska hruška” (Pletrska pear) spirit. The entire process of cleaning, filling and packaging is made by hand.
Hard working hands are typical for the people of Dolenjska, who have been producing famous wooden products, called “suha roba” or dry stuff literally, since 1492. There is almost no Slovenian household not using at least one of these products in the kitchen. Wooden spoons, cutting boards or flour colanders are the most typical representatives. This is also the way we support and continue the legacy of our craftsmen.
The evidence of Slovenia’s rich agricultural history is preserved in the form of wooden or stone hayracks which used to serve for drying and preserving crops, cereal and farming equipment. Hayracks are definitely one of the more significant specialities of Slovenian rural architecture still visible when traveling along the country. To preserve the hayracks’ vanishing legacy, an open air museum has been established.
Slovenian forests are full of seasonal fruit, mushrooms and chestnuts and you are free to pick them in a limited quantity. Locals will be glad to show you some spots not to get lost.
If you ask, they will also show you their pride – their own vegetable and herb garden. Growing our own “greens” is a national hobby in Slovenia.
All this delicious food is prepared with love and care in numerous different ways. Whether eating at a homestead or in a classy restaurant with a recognized chef, hospitality and passion for creating good eating experience will be visible from entering the place to leaving the table.