Hands reaching for food

Photo: Domen Grögl

Slovenian national dishes reflect the wealth and diversity of the landscape and the spirit of the local people, producing incredible gastronomic and oenological offerings throughout our country.

Just as Slovenia is characterised by a great variety of landscapes, it can also boast considerable culinary diversity . The cuisine of every region of Slovenia has its own distinc-tive features that we can recognise in typical regional dishes. At the same time these are closely connected to trades, ways of life, the effects of nature, and customs. In Slovenia, so the saying goes, the way to the heart is through the stomach.

The cuisine of the Prekmurje region – a land of mills – is characterised by flour-based dishes, the most famous of which is the layer cake known as gibanica. Other specialities include cakes and sponges made variously with wheat flour, cornmeal or buckwheat flour. Popular meat dishes include pork (smoked, dried or preserved in a barrel of lard), poultry and game, while the best-known vegetable dish is a type of pickled turnip known as bujta repa. Also typical of Prekmurje cuisine is porridge made from buckwheat, millet or barley. 

The people of Štajerska (the northern region corresponding to the southernmost third of the former Duchy of Styria, the remainder of which is today in Austria) are very fond of soups, the most famous of which is a special sour soup made from pig's trotters and offal. The inhabitants of the Koroška region – Slovenian Carinthia – are masters of štruklji (a form of strudel), noodles and žganci (a polenta-like dish made from various types of grains). Štruklji are also the most characteristic dish of the Dolenjska region (the lower portion of the former Duchy of Carniola), where they can be boiled, baked or even fried, sweet or savoury, and made with leavened or unleavened dough. 

Gorenjska (Upper Carniola) is home to walnut potica, a stew of mutton and vegetables known as šara, and various types of roast meat. The Karst plateau is famous for air-dried karst ham or prosciutto, while the cuisine of the coast is dominated by fish, pasta and seafood. Istrian cuisine features game and a variety of flour-based and vegetable dishes, while the cuisine of the Posočje (Soča Valley) region includes goat and lamb, dishes made with cornmeal, dried fruit, potatoes and dairy products. This area is home to dishes such as čompe – boiled potatoes with curd cheese – and the delicious krapki of Bovec. Idrija, in the northern part of the Primorska region, is famous for žlikrofi, a form of ravioli granted "Traditional Speciality Guaranteed" status by the EU. 

The traditional cuisine of Ljubljana, Slovenia's capital, includes dishes that are rather more exotic than those of the other regions, in that they also reflected the tastes of the nobility: frog's legs, a dish of breaded chicken thighs and wings humorously referred to as flying polenta (leteči žganci), various stews and hotpots, sweet and savoury štruklji, honey potica, curd cheese pancakes with tarragon, ox tongue, barley porridge (ričet) with Carniolan sausage, roughly mashed potatoes fried with onion and served with oxtail, tarragon štruklji and a special Ljubljana egg pudding

Text by Tanja Glogovčan