Idrijski žlikrofi – a true speciality of Idrija

Idrija žlikrofi. Photo: Jani Peternelj

Idrija is also home to a gastronomic speciality. The town and the surrounding area have been famous since the mid-19th century for idrijski žlikrofi. Idrijski žlikrofi are a national dish of Slovenia made from dough with a potato filling and a characteristic shape. In view of their traditional process of elaboration and recipe, in 2002 the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food granted idrijski žlikrofi traditional product status.

How are they made?

Making of idrijski žlikrofi. Photo: Dunja Wedam

Making idrijski žlikrofi can be quite a lengthy process and consists of several phases. The first thing to do is to prepare the dough. Then it is time to make the filling. This consists of potato, minced lard or smoked bacon, onion, seasoning and herbs. The filling is shaped into regular, hazelnut-sized balls. Then the dough is rolled out thinly and the balls of filling are placed onto it. The dough is then folded over and pressed down between the balls of filling, forming 'ears'. A little hollow is then made in the top of each individual žlikrof, giving the žlikrofi their characteristic 'hat' shape. Now the žlikrofi are ready for the final phase – cooking. Idrijski žlikrofi are served with cracklings, various meat sauces and other sauces. The most common sauce for žlikrofi is called bakalca and is made with mutton or rabbit.

Žlikrofi are a popular dish in the Idrija area and homemade žlikrofi are a frequent item on the menu in many households. They are also made by five certified producers and can be bought in the shops.

Idrijski žlikrofi are served by some restaurants and farm tourism establishments. These can be identified by a distinctive yellow-and-brown signs with the inscription 'Traditional Food Served' and the logo of the Society for the Promotion and Protection of the Traditional Dishes of Idrija. Frozen idrijski žlikrofi can be found in supermarket freezers.

An extremely popular dish

The popularity of idrijski žlikrofi shows no signs of waning and they are among the traditional Slovenian dishes whose production and consumption are growing strongly. According to some figures, around 50 tonnes of them are produced and consumed each year. Idrijski žlikrofi (including the frozen variety) contain no preservatives, colouring or flavour enhancers.

Preparing frozen žlikrofi is very simple: shake the frozen žlikrofi into boiling salted water and cook until they float to the surface. They can be served with a variety of sauces, giving free rein to individual creativity.

Text by: Polona Prešeren