Best traditional cuisine chef is Meta Repovž

A mother’s and not grandmother’s interpretation of Slovenian cuisine

Slovenia will be a European Region of Gastronomy for 2021. No doubt Slovenia is a land of rich culinary tradition, even more so thanks to all the gastronomic artists who combine tradition with innovation.

The end of November last year saw the presentation of the Gault & Millau restaurant guide in Ljubljana, a book that rates restaurants on a system of points. Ms Meta Repovž from the Repovž family restaurant was selected as the Traditional Cuisine Chef of 2018. She is a mother who has been strengthening Slovenia’s culinary image with her innovative interpretations of recipes from the country’s cuisine, and whose culinary endeavours are supported by the whole family. Because of this mutual support, the food from their mother’s kitchen is seasoned with love.

Meta Repovž Photo: Nika Kink, Gregor Vavtar

Meta Repovž’s cuisine for kind souls and curious stomachs

At the entrance, you will be greeted by the inscription: “For kind souls and curious stomachs”. This is Repovž's slogan and it fully embraces their culinary philosophy. The local inn with its solid rustic walls does not only reveal youthful ambitions, but also a contemporary outlook backed with three hundred years of experience and tradition, making Repovž a textbook example of the vast culinary potential of the Slovenian countryside.

One of the most interesting restaurants in Slovenia offers food that is organic, grown on its owners’ lands or on neighbouring farms (pigs from Krško polje, rabbits, spelt, lambs, apples, elderflower, the local Isabella grape variety, and more). On rare occasions, and only when there is a great, need does the family look elsewhere for ingredients that are not locally grown, such as chocolate, vanilla and the like, but they always combine these with local ingredients.

The menus do not carry standard names. Although traditional in substance, they are nevertheless written so as to put a smile on your face, first with their name and then with their structure, and then they will fascinate you with their flavours. "Having a splendid time on the farm" – of course this menu includes beef soup with noodles and succulent pieces of choice meat. For dessert, there is hasty pudding with a variety of flavours. The “City Slicker’s” menu features lamb and cottage cheese dumplings with rhubarb. “Vegetarian Zmina” is a dish including green beans, sour cream, courgettesand porcini mushrooms. These are the autumn/winter menus, but of course the Repovž family also offer some dishes from the restaurant’s permanent menu. So you can taste local dried meat products and various cheeses, and also spread homemade rabbit pate, steak tartare or marmalade made from the local Modra Frankinja grape variety on your bread. The soups include beef soup and seasonal vegetable soup. Among the warm appetizers are spelt risotto, beans with cracklings and sour cream, or ravioli with goat whey cheese, aged cheese and beet leaves. For the main dish you can choose pork, lamb or beef, as well as fish. Every dish will be served with original side dishes, such as porcini mushrooms or cottage cheese balls. And although you will be stuffed, you will definitely still want to taste the elderflower mousse, red currant jelly, iced tea granita, and tarragon ice cream. No doubt the inspiration plus the tradition and playfulness of flavours make these culinary delights irresistible, thanks to the golden hands of Meta Repovž. Before leaving, guests can enjoy a sip or two of spirits such as homemade honey brandy, fruit brandy, and blueberry or apple liqueur for better digestion, as is the long-standing tradition in Slovenia.

“My cooking philosophy is very simple and is intertwined with tradition and my memories from childhood, and then closely connected with products from our farm and the neighbouring ones,” says Meta Repovž. In her opinion, their place is one of those typical Slovenian inns that are full of warmth and memories, with a strongly rooted tradition and a constant search for new flavours. The interpretation of tradition is precisely the goal they follow in successfully bringing Slovenian cuisine to the world. “When you put your heart and your love for Slovenian soil in your work, you cannot fail.” According to Meta Repovž, the most important thing is the satisfaction of her guests.

Dessert made of assorted chocolates and ice cream from sour cream Photo: Dean Dubokovič

Text by Tanja Glogovčan
Source: Sinfo