Slovenia is located in the heart of Central Europe, surrounded by Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and the Adriatic Sea. A major part of Slovenia is forested and mountainous, making it a home to some of the greatest ski resorts in Europe. Every year the country attracts millions of tourists (especially nature lovers) from all across the world because of its beautiful landscapes and one of the loveliest lakes in the world.
The population of Slovenia consists of different ethnicities including Slovenes (the main ethnic group), Serbs, Croats and Muslims. Slovenia’s diversity is undoubtedly mirrored in its cuisine, giving birth to a lot of traditional delicacies which are totally different from one another.
Most Popular Slovenian Dishes
Slovenia’s climate and the cuisines of its neighboring countries play an important role in shaping many of the country’s most popular dishes. You will find evidence of of Italian, Croatian, Hungarian and Austrian flavors in the Slovenian cuisine, for example.
Staples of Slovenian cuisine include dumplings, porridge, breads and stews. Because a large part of Slovenia is covered in forests, the country enjoys dishes prepared from fresh produce grown from their own land. Slovenian markets can be found packed with high-quality dairy products, preserved meat products and fine wines.
The country is also famous for having one of the richest beekeeping traditions in the world and hence exports high quality honey all over the globe. So without further ado, here are the absolute must-try dishes of Slovenia along with recipes for you to try yourself.
Kranjska Klobasa (Carniolan sausage)
Carniolan is a type of Slovenian sausage prepared using 68% of pork, 12% of beef, at most 20% bacon. and some spices. It is served after lightly smoking it.
The dish is quite similar to what is popularly recognized as kielbasa or Polish sausage. Generally grilled or fried, it is eaten as a snack or appetizer and pairs well with wine and cheese.
Carniolan sausage is believed to have been invented in 1896 in the Gorenjska region. The storytellers of old Ljubljana believe this Slovenian delicacy to be an essential part of the menus at ceremonial and important events.
Kremna Rezina (Bled Cream Cake)
Kremna Rezina is a dessert prepared with layers of puff pastry custard/vanilla, and cream with a little bit of icing sugar dusted on top.
Awarded with the Certificate of National Origin, bled cream cake was first prepared in 1953 and served at the Park Hotel on Lake Bled. To this day The Park Hotel sells around 3,000 slices of traditionally prepared bled cakes every weekend.
Whilst it is famous throughout Slovenia it is only really served at Lake Bled due to its protected designation of origin status by the EU.
Jota is a traditional soup generally consisting of turnip, sauerkraut, onions, potatoes and kidney beans. It is normally thick in consistency and easy to store. It is commonly eaten during cold winters as a dish to help people keep warm.
Jota can be found all across the country and can be prepared in many different regional variations. For example, in the Istrian region, it is prepared using sour cabbage and beans while potatoes are not added at all. Whereas in other areas it includes barley alongside the local vegetables.
Bogračis a kind of stew traditionally prepared using three different types of meat (wild boar, beef, and pork), potatoes, spices, sweet paprika, seasonal mushrooms, pork fat and a little wine. The dish is originally from Hungary and was later adopted by Slovenia.
The name ‘Bograč’ originates from the huge pot that is typically used to cook beef or pork stews. Traditionally consumed during winters, it is a favorite of particularly in eastern Slovenia.
Every year in the month of August, the town of Lendava holds a ‘bograč’ cooking competition to reward the best bograč, drawing thousands of visitors.
Prekmurska Gibanica (Prekmurian Layer Cake)
Prekmurska Gibanica is a dessert prepared using nuts, cottage cheese, raisins, poppy seeds, apples and walnuts. Using two types of dough filled with four varieties of stuffing into eight layers, Prekmurska is a sort of layered pastry cake.
Originating in the Prekmurje region of Slovenia along the River Mura, this Slovenian delicacy also has several variations. Prekmurska Gibanica is believed to reflect the different kinds of fruits that grow in the rural regions. Hence, making it an extremely famous dish in rural areas.
However, Prekmurska Gibanica is now protected by the “Recognised trademark of traditional reputation”. The dish was also selected to represent Slovenia in the 2006 ‘Cafe Europe’ initiative which was organised by the Austrian government.
Slovenian dumplings are like regular dumplings but they are prepared with buckwheat. They are stuffed with fillings such as potato, cheese, pork or veal and are boiled in salt water. They are generally accompanied by sausages, meat, sauerkraut or stews.
Generally consumed as a side dish, Slovenian dumplings are often considered to be Slovenia’s national dish. The usage of buckwheat instead of normal flour makes them significantly more nutritious and healthier to consume than other types of dumplings.
Buckwheat is one of the chief crops grown throughout the country. It is also the staple element in porridge, breads, spoon dumplings and stews.
Struklji is a traditional Slovenian cheese dumpling prepared using different kinds of dough and consisting of several kinds of stuffing like cottage cheese, apple, walnut meat, poppy seed, and even tarragon. Struklji is can be eaten as a main or a side dish.
Served in the form of rolls, the filling of Struklji can be both sweet and savory. It traditionally played a significant role in special occasions, but today it is a commonly-consumed everyday dish in households all across the country.