Slovenia //

Food and drink

Slovene cuisine draws on Austrian, Italian and Balkan influences. There’s a native tradition, too, based on age-old peasant recipes, which you may encounter at tourist farms across the country; but traditional Slovene dishes are becoming harder to find on restaurant menus increasingly dominated by Italian pizzas and pastas. For breakfast and snacks, okrepčevalnice (snack bars) and street kiosks dole out burek, a flaky pastry filled with cheese (sirov burek) or meat (burek z mesom). Sausages come in various forms, most commonly kranjska klobasa (big spicy sausages). Menus in a restavracija (restaurant) or gostilna (inn) will usually include roast meats (pečenka) and schnitzels (zrezek). Goulash (golaž) is also common. Two traditional dishes are žlikrofi, ravioli filled with potato, onion and bacon; and žganci, once the staple diet of rural Slovenes, a buckwheat or maize porridge often served with sauerkraut. Few local dishes are suitable for vegetarians, though international restaurants usually offer a choice of dishes without meat. On the coast you’ll find plenty of fresh fish (riba), mussels (žkoljke) and squid (kalamari). Typical desserts include strudel filled with apple or rhubarb; žtruklji, dumplings with fruit filling; and prekmurska gibanica, a delicious local cheesecake.

Drinking

Daytime drinking takes place in small café-bars, or in a kavarna, where a range of cakes, pastries and ice cream is usually on offer. Coffee (kava) is generally served strong and black, as is tea (čaj), unless specified otherwise – ask for mleko (milk) or smetana (cream). Slovene beer (pivo) is usually excellent (Laško Zlatorog is considered the best), although most breweries also produce temno pivo (“dark beer”), a Guinness-like stout. The superb local wine (vino) is either črno (red) or belo (white) and has an international reputation. Favourite aperitifs include slivovka (plum brandy), the fiery sadjevec, a brandy made from various fruits, and the gin-like brinovec.