The food of Slovenia is bold and wholesome, like its people, like its land. It is made with heart and designed to banish the alpine chill. It promotes meat and potatoes to lead roles in almost every meal and lets fresh fruit and vegetables show their backyard spirit with little adornment.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Slovenian food before I arrived, but quickly found that, while it has a style of its own, it also borrows bits and pieces from its neighbours: Italy, Austria and Croatia.
I especially loved that each Slovenian house is proudly accompanied with fruit trees and overflowing, happy, vegetable gardens, with a patch of smiling sunflowers for good measure. This culture of home-grown goodness seems to extend to the shelves of supermarkets, which stock a lot of ‘health foods’ and locally-produced foods.
These copper pots held enormous single servings of spicy sausages with cabbage and variations of goulash to be ladled into your bowl with creamy chucks of potato.
Gluten-free eaters (like me) will be happy to know that buckwheat is a rustic staple of traditional Slovenian cooking. This buckwheat porridge with chicken was much tastier and more satisfying than it looks.
Plates piled with sausage, ćevapčići, pommes and ajvar can only really be offset with wholesome bowls of traditional vegetable stew…right?
Wild boar with mash and plum sauce, stringy-cheese covered vegetable pasta bake – all of it yummy and filling.
Turkey, rabbit, boar, beef… almost every meat you could think of would be on the menu.
Chilli-flaked goulash warms the belly while mustard and paprika relish warm the tongue.
Pumpkin seed oil is a typical Slovenian addition to salads and vegetables, and such is the Slovenian regard for this greenish oil that pumpkins are grown for their seeds, and the flesh is left for the pigs.
Honey bees would gather on sacrificial slices of sweet watermelon set out on fruit stall trestles.
Cakes and strudels are delectably wholesome with raisins, walnuts, apples and poppy seeds.
Regional varieties of schnapps including Palinka (pear or plum) Orehovec (nuts) and Jurka (grape).