Traditional Slovenian cuisine and its modern variants reflect the huge diversity of Slovenia's landscape found in a relatively small area.
Slovenia lies at the meeting point of the Alpine, Pannonian and Mediterranean regions, whose cultural features are reflected in the choice of Slovenian cuisine. It is evident that traditional dishes are generally of rural origin, but nevertheless Slovenian cuisine is not without refinement and the element of surprise.
Traditional "gostilna" restaurants
The experience of Slovenian cuisine is inseparably connected with the concept of "gostilna" restaurants, traditional places to enjoy good food and wine in good company. Gostilnas often serve dishes prepared to old recipes using local ingredients. As Slovenian countryside is dotted with mainly small family farms and large-scale agricultural production is scarce, food ingredients are relatively healthy and often organically grown.
Food markets and the popularity of home-grown foods
Enjoying home-grown fruits, vegetables and other local farm produce is an important part of the way of life in Slovenia.
Ljubljanians love to shop at the city's colourful and picturesque Central Market, designed by the architect Jože Plečnik. Also other food markets are generally popular and well stocked. In people's minds, organic and healthy food is closely connected with the concept of "home-grown". Among the popular novelties of recent times, for instance, are milk dispensers offering locally produced whole milk at a low price.
For those with a more discerning palate there are a number of delicatessens offering quality certified foods from around Slovenia as well as wine bars and shops selling premium Slovenian wines.
Home-grown fruits, vegetables and other farm produce are also available in abundance at numerous countryside events traditionally held at harvest time.
Traditional Slovene dishes
Kranjska klobasa (Carniolan sausage) is the best known Slovenian speciality. The earliest known mention of a sausage referred to as "kranjska klobasa" dates back to 1896. (Typical of Alpine Slovenia, the region of Gorenjska.)
Prekmurska gibanica (Prekmurje layered cake) is a moist dessert consisting of layers of poppy seed, cottage cheese, walnut and apple filling. It is protected under the Traditional Speciality Guaranteed designation and can only be sold under its name when prepared according to the traditional recipe. (Typical of Pannonian Slovenia, the region of Prekmurje.)
Kraški pršut (Kras prosciutto) is dry-cured pork leg. It goes particularly well with a glass of Kras Teran, a red wine grown in the Kras region and well known for its healing properties. The prosciutto labelled as Protected Geographical Indication is a top quality product made on the basis of the centuries-long tradition of salting meat and drying it in bora, a fierce cold northeasterly wind blowing across Kras. (Typical of the coastal Slovenia and the Kras region.)
Štruklji is a traditional Slovenian boiled or baked dough roll with a variety of different sweet or savoury filling options, served either as a main or side dish. The best known are tarragon, cottage cheese, walnut, apple and poppy seed štruklji. (Typical of central Slovenia.)
Potica, a yeast-dough cake with a variety of filling options, is the most typical Slovenian dessert. The best known of over 80 varieties are tarragon, walnut, crackling and poppy seed poticas. (Typical of central Slovenia.)
Žganci is a traditional Slovenian peasant dish made from flour and served as a stand-alone or side dish. (Typical of central Slovenia.)