And so it’s here!
The last post that I’ll be writing about Slovenia.
But what a most important post!
It goes without saying that my stay in Slovenia was lovely.
If you had asked me about Slovenia a few years ago, I couldn’t even have shown you where it was in the map, and now I can’t stop writing about it!
Really, I’m becoming quite the (baby) expert!
Slovenia has been nothing but smashing!
And the Slovenian locals have been fantastically welcoming, friendly, and enormously helpful.
It was my second time to go to the Balkans, but it certainly, won’t be the last. If you’re just tuning in, and why is that?! Here’s what you missed:
- Fantastic news! I’m travelling to Sweden & Slovenia by bus. Now isn’t that just awesome. Eek!
- A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!
- 51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!
- How to visit Slovenia: Introducing Kamnik – A town stuffed with mountains and cheese!
- Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!
Because I’m weird and I like going to interesting exotic places!
Seriously though, the reason why I wanted to go to Slovenia is because I’d heard such a lot of wonderful things from practically everyone! And remember, just two years ago, I hadn’t heard of any of the Baltic or Balkan States. In fact, I couldn’t even pronounce them!
But the other reason that I wanted to visit was because of Ljubljana. I was hearing mixed messages and that some “experts” were saying that Ljubljana wasn’t worth more than a few hours!
When I hear things like this, it makes my blood boil!
However, I am a strong supporter of Europe, and I have a weakness for tiny countries in the middle of beyond! Besides, I had such a wonderful time in Croatia, why wouldn’t I want to go to it’s “sister country” – Slovenia – too!
One of the amazing things about travelling to a country that is extremely small, is that you can do soooo many things.
- You can be a craftsperson, go hike up the Alps, mountains and waterfalls in Kamnik, and learn how to be a herdsman or a shepherd for a day, in the Velika Planina
- You can take a bus or train out to Lake Bled, or discover parts unknown!
We spent a jam-packed week in Slovenia, and not once did we get anywhere near bored!
We didn’t have time to do everything, but if you’re determined, YOU certainly can!
‘Remember how I told you about 51 things to do in Ljubljana? Well, one of those things to do was to eat. Actually, if I’m really honest, about eleven (11) of those points, were connected to food, and here’s why!
SLOVENIA OR SLOVAKIA!
Honestly speaking, most people have never previously heard of Slovenia.
In fact, most people mix it up with Slovakia!
Isn’t Slovenia somewhere in Eastern Europe?
It can’t be both, surely?
Well, geographically, it’s one of the previous communist states.
However, in recent years, Croatia has managed to re-invent itself, so that even though it is actually in Eastern Europe, it’s marketed as a country in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and South-East Europe too!
And this is reflected in it’s food!
So let’s get started:
WHAT IS SLOVENIAN FOOD?
Slovenian food is defined by the diversity of Slovenia’s landscape, climate, history and neighbouring traditions, as well as it’s religions, towns and villages. And each region has its own distinct culinary tradition rooting back to ancient times!
In fact, present-day Slovenia is heavily influenced by food from Germany, Austria, Italy, and Hungary!
The best way to experience how a nation really lives, is to go to the market place and sample street food. Or even better, indulge yourself on a guided food tour so that you can get inside knowledge from local experts!
I even took part in a tiny TV slot for the Taste Ljubljana Culinary tour, as part of a video about tourism in Ljubljana for Slovenian commercial TV! I’m only in for about 5 seconds. See if you can find me!
Because food. Yum!
I adore street food as it’s ultimately the best way to get to the culture of a nation. I’ve been to many countries, and sampled many a nations’ cuisine, and Slovenia was no exception!
The major characteristic they have in common is that they are made from locally produced ingredients.
Most ingredients used in Slovenian food would be:
Take a look below:
SLOVENIA – A BASIC GUIDE TO FOOD!
I could write pages and pages of what Slovenian food consists of and how they make it, but instead, I’ll let the pictures do the talking and if you have further insight, let me know in the comment section below!
In order to encourage sustainability and environmental consciousness, we stayed at a very nice hotel aptly named hotel – Hotel Park Ljubljana / Hotel Park – Urban & Green – located in the heart of the Old Town of Ljubljana, situated in the middle of a leafy park, and mere minutes away from Metelkova City – an abandoned army base and one of the largest, and most successful, urban squats in Europe!
We were in one of the en-suite superior twin rooms, and it was enormously comfortable.
We were on the 12th floor and had a fantastic view of Ljubljana from the window, along with a wide desk, a huge wardrobe, an en-suite bathroom, sustainable bathroom shower gel, plenty of fluffy towels, and of course, most importantly, free fast Wi-Fi!
They even had a fridge but sadly, no kettle so that I could make myself a cup of tea!
The service was warm and friendly.
The variety of nationalities visiting the hotel were wonderful, ranging from a tour group of elderly ladies from France, a busload of young Americans travelling with Contiki, and a Bollywood film crew from India!
Prices are from €70.00 per night, including breakfast. For two people, easily €35.00 a pop!
Our breakfast was awful!
We were looking forward to:
Sadly, what we got was a bland continental breakfast, that could have been from anywhere. But if you’re desperate for a cup of tea….
If not, skip it!
As soon as we told the various Slovenian locals about our breakfast experience, they made it their duty to ensure that from then on, everything we ate, was some of the best, that Slovenia had to offer!
- For ultimate excitement, try horse burgers! Yes, horse!
Apparently, horseburgers are very popular in Slovenia!
It was “quite OK,” and then he had another one! Bought at Šeherezada in Ljubljana. Cost: €4.00
- We had a few slices of cold cuts and bits of cheese, with olives (yuk!) to start! Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €3.00
You can also have:
- Polenta with cheese
- Ajvar with Slovenian bread
- Bacon bread
- Buckwheat bread or Ajdov kruh
- Crackling bread or ocvirkovka
- Pumpkin bread with cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts, and whipped cream
- Sweet rye bread or razeni kruh
- Serbian baked beans
We had a mass of delightful lunches, while we were in Slovenia, and the highlight in my opinion was the gourmet lunch on the Archers’ Tower of the Ljubljana Castle wall!
There weren’t any prices on the board, but it’s Eastern-Central Europe, how bad could it be? The food was fantastic and the service attentive, so we decided to spend the rest of our money!
- We both had a delicate starter of a sort of crispy white, cracker, a foamy cream sauce, and a slice of pickled meat, with herbs, a blob of cream, and petals. It was made especially for us ‘cos of my nut allergy, so isn’t on the menu! It was delicious and light. Bought at the Strelec Restaurant in Ljubljana. Cost: €6.00
- I had the venison with buck wheat dumplings, goose liver, red beet compote, rowan berry and spruce buds! It was most delightful! Bought at the Strelec Restaurant in Ljubljana. Cost: €28.00
- The Tall Young Gentleman had boar, mushrooms, and grapefruit. He loved it! Bought at the Strelec Restaurant in Ljubljana. Cost: €22.00
- We shared a platter of exquisite Slovenian cheese! Bought at the Strelec Restaurant in Ljubljana. Cost: €10.00
A few days later we went on a daytrip to Lake Bled!
All around us were people noshing on the Original Bled Cream Cake, but we were starving, so we had a proper lunch instead!
- I had the platter of dry meat delicacy with cheese and olives. Without the olives! It was very nice and the view over Lake Bled and the Julian Alps was stunning. But the service was slow! Bought at the Hotel Park restaurant at Lake Bled. Cost: €13.90
- The Tall Young Gentleman had the pasta with chicken and young spinach, which he enjoyed very much! Bought at the Hotel Park restaurant at Lake Bled. Cost: €14.90
Some of the things we had were:
- Klobasa sausage – You really can’t go wrong with a traditional Slovenian sausage, mustard, horse-radish, and a bun. Yum! We were invited to a complimentary lunch via Klobasarna. Retail price: €3.50. Food tour all-inclusive. With wine!
- Deer medallions with mustard, horse-radish cream, and pears via Vodnikov Hram. Retail price €19.50. Food tour all-inclusive
- Mashed potatoes, rucola and Slovenian beer. They had to make something different for me ‘cos of my nut allergy, so I can’t remember what everybody else had. Sorry! It was a very nice place though, via Druga Violina. Retail price competitive! Food tour all-inclusive. With beer!
- Fried chicken with garnish. Notice the remoulade sauce! It was a fancy restaurant via Restavracija Romansa 1971. Retail price: No idea! I couldn’t find the menu in English! Food tour all-inclusive. With wine!
You can also try:
- Boiled beef tongue
- Ljubljana cottage cheese pancakes with tarragon
- Klobasa sausage and Kisod Zelje sauerkraut
- Dandelion Salad
- Sour turnip soup or jota
For dinner, we always strive to patronise interesting traditional-inspired restaurants. For this, we don’t scrimp, but use the opportunity to sample all that is good in Slovenian cuisine.
I have to tell you. Pretty much every evening meal that we had, was a win!
On our very first evening, we strolled around, and less than 10 minutes, we found a long narrow street with table after table outdoors. We managed to nab a table for two and opted for a lovely restaurant a few minutes away from Dragon Bridge!
I was a bit nervous, as the menu seemed to be centred on beef, and although I’m not a vegetarian or vegan for that matter, I’m not fond of beef at restaurants!
I wasn’t to worry as the meat used is free-range and grass-fed, the staff were great, and attentive, and made sure that our platters were delicate, and not in the least chewy!
And you know what?
I was astounded and most impressed!
- We shared the meat platter. Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €12.50
- And then we shared a platter of pork chops with squares of creamy butter, paprika, and shallots. Yum! Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €15.00
A highlight of traditional Slovenian food were the meals that we had in Kamnik!
After our hiking adventure at the Velika Planina and in the valley of the Kamniska Bistrica, we had quite a large appetite for a traditional meal, and boy were we given the red carpet.
We were taken to the family-run inn & restaurant Gostilna Pri planinskem orlu, where home-cooked meals are made the traditional way, and had a chat with the owner and chef – Janez Uršič – who was delighted to have us as his guest!
The food was absolutely fantastic!
- Slovenian cold cuts, pate, cheese, vegetables, herbs and spices, soup with some sort of dumpling in it, garnished with vegetables and petals, and Slovenian dumplings with asparagus, bacon, probably veal (but I can’t remember), broccoli, and a creamy sauce!
We were invited to a complimentary early dinner! Bought at Gostilna Pri planinskem orlu, in Kamnik. Cost: €0.00!
You can also have:
- Frog legs
- Palacinke – thin pancakes filled with nuts or jam and topped with chocolate
- Potato dumplings or njoki
- Jota – a meat and vegetable stew
- Black or blood pudding
- Klobasa sausages
- Seasoned venison with smoked bacon and huckleberries
- Sweet and sour boar, with prunes, chocolate and red wine
- Zavitek or strudels
- Goulash or golaz
- Buckwheat porridge
- Slovenian sour pork kidney served with vinegar, sour cream and bacon
- Ox tail
- Tripe served with mint, cheese and bacon
- Baked potatoes with cheese. Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €1.00
I absolutely adore anything to do with water. I live in water cities, I spend time visiting places just because they have a river, and I’m weirdly drawn to river-states having lived in them all my life, in one place or the other, to lakes, rivers, mountains, valleys and seas!
We chose our seafood meals at a restaurant on the river-side. We practically found it by accident, but once you poke in and out of the various bridges in the Old Town, you’ll find it directly below the Triple Bridge, facing the Central Market!
- I ordered the Seaman Plate which consisted of fried fish, anchovy fillet, crab chips, tuna, capers, toast, and a side salad. I was really looking forward to some seafood, but I didn’t really like it! Bought at the Okrepčevalnica Ribca or Fish Restaurant Ribca in Ljubljana. Cost: €6.60
- The Tall Young Gentleman had the bass fillet, bacon, baked potatoes, and rucola. He didn’t like his meal either! Bought at the Okrepčevalnica Ribca or Fish Restaurant Ribca in Ljubljana. Cost: €10.50
You can also have:
- Seafood pasta salad
- Crabmeat and broccoli
Dessert in Slovenia was pretty wonderful. I had to watch out here and there, ‘cos of the nut factor, but I was able to have about 75%!
If you’re on a diet, forget it, and indulge!
- Štrukli (I think!) with cream, raspberries & raspberry compote. OMG. So delish! We were invited to a complimentary early dinner! Bought at Gostilna Pri planinskem orlu, in Kamnik. Cost: €0.00!
- Štrukli with trnič cheese and berries. We were invited to a complimentary lunch in Kamnik. Cost: €0.00!
- Lake Bled cream cake found throughout the Lake Bled region! Cost: €2.00 – €4.00!
- Walnut and raisin potica cake – One of the other famous cakes in Slovenia. Of course, I couldn’t eat it, as it had almonds in it! We were introduced to ours as part of the food tour which I’ve already discussed above, via Kavarna Nebotičnik (Skyscraper) building. It was a really cool place and great for a nightcap! Retail price: €2.00 – €4.00. Food tour all-inclusive. With a digestif liquor!
You can also try:
- Gibanica – a layer cake with cottage cheese, walnuts, poppy seeds, and apples
- Jabolcni zavitek – a type of apple pastry
- Siroy zavitek – a type of cheese and raisin pastry
- Upside down pie
- Blue lagoon cake or torta plava laguna filled with hazelnuts, almonds and breadcrumbs
- Who doesn’t like ice cream?!!
I’m always having to be careful ‘cos of the liberal sprinkling of nuts that I seem to see everywhere these days, and the combination of chocolate! The former ‘cos I have a nut allergy, and the latter ‘cos I don’t like chocolate!
The huge portions above were bought at this really lovely place on the riverside, opposite the Central Market in Ljubljana. They were so huge that I couldn’t finish mine, so they packed it for me in a box! Bought at – Kavarna Cacao. Cost €6.40 and €7.60 respectively.
The others were bought at little ice-cream shops in Ljubljana and at Lake Bled. Cost: About €2.00, depending on toppings! Yum!
DRINKS & REFRESHMENTS:
The food culture in Slovenia, as in many other Mediterranean States is that of outdoor, al fresco dining. The weather generally tends to be warm and summery, and the lifestyle in the country tends to be more relaxed.
You can, and should, take little breaks, have a snack, or a drink. The cost is relatively peanuts, and the quality is great.
So why shouldn’t you indulge?
- Here’s a glass of wine taken in the Old Town, directly below the Triple Bridge, facing the Central Market! Bought at the Okrepčevalnica Ribca or Fish Restaurant Ribca in Ljubljana. Cost: €2.40
Here’s a most delicious mug of cold craft beer! Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €2.50
- Here’s a gin cocktail from a hipster dive about 5 minutes from our hotel. Bought at Centralna Postaja Ljubljana or Central Station in Ljubljana. They have a happy hour and student prices too! Cost: About €2.00 – 3.00!
p.s. Don’t forget to hang out with the locals! We had such a great time with our guides, that we went out for drinks one night, and met other locals! Thanks Urban. Good times!
Note: Taste Ljubljana Culinary Tour includes tour guidance, the tasting of five traditional dishes, the tasting of five different drinks, and a digestif. Each participant also receives a brochure containing recipes for typical Ljubljana dishes, and a small gift.
Cost: €38.00 for adults, €28.00 for children up to 12. €0.00 for children under 2!
I could go on and on, but I ought to leave something for you to discover, don’t you think?
That’s it for now.
See you next week!
SLOVENIA – A BASIC GUIDE TO FOOD!
This article is part – sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with Ljubljana Tourism, absolutely all opinions, and the marvellous food that we noshed on, are my very own!
I’ve got plans for Autumn.
Find out next week!
Watch this space!
Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.
I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!
Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!
A win-win for all!
Thanks a million!