The Slovenia Times

Slovenian Carnivals: First Class Culinary Delights


Important festivals have always been celebrated with lavish food and drink. For carnival, known in Slovenia as pust, food had to be particularly greasy, according to ethnologist Lea Kužnik.

Even today people in costumes going door-to-door, the Slovenian version of trick-or-treating, accept donations of either money or food, preferably sweets.

The most traditional Slovenian carnival food is doughnuts typically filled with apricot jam, or flancati, made with the same or different dough but a different shape and without the jam.

Present-day flancati are derived from Middle Age unleavened fried dough popular with nobility, which became a carnival dish in late 18th century when their leavened variety gained prominence.

Doughnuts, meanwhile, are traced back to the Viennese royal court and a cook called Cäcilie Krapf, according to the Lexicon of Slovenian Ethnology, though that is disputed and is largely considered to be a myth.

While doughnuts are the go-to carnival food, several varieties of potica remain popular, in particular in rural areas.

Potica, a dense, sweet rolled pastry, is typically made with walnuts, but during carnival time savoury versions with bacon jam, sausage, lovage or buckwheat are also popular, and increasingly so.

One tradition that has become almost extinct is the preparation of pig head, which would be cooked on the Thursday before carnival Sunday, a day still referred to as "fat Thursday".


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