The Slovenia Times

Slovenia's Traditional Cuisine With A Twist


It began in 2006 and follows the guidelines of the European Tourism Policy and was initiated by the European Commission. It is designed to promote European beauty, culture and diversity. The project is based on national competitions and each year there is a new theme to advocate diversified tourism. Until now, there have been five locations in Slovenia which have been chosen to receive this prestigious award. Based on their culinary delights, environmental, cultural and social sustainability, these locations have been stamped as the best in tourism.

The Soča Valley

The Soča Valley was the first Slovenian location, chosen in 2008. The Soča Valley is a beautiful destination located in the region of Primorska, near the border between Slovenia and Italy. The valley boasts the Soča River, a natural marvel featuring green-sapphire water, guaranteed to delight any traveller. The traditional culinary experience is one to experience - from the famous Tolminc cheese, which has been made for centuries in the traditional manner, to the "Bovški krafi", a desert similar to ravioli, filled with dried pears. The Soča Valley is unique in its cheese making, made using both traditional and modern methods on the alpine hills above the valley. A dish not to be missed is "frika", potatoes cooked with Tolminc cheese. The perfect desert to finish with is "Kobariški štruklji", a pastry filled with walnuts, raisins and cinnamon. The Soča valley offers a wellrounded cuisine that can be enjoyed by all ages.

The Solčavsko region

The 2009 winner was the Solčavsko region close to the Austrian border. Its main feature is most definitely the local cuisine. Almost all of the farms in the area are organic and the culinary offer is based on local ingredients, the most famous dish is undoubtedly "sirnek". This dish can be translated as "aged Solčava cheese", with its pungent taste; it is perfect for cheese lovers and connoisseurs. Homemade cheese is abundant in this region, often flavoured with herbs and spices. The next most famous dish is "zgornjesavinjski želodec", a type of salami which, while being difficult to pronounce, is most definitely easy to enjoy. It is not hard to see why, being locally made and a geographically protected product, it is produced from and cured by the clean alpine climate. Other dishes that are a must include lamb, deer, honey and small dumplings filled with dried pears.

The Kolpa River

The Kolpa River won the award in 2010. Located in Kočevsko and Bela Krajina, on the border between Croatia and Slovenia, it is picturesque in nature. Don't be surprised if you are served "belokranjska pogača" when you first arrive - an inviting flat bread, usually served warm, to welcome guests. Meals are simple such as "čušpajs" (a traditional stew), dumpling soup and mutton and cabbage stew, all of which pair nicely with one of the award winning wines produced in Bela Krajina. A time not to be missed is Easter, with the famous Bela Krajina Easter eggs or "pisanice" which are the jewels of spring. They are decorated with the most intricate of patterns and the process is an art all its own. The traditional Easter dishes "belokranjski nadev", meat filled with ham, eggs, dried bread, and onion and "ajdova povitica", a savoury-sweet cake made with a ricotta and sour cream filling, are a treat during the spring. Other local dishes include pork, lamb and sausages, perfect for any meat lover. This is not your typical traditional experience though. While the cuisine does have a strong heritage, it is also sometimes mixed with a modern twist, bringing the recipes of our grandmothers, into the 21st century.


In 2011, Idrija became the fourth winner. Now a UNESCO Heritage site, Idrija is best known for mercury, lace and "idrijski žlikrofi". One of the largest mercury mines in the world was located in Idrija and it is also has a tradition of lace-making that has been handed down for more than 300 years. The culinary delights to be had are numerous. One of the most famous dishes is "idrijski žlikrofi", a savoury dumpling usually filled with potatoes, onions, herbs and meat. They are served with different sauces, most traditionally with a sauce called "bakalca", which is made from mutton and vegetables. There are also delicacies such as "zeljševka" (rolls with herbs), "smukavc" (a type of vegetable soup), "štruklji" (dumplings), "ocvirkovca" (a type of bread with crackling), and many more satisfying dishes. Make sure to wash it all down with a glass of "geruš" or wormwood liqueur, a famous drink traditionally enjoyed by the local Idrijan miners. There is even a feast held in honour of the famous idrijski žlikrofi on the last Saturday in August - yet another reason to visit Idrija.


The last Slovenian location to win was Laško in 2013. Laško is near the centre of Slovenia and if you ask a Slovenian about Laško, the first thing they would most likely say is "pivo" (beer). Laško is known for its traditional beer brewing, which just so happens to be the perfect drink to complement the fine cuisine to be had in Laško. The local cuisine is one of the special experiences to be had in Laško with a unique tradition of using warm cream, paired with dishes such as gnocchi, "potica" (a yeast cake with nuts), honey cake, dumplings, ravioli and meat. There is also a strong tradition of beekeeping. Laško features the famous Gardens of Honey Plants and tasting the honey is an experience not to be missed. The locals also like to integrate beer and honey in their food: you can taste numerous dishes at Castle Tabor which includes beer (from starters to desserts) and try the "Honey Menu" in Thermana Laško. Tourist farms are also famous in Laško, providing year round fresh ingredients for the fresh and unique cuisine. They feature sustainable chicken farming and sheep cheese making, along with other dairy products. The highlight of the year is the famous "Pivo in Cvetje" (Beer & Flowers) event. It is a celebration with beer, music, an exhibition and an amazing fireworks display, making Laško the place to be during the hot summer months.

You can find out more about EDEN in Slovenia here.


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