Cuisine of Slovenia

Forty distinct regional cuisinesSlovenian cuisine is as diverse as the terrain, with more than forty distinct regional cuisines. The six topographical areas of Slovenia have led to a great variety of traditional dishes from the countryside: with differences in style and method of preparation. Distinct cuisines also evolved from a highly stratified society; based on the town, the farmhouse, the cottage, the castle, and monastery. In the cities, cuisines from other countries were evident; dishes were from Austria, France, and Germany. This influence is already apparent in the first cookbook published in the Slovenian language by the priest Valentin Vodnik in 1799. In a cookbook in Graz in 1589, the writer refers to tarragon ‘štruklji’ as Slovenian ‘ this is the oldest known reference to a Slovenian recipe. The štruklji are a well-known speciality, made of yeast dough with a filling: over one hundred types. Slovenia has adapted and adopted some dishes from the bordering countries of Austria, Hungary, and Italy. Examples  are ‘bograč’ from Prekmurje, adapted from goulash of Hungary, ‘žlinkrofi’ from Idrija adapted from Italian ravioli.
Traditional, popular foods are: sour cabbage (kislo zelje), sour turnip (kisla repa), potatoes, wild lettuce (regrat), beans, mushrooms, buckwheat, cornmeal, and stews. Bread is much-loved by Slovenians; there is a great selection from different grains. Some traditional dishes are; jota, ričet, sour soup of Pohorje, potato soup of Dolenjska, prežganka of Gorenjska, obara, žganci, krvavice, pečenice, kranjske klobase, žolca (aspic), pršut (leg ham), kaša (porridge) – based on buckwheat, barley, and rarely now, millet.
Among cakes there are: potica, gibanica, kolače, pince, kremne rezine, zavitek, medenjaki.
‘Potica’ is the premier festive Slovenian cake, traditionally baked in a round ceramic mould (rolled yeast-dough with filling) and was served originally for only special  occasions; there are over fifty varieties of potica. The trend in Slovenian cuisine has been to adapt many old recipes which are very high in calories, and substitute ingredients for a more healthy balanced diet.

Learning activities

1. Assemble a menu
Text-type: menu
Linguistic element: nouns
Select dishes from the menu of the Ljubljana restaurant ‘Šestica’ , and write a menu

2. Select recipes

Text-type: recipe, list
Linguistic element: nouns – declensions
Select and recipes for a birthday dinner, and compile a list of ingredients required

3. Design an advertisement
Linguistic element: prepositions
Design and write an advertisement on’štruklji’, refer to page 262,  “Štruklji – dobra jed”

4. Design a brochure
exhibition brochure, recipe
Linguistic element: adjective
Design and write a brochure on the features of ‘potica’ for an exhibition of Slovenian cuisine, include a recipe

5. Write an article
newspaper article
Linguistic element: compound sentences
Write an article on the history of buckwheat ‘ajda’ in Slovenia,

see sectiončlanki/articles

6. Prepare a talk
radio talk
Linguistic element: verb
Write a talk for a radio programme on traditional Slovenian meals, see article, p.256
Slovenska tradicionalna hrana – Evropa v malem, by Boris Kuhar,

 Comprehension – reading and responding

Read the text ‘Slovenska kuhinja ‘ from the web site, ‘Kulinarična Slovenija’,

in section članki/articles

Answer the following questions in English.
1. What factors influenced the great range of Slovenian cuisine?
2. Who produced the first Slovenian cookbook?
3. What are traditional Slovenian dishes based on?
4. How have these dishes been adapted for a modern, balanced diet?
5. What are the ingredients of the popular Primorska soup ‘jota’?
6. What are the ingredients of the famous soup ‘ričet’?
7. What is the Slovenian speciality ‘štrukelj’ and how many varieties are there?




Sandi Ceferin

Sandi Ceferin (B.A. CELTA) is a researcher and Thezaurus editor. She is a writer of language materials and the Slovenian Webclassroom. Her studies in Slavic linguistics and Indo-European languages has been a springboard to collaboration and development of new model applications of technologies for languages and culture study. Sandi produces curricula and resource materials including Course Outline - Slovenian CSF Years 1-10, published by the Victorian School of Languages, Melbourne (2003).