Like all European cuisine, Slovenia’s culinary specialities are a blend of influences, with a touch of Italy thrown in for good measure. If your aim during your work placement abroad is to break your stomach on the cheap, welcome to Slovenia! The cuisine is very appetising, and the country is one of the most affordable in the European Union. What’s more, it’s beautiful – we’ve been there several times, and we loved it. You can also read our feedback: for once, we’ve written a little family blog for you!
Slovenia’s culinary specialities start with the aperitif!
Aperitifs are an important part of Slovenian social culture. Slovenians like to get together for a drink before meals and share convivial moments. Here are some popular drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, enjoyed as aperitifs in Slovenia:
Alcoholic beverages :
- Schnaps (žganje): This is a traditional Slovenian brandy, made from fruits such as plums, pears, cherries and apples. Each region has its own variant of schnapps, offering a wide range of flavours.
- Slovenian wine: Slovenia has a long tradition of winemaking and produces a variety of quality wines. White wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Rebula, and red wines, such as Merlot and Pinot Noir, are very popular.
- Beer (pivo): Beer is also popular in Slovenia, with several local breweries producing quality craft beers. The best-known brands include Laško and Union.
- Vermouth (vermut): Vermouth is often enjoyed as an aperitif drink, whether consumed neat or mixed with other ingredients.
Non-alcoholic drinks :
- Fruit juices: Slovenians love fresh, natural fruit juices. Apple, cherry, raspberry and blackcurrant juices are popular.
- Mineral waters: Slovenia is famous for its natural mineral waters and thermal springs. Local mineral waters, such as Radenska and Donat Mg, are often drunk as an aperitif for their refreshing and health-giving properties.
- Syrup (sirup): Fruit syrups, such as elderberry, raspberry or grenadine syrup, are often used to make refreshing non-alcoholic drinks.
- Coffee: Slovenians also enjoy a good cup of coffee as an aperitif. Turkish coffee (turška kava) and espresso are common choices.
It should be noted that drinking habits may vary from person to person and from region to region in Slovenia. Some traditional and local drinks may also be specific to certain regions of the country.
Cooking in general: starters and main courses!
Slovenian cuisine is varied and influenced by the culinary traditions of neighbouring countries such as Austria, Italy, Hungary and Croatia. Slovenians appreciate hearty dishes and authentic flavours. Local and seasonal ingredients play an important role in Slovenian cuisine, highlighting fresh, regional produce.
Slovenian starters include dishes such as Žganci, a corn or buckwheat flour porridge served with sour milk or stock, and Štruklji, rolls of pastry stuffed with various fillings such as walnuts, potatoes, spinach or cheese. Also popular are Kranjska klobasa, spicy smoked meat sausages considered Slovenia’s national sausage.
Main courses include specialities such as Potica, a rolled cake traditionally filled with walnuts, poppy seeds, honey or fruit spreads. Idrijski žlikrofi are small ravioli stuffed with mashed potatoes, onions and spices, often served with a meat stew. Prekmurska gibanica is a colourful dessert made with layers of pastry, walnuts, poppy seeds, apples, cottage cheese and sugar.
Ingredients frequently used in Slovenian cuisine include potatoes, which are a staple used in many dishes, meats such as pork, beef, lamb and poultry, cereals such as wheat, corn and buckwheat, and dairy products such as cheeses, yoghurts and sour milk. Commonly used herbs and spices include caraway, paprika, parsley, rosemary and dill, which add aromatic flavours to dishes.
Slovenians also have specific culinary habits, such as the importance of eating seasonal and local produce, as well as taking the time to enjoy meals with family and friends. As Slovenia has a rich wine-growing tradition, Slovenian wines, particularly white and red, are often enjoyed with food. Culinary festivals, local markets and tourist farms are places where visitors can discover and taste traditional Slovenian cuisine, highlighting regional products and ancestral recipes.
Slovenia’s culinary specialities also include desserts!
Slovenia has a delicious variety of traditional desserts to delight sweet tooths. Slovenian desserts are often rich in flavour and texture, skilfully blending local ingredients and ancestral culinary techniques.
One of Slovenia’s signature desserts is Potica, a generously filled rolled cake. This dessert is prepared by rolling out a thin layer of yeast dough on which ingredients such as chopped walnuts, poppy seeds, honey, fruit spread or even chocolate are placed. The dough is then rolled out and baked until it has a soft texture and a deliciously sweet flavour.
Another famous dessert is Šmorn, a kind of thick, puffed pancake. Šmorn is often served with fruit jam or dusted with icing sugar. Its light texture and sweet taste make it a firm favourite with Slovenians.
Prekmurska gibanica is a traditional dessert from the Prekmurje region. It is a multi-layered cake made with pastry, walnuts, poppy seeds, apples, cottage cheese and sugar. Each layer brings a distinct combination of flavours, creating a rich and tasty dessert.
As well as these iconic desserts, Slovenia has a variety of regional biscuits and cakes. Medenjaki, for example, are spiced honey biscuits, often in the shape of hearts or other traditional designs. They are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee.
Ingredients frequently used in Slovenian desserts include nuts, poppy seeds, honey, apples, fresh cheeses and seasonal fruit. Slovenians attach great importance to using quality ingredients and preserving traditional culinary techniques.
Slovenian sweet cuisine is often associated with festivities and special celebrations. Desserts play an important role at cultural and family events, where they are happily shared among guests.
Whether you’re enjoying a slice of Potica, savouring a Šmorn or exploring other Slovenian sweets, the country’s desserts offer an authentic and delicious culinary experience.
Slovenia’s culinary specialities through the wine (well, yes!)
Winegrowing in Slovenia has a long tradition dating back to Roman times. This small Central European country is renowned for the quality of its wines, reflecting the diversity of its terroirs and the expertise of its winemakers.
Slovenia has three main wine-growing regions: Podravje, Posavje and Primorska. Each of these regions has unique geographical and climatic characteristics that influence the style of wine produced there.
Podravje, in the east of the country, is famous for its aromatic white wines and sweet wines. Local varieties such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer thrive here.
Posavje, located in the south-east, enjoys a warmer climate and produces mainly full-bodied red wines. The region’s emblematic grape variety is Cviček, a unique, light red wine.
The Primorska region, which stretches along the Adriatic coast, enjoys a Mediterranean climate and is renowned for its high-quality white and red wines. International varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot gris, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are successfully grown here.
Slovenian winegrowers often favour organic and environmentally-friendly growing methods. Many small family-run farms are devoted to winegrowing, preserving the traditions and skills handed down from generation to generation.
Slovenian wines have gained increasing international recognition in recent years, winning prestigious awards and attracting the attention of wine lovers from all over the world. Visitors to Slovenia can explore picturesque vineyards, taste a wide variety of wines in local cellars and take part in wine festivals to discover the very essence of Slovenian viticulture.
In short, the culinary specialities in Slovenia are rich and varied: something to enjoy throughout your work placement in Slovenia! In addition, we have a number of other articles on local customs in Slovenia and towns to visit during your work placement in the country. For more information, or to get your tailor-made work placement abroad in Slovenia, register via the International Horizons website, and off you go: free registration with no obligation!
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