Slovenian cuisine is extremely rich; both in taste and tradition. Influenced by the diversity of the country’s landscape, climate, history and neighbouring cultures, Slovenian culinary delights are something special indeed. The country is divided into 23 gastronomic regions, each with its assortment of specialties. There are over 100 soups on Slovenian menus. In the olden days, there were various kinds of porridge, stews and one-pot meals, some of which are still very popular in the countryside, including Alpine mountain huts and tourist farms in the valleys. The most common meatless soups used to be lean and plain. The most popular meat soup is one made of beef with noodles. The latter is often served as part of a Sunday lunch. Speaking of meat, Slovenes enjoy all types of meaty dishes. In White Carniola and the Slovenian Littoral, mutton and goat meat are champion foods, while on St. Martin’s Day, most of the country feasts on roasted goose, duck, turkey, or chicken paired with red cabbage and mlinci (dried flatbread). And wine, of course. In Lower Carniola and Inner Carniola, roasted dormouse and quail used to be famous local delicacies. In White Carniola, lamb, veal and horse are among the more popular meats. The Carniolan sausage, a protected food, is another extremely popular dish that one can find all over the country. Desserts are commonly made with walnuts and hazelnuts. Wild strawberries, loganberries, blackberries, bilberries are also often added to the mix. Honey and jam are also very common sweet delights found in the pantries. Mushrooms have always been popular among Slovenes who enjoy picking them as much as eating them. And there are numerous varieties of mushrooms in the Slovenian forests. Slovenia also has a lush assortment of protected foodstuffs and products you absolutely must try. To list just a few examples: prleška tünka, a product from Prlekija in eastern Slovenia, made of minced lard and pork; extra virgin olive oil from the Slovenian Istria; Nanos cheese (nanoški sir), made from cow milk, hard, Kočevje forest honey (kočevski gozdni med), zgornjesavinjski želodec, air-dried pig stomach from the Upper Savinja Valley; Idrija žlikrofi (idrijski žlikrofi), small boiled dumplings filled with potatoes, onions, and lards; prekmurska gibanica, a layer cake from Prekmurje with poppy seeds, walnuts, apples, raisins, and ricotta fillings; Tolminc cheese (sir Tolminc), made of raw cow milk in the hilly region of Tolmin; Karst prosciutto (kraški pršut), a traditional prosciutto from the Karst Plateau. Friday from mid-March to the end of October, weather permitting, the Pogačarjev Square in the centre of Ljubljana hosts Odprta kuhna or Open Kitchen. It’s a special food market where around 60 of Slovenia’s finest eateries from around the country assemble their stalls and offer a spectacular collection of delicacies. The Open Kitchen food market is a splendid opportunity for locals and tourists to taste some incredible authentic Slovene and foreign dishes, have a glass of wine or beer, a smoothie or other beverages, and mingle. If you can’t decide which restaurant to visit next, the Open Kitchen will certainly give you some fine examples of where to go. Try a bit of everything. It’s an awesome culinary and social experience in the heart of our vibrant capital that you simply have to take part in.
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