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Culinary Culture & Must-Try Restaurants of Slovenia


Slovenia is still one of those off-the-beaten-path destinations where you can feel like you're discovering Europe anew. It's an excellent place to explore in 2023 while others are flocking to their bucket list places. But you, savvy traveler that you are, are open to totally new cultural experiences, and Slovenia will not disappoint. The International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts, and Tourism named it Europe’s Official Region of Gastronomy in 2021. Here are four places where you can taste why!

Excerpt below from 9/9/202 article below produced by Virtuoso with the Slovenia Tourist Board can be found HERE.

Ask any Slovenian beekeeper why the country’s honey is so good, and they’ll tell you about the indigenous Carniolan honeybees. (Fun fact: Slovenian apiarists lobbied the UN to commemorate World Bee Day, which was officially established in 2017.) Walk into a wine bar in Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, and you’ll likely learn that orange (aka macerated) wine, now uber-popular worldwide, has been produced in Slovenia for thousands of years.

Slovenia is a green country situated in the heart of Europe, with diverse geography and a long, rich history. It’s still considered an undiscovered destination in many parts of the world. Slovenia’s culinary heritage draws from a diverse topography that ranges from the Mediterranean coastline to the European Alps. The small country has an impressive 24 gastronomic areas, plus three wine-growing regions. While chef Ana Roš of the award-winning Hiša Franko restaurant in Kobarid may be the country’s poster child for cuisine (the restaurant secured the country’s first Michelin stars in June), there are plenty of other amazing chefs who devote their lives to Slovenia’s culinary culture.

Here are four more places where you can get a true taste of Slovenia:

Vila Podvin

In the northwest alpine region of Gorenjska, chef Uroš Štefelin scours local pastures and valleys for the ingredients he uses at Vila Podvin. Local dairy – including a homemade, spicy mohant cheese – is popular, and hearty kranjska klobasa sausage, often served with Štefelin’s favorite variety of sweet tepka pear, feature prominently on the menu. Pears also go into an invigorating after-dinner brandy, made from other local fruits and herbs.

Gostilna pri Lojzetu

In Slovenian, “gostilna” means “inn” – a modest name for chef Tomaz Kavcic’s award-winning restaurant in the city of Vipava, a 45-minute drive from Trieste, Italy. Kavcic uses local ingredients such as persimmon, chestnut, and wild asparagus to create dishes once considered rural and “rustic.” Try the traditional jota, a hotpot of beans, potatoes, bacon, and turnips, and pair it with a glass of white zelen or red teran – both local varieties sourced from vines that grow within view of the dining room.

Pavus Restaurant

Slovenia is the world’s fifth-largest hops producer. In Lasko, its brewing capital, travelers can dine on creative, beer-infused dishes refined by chef Marko Pavcnik at Pavus, which is housed inside a medieval castle. A dark, heavy stout infuses the menu’s bear ragout, a lighter beer appears as a marinade on a local trout dish, and even the chocolate pralines for dessert showcase hints of hop-y bitterness.

Brunarica Gric

Chef Luka Kosir loves to ferment, hunt, and forage just outside of Ljublana. Wild game is popular in this part of central Slovenia, and at Brunarica Gric, diners can order venison plated with wild herbs, mosses, lichen, and seasonal fermented vegetables. Kosir sources traditional produce from nearby farms. For adventurous eaters: Dried ants have been known to make occasional menu appearances.

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