Learn why Slovenia was awarded the official title European Region of Gastronomy 2021
The awarded title has been given by the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism (IGCAT). As a country with strikingly distinct landscapes and climates, from the Alps to the Mediterranean, Karst and Pannonian plains, it also has a rich and diverse culinary heritage.
A “from field to plate” is a deeply rooted philosophy of Slovenians. Using the freshest ingredients in kitchen has always had a great value in Slovenian culture, so it is not surprising to see vegetable gardens around nearly every house, when visiting Slovenia.
One of Slovenians’ favourite hobbies is picking wild plants, berries and fruits and using them in kitchen. With almost 60% of country covered in forests, locals love to roam the forests and meadows in search of wild strawberries or blueberries, asparaguses, chestnuts, wild garlic, truffles, different kinds of mushrooms and more.
A dandelion salad in spring, blueberry roll in summer and chestnut cake in autumn are just some of the dishes you can try when visiting Slovenia. Even Michelin starred restaurants and their chefs are using wild fruits and herbs in their kitchen. Michelin starred restaurants and world-famous chefs, like Ana Roš, are another reason why you should explore Slovenian gastronomy.
Delicious food can be accompanied with good wine. As you probably know, Slovenia has a proud history of wine production. Rebula, Furmint, Malvasia, and Blaufränkisch are some of the wines you can taste, when traveling around Slovenia. Each region has their own preferred vines and wines.
When visiting Istria or Karst, Malvasia and Rebula are popular among white wines and Refosco as red wine. A specialty of Karst region is an autochthonic red wine, Teran. It is grown out of Refosco vine, but on red soil. It has the most Anthocyanins among all the red wines in this part of Europe. A few studies have been made on its health benefits on heart and vascular system, of course, with moderate drinking. In Štajerska region, the ancient variety of Furmint (locally known as Šipon) is produced among white wines. Blaufränkisch (or Modra Frankinja in Slovene) is a red wine mainly produced in Posavje region. Blaufränkisch is most probably the autochthonic variety originating from Slovenia. Its finest quality wines are being aged in wooden oak barrels. Second most popular variety of red wine is Žametovka, another ancient indigenous variety, originating from Dolenjska region. A variety of Žametovka is the oldest grape in the World, the Old Vine.
Finally, we must mention Slovenian beekeeping tradition. Did you know that we have a World Bee Day thanks to the Slovenian beekeepers’ association? Knowing the importance of bees for our planet, all the while being concerned about their supposed extinction, Slovenian beekeepers’ Association proposed the 20th of May, to the United Nations, to be a World Bee Day. 20th of May 1734 was the birthday of Anton Janša, a pioneer of modern beekeeping in Europe. With meadows rich in diverse flora, Slovenian honey is of high quality and products made of honey often find their way to the kitchen. To learn more about the gastronomy of Slovenia, visit the Taste Slovenia website.