Sunday, November 27, 2005


There is no such thing as a singled Slovenian cuisine. In the opinion of some experts, there are more than 40 distinct cuisines in Slovenia.
Slovenia is a borderland country. It borders on four states with established and distinct national cuisines. From each Slovenians have borrowed culinary specialties, adapting them and making them their own.
When we speak of Slovenian cuisine we are usually referring to the traditional country dishes. Even here, there are differences in style and method, due to the diversity of countryside and climate.
As a border country Slovenia borrowed recipes from its neighbours, creating their own adaptations. "Bograč" of Prekmurje has its origins in Hungarian goulash, the"žlinkrofi"of Idria were adapted from Italian ravioli. There are few autochtonous Slovenian dishes. Among these may be counted "žganci", potica and "pogača", "ocvirkovka and "špehovka". These Slovenian specialties were so popular, that they spread to the neighbouring countries.
Imported food was an exception, oranges and lemons (and lemon juice) were almost non-existent.

In conclusion, let us mention the contemporary Slovenian cuisine. Dishes are borrowed from all European cuisines. However the modern Slovenian cuisine is not so uniform and one-sided, and offers much more, even the most sophisticated dishes. For example, some gostilnas in Ljubljana offers to not only Slovenian dishes but they offers marinated losos, fried banana with cognac and a lot more. The countries of former Yugoslavia have also had influence to Slovenian cuisine.
There is little doubt that Slovenian cuisine will keep on changing during the next 100 years and will be considerably different from what it is today.
Buckwheat bread

15 dag wheat flour
1 cooked potato, mushed (optional)
50 dag buckwheat flour
1 cake yeast, melted in lukewarm water
salt to taste
4 dl lukewarm water
Mix both flours, then make a hole in the center and pour in yeast dissolved in lukewarm water. Cover with flour and let it rise. Make dough with salted lukewarm water. Dough should slowly rise. If you add mashed potato, bread will be succulenter. Knead and make a loaf. Sprinkle with flour and wait until it rise again. Bake.
Sauerkraut and sour turnip soup
30 dag cooked beans
3 potatoes cut in cubes
50 dag sauerkraut
30 dag sour turnip
10 dag bacon, cut in cubes
1 onion, cut in pieces
2 tablespoons flour
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
some smoked meat
salt and paper to taste
1 dcl sour cream
Cook together sauerkraut and sour turnip and smoked meat. Melt bacon, add onion, flower, then roast and pour water. Add beans, sauerkraut and turnip, mix and pour remaining water. Add garlic and bay leaf. Add salt and smoked meat. Bring to a boil. Add sour cream. Jota may be cooked only with sauerkraut or only with sour turnip.
Blood sausage
1 medium pork head
1 veal lung
2 cups bacon, grained and melted
4 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons ground pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons marjoram
1 teaspoon ground cloves
40 dag cooked rice
2 liters pork blood
1 kg pork or beef casings
Clean casings well and soak in cold water. Place the head in pot of salted water and cook until meat falls from the bones. Cook the veal lung separately. Remove all meat from head and put through food chopper with cooked lung. Add salt, pepper, spices and cooked rice. Mix and set aside to cool. When cool, add blood and mix well. Remove casings from water, fill with meat and blood mixture, tie ends and bring together to form a ring. Drop sausages in boiling water and simmer for about 10 minutes (do not boil). Remove from water and cool. Store in refrigerator. When ready to use, place in skillet with a little fat and either bake or pan fry for from 35 to 45 minutes covered.Prick with toothpick several times.The remaining water could be used as blood soup named godla. Add cooked rice.
50 dag cooked and peeled potatoes
50 dag cooked beans
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons lard
Mash and mix potatoes and beans and hot fat. The mash should get a uniform structure (slightly brown). Use it in the same way as mashed potatoes or mashed beans. Slovenians use it mostly with sauer cabbage or sauer turnip with smoked ham.
Slovenian sauerkraut
10 dag bacon
10 dag onion
50 dag sourkra
salt and pepper to taste
1 by bay-tree leaf
Melt chopped bacon, then roast onion. If necessary, add some oil. Mix washed sourkraut, then roast it in oil and onion and add some water, so that it does not burn. If necessary, add more water. Add bay-tree leaf, sal and pepper. Cook until sourkraut become soft.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Wines in Slovenia

1. Important milestones

Slovenia is an ancient land of wine. Countless archaelogical findings bear witness to this:
Viticulture and winemaking date back to before the appearance of the Romans, when the land was populated by Celts and Illyrians. Decorations on the famous village amphora (found at Vače, the geographical centre of Slovenia) from the 6th century BCE show festivities involving wine. The Celts are also associated with the invention of barrels, still an essential part of winemaking equipment even today.

2. Slovenia wine profile

Basic profile

- total area under wine – 24.568 ha
- annual wine production – average vield 100 milion liters
- annual consumption per capita – 40 liters
- 3 wine-growing region and 14 wine-growing district
- 45 acceped and recommended varieties
- 66 % of vineyards on slopes
- 70% of wines achieve quality wine status

Wine region and districts

- Podravje 9.813 hectares
- Maribor 1.830 hectares
- Radgona-Kapela 843 hectares
- Ljutomer-Ormož 1.085 hectares
- Haloze 1.502 hectares
- Srednje Slovenske Gorice 735 hectares
- Prekmurje 1.410 hectares
- Šmarje-Virštanj 1.508 hectares

- Posavje 7.700 hectares
- Bizeljsko-Sremič 1.700 hectares
- Dolenjska 4.870 hectares
- Bela Krajina 1.130 hectares

- Primorska 7.055 hectares
- Goriška Brda 1.980 hectares
- Vipava Valley 2.100 hectares
- Karst 575 hectares
- Koper 2.400 hectares

Slovenija total 24.568 hectares

4. Wine regions

Podravje Wine Region
Podravje has the largest area under wine, but is ranked second behind Primorska in terms of total production.This region comprises the north-eastern part of Slovenia. It typically produces white, high-quality wines, varietals in particular.

Posavje Wine Region
From the immediate vicinity of Novo mesto all the way to Croatia`s northern border, there is a region that has its own style of vinegrowing, winemaking and aging. Feature of this region is the large number of zidanice and traditional cellars, whitch decorate the local landscape in a most wonderful manner.

Primorska Wine Region
The primorska region borders Italy, encompassing Goriška Brda and the Koper coast, the Karst and Slovenian Istria, and the Vipava Valley in the north. Here the vines find a generous, warm, sunny climate, and the region is home to more than one-third of slovenia`s vineyards.

5. Varieties

White varieties
- Pinot Blanc
- Chardonnay
- Tocai Friulano
- Kerling
- Kraljevina
- Riesling Italico
- Malvasia
- Muscat Ottonel
- Pikolit
- Pinela
- Ranfol
- Bouvier
- Ribolla
- Rheinriesling
- Muscat Blanc
- Rumeni Plavec
- Pinot Gris
- Mosler
- Traminer
- Zelen
- Sylvaner Gruner
- Chasselas

Red varieties
- Barbera
- Cabarnet franc
- Cabarnet Sauvignon
- Blaufraenkisch
- Gamay
- Merlot
- Pinot Noir
- Porugiesser Black
- Refosco
- Saint Laurent
- Žametna Črnina

6. Indigenous Slovenian wines
White varieties

Synonyms: Konigstraube (Germany), Imbrina (Croatia)
Origin: Croatia, Slovenia
Tradition: one of the rare domestic varieties still planted after the arival of phylloxera; tradtionally found in all three wine districts of the Posavje region.
Quality: table wine, although at sites with marly soils good icewine is made in Bela Krajina
Distribution: Most planted in Bela Krajina and Dolenjska, but also long found in Bizeljsko and Šmarje-Virštanj

Synonyms: Pinella (Italy)
Origin: Indigenous to Vipava
Tradition: One of the oldest Primorska varieties, classified among the very highest-quality varieties by Vertovc in 1845; recently its circle of admirers has grown
Quality: quality and high-quality
Distribution: mostly in Vipava, barely planted anywhere else

Synonyms: Štajerska belina (Slovenia), Weisser Heuisch (Germany)
Origin: Slovenia, Croatia
Tradition: ranfol and its clones have been the back bone of white blends in Štajerska for centuries
Quality: typical table wine
Distribution: found in Haloze where it is allowed variety, and Dolenjska, where it has once again been listed among the used varieties

Synonyms: Bouvierjeva Ranina (Slovenia), Radgonska Ranina (Slovenia), Bouviertraube (Germany), Special (local)
Origin: Slovenia
Tradition: discovered in 1900 in his vineyard at Hercegovščak by Swiss-French winemaker and vine expert, Clotar Bouvier, who collected and grafted the best examples; some believe it to be a cross between Pinot Blanc and Sylvaner
Quality: quality to high-quality
Distribution: found in all districts with a continental climatic influence, but few varietal examples exist

Rumeni Plavec
Synonyms: Debeli Klešec (Slovenia), Plavec Žuti (Croatia), Plavez Gelber (Germany)
Origin: Bizeljsko in Slovenia, Zagorje in Croatia
Tradition: Traditionally found in Posavje, Bizeljsko in particular
Quality: table but in recent times winemakers who restrict the yield per vine and delay the harvest until late autumn have had enviable results; a variety with potential
Distribution: most common in Bizeljsko

Synonyms: Dišava (Slovenia)
Origin: indigenous to Vipava
Tradition: zelen is traditional in the upper Vipava Valley
Quality: with low yields the very highest quality is attained, which is what the variety deserves
Distribution: there is very little zelen, and most is found in its homeland of Vipava

Red varieties

Synonyms: Teran (Slovenia), Teran Noir (France), Kraški Teran (Slovenia), Mondeuse (France)
Origin: Karst, Slovenian and Croatian Istria
Tradition: a variety indigenus to Istria and the Karst, where for thousands of years it has producet a wine as dark as rabbit’s blood, and written about by Roman historian Pliny
Quality: both refošk and teran are quality wines
Distribution: refošk is found in Istria, kraški teran in the Karst

Žametna Črnina
Synonyms: Žametovka (Slovenia), Modra Kavčina (Croatia), Koelner Blauer (Germany)
Origin: Slovenia
Tradition: a red variety that has made its home in the continental areas of Slovenia for centuries, it is now being supplanted in Podravje by noble white varieties; the oldest noble vine in the world, classified as an official site of outstanding natural beauty and listed in the Guinness Book of Records, is a Žametna Črnina in Maribor
Quality: table
Distribution: most heavily planted in Dolenjska, Bizeljsko, Bela Krajina and Šmarje-Virštanj

7. Traditional slovenian blends

Cviček is the traditional and dominant wine of Dolenjska. It is a blend of red and white varieties with a low alcohol content. It is a light, almost tannin-free, dry, easy-drinking, pink-coloured wine with hints of ruby and purple. The high level of lactic acid and other nutritional properties make it appreciated by diabetics and other people with illnesses.

Kraški Teran
The first special thing about teran is that it is made from refošk grapes, which in Koper and elsewhere in Slovenian and Croatian Istria produce a totally diffrent wine. The wine is deep, dark red colour with lower alchohol and higher acidity than refošk. It is dry and reather refreshing. Kraški Teran is also a healthy wine thanks to its rich acid content.

Sources and literature
- Ivo Kuljaj – Trte in vina na Slovenskem (vines and wines in Slovenia)

Klemen Modic, Andraž Knavs, Alen Gigović, Miha Vesel, Klemen Simonič, G2.A