Slovenia is in Central Europe and the only country that connects the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Karst and the Pannonian Plain. Slovenia is mostly mountainous and forested (in fact it is the third most-forested country in Europe) and has always been the crossroads of Slavic, Germanic and Romance languages and cultures. Slovenia as a tourist destination offers its visitors a wide variety of natural and cultural amenities. The tourist area of the country is quite large but the tourist market has not expanded very much. Therefore there is no large-scale tourism and no serious environmental pressures. In 2017, National Geographic Traveller’s Magazine declared Slovenia as the country with the world’s most sustainable tourism.
SLOVENIA – EUROPEAN REGION OF GASTRONOMY 2021
In 2021 Slovenia has been awarded as the European Region of Gastronomy for 2021 and according to the official site of IGCAT (International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism): “Its exceptionally diverse landscape and nature are tied to a colourful culture and gastronomy. Slovenian dishes are made with local ingredients, from produce grown in fields and gardens, to ingredients foraged in meadows and forests, salt harvested from Adriatic salt pans, honey made by native bees, wines from boutique-sized vineyards to healthy mineral waters that became the focal point of world-renowned spas centuries ago. Slovenia is a green, healthy and active country. Diverse gastronomy is, therefore, part of its culture.” Nevertheless, there are four basic reasons that make Slovenia a unique gastronomic destination.
THE ORANGE WINE OF SLOVENIA
Slovenia has mostly known abroad as a wine-producing region. The production of wine began with the Celts in the 3rd and 4th centuries BC, when wine-growing was flourishing during the era of the Roman Empire. The climate and the geology of the country favoured the cultivation of vines and the main wine-growing regions are Podravje, Posavje and Primorska. Most vineyards are located on slopes, which means that manual labour is required most of the time for the harvesting. From the Slovenian wines, the most famous and unique is the orange wine. Orange wines in Slovenia are made through a special process, that has as main feature the prolonged contact with grape skins. They are a mixture of white wine made through a process that is intended for red wines. This process gives the wine a unique orange colour and an irresistible taste.
THE FAMOUS CARNIOLAN HONEYBEE
Apart from wine Slovenia is also famous for its bee honey. There is a nationwide network of producers whose honey comes from the famous Carniolan honeybee, which is an indigenous Slovenian bee. The Slovenian honey has three basic varieties: the Slovenian honey which is the mark of a protected geographical indication and is produced throughout the country, the Kočevje forest honey characterised by its varied floristic composition and Karst honey which is considered of very high quality, because it is dry and ripe and very rich in minerals and enzymes. Slovenia is the first country to introduce api tourism (api in Latin means bee).
FARM-TO-TABLE FOOD SCENE
Apart from wine and honey Slovenia has also an extended farm-to-table food scene. There is a large number of tourist farms all over the country which offer high-quality services. These farms across Slovenia offer fresh, seasonal vegetables, fruits and homemade products. While visiting one of the farms, you will discover the farm life and at the same time eat meat from the barn and drink juices and wines from their vineyards and orchards. One of the best tourist farms in Slovenia which also offers accommodation is Kmetija Ramšak near the Pohorje forests.
LJUBLJANA’S GASTRONOMIC DELIGHTS
The fourth reason that makes Slovenia a unique gastronomic destination is its capital. Ljubljana is one of the smallest European capitals but at the same time one of the most interesting. It is an exciting mix of different cultural traditions and a top culinary destination. At the restaurants of Ljubljana, you could taste authentic local cuisine and also the famous Ljubljana-style-breakfast which consists of foods that come from supply chains based on the principle “from local field to local table”. In this way the dishes of the breakfast change according to the fresh ingredients that are available in each season. But also the city has a dynamic haute-cuisine scene with many restaurants listed in the Michelin guide and the restaurant Atelje with one Michelin star. Finally, Ljubljana has a large number of gelato parlours with a long tradition that challenge those of neighbouring Italy, like Vigo Ice Cream near the city’s cathedral.
The best way to visit Ljubljana and Slovenia and taste all its gastronomic delights is by booking a tour with a spelialised operator. GourmeTravel Slovenia is a culinary tour operator, organizing special individual gourmet tours/trips through Slovenia. They love their job and it would be their pleasure to create the perfect holiday for you. Their offer includes wine tastings, bio salami tasting accompanied with natural wines, picnic in the park, cheese tasting and fine dining.
Slovenia is a relatively unexplored paradise and an indispensable gastronomic destination. It is considered one of the top destinations in Europe for the coming years. Now is the time to discover it !!!
*[Photo at the top: Lake Bled, Slovenia by Jonathan Reichel from Pixabay]
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