|From simple farmers food like bread and žganci |
towards diversity and excellence.
Tuesday, 25 August 2015
ABOUT SLOVENIA and SLOVENIAN FOOD
Slovenia is a "small" country in Central Europe located in the Northern part of Balkan Peninsula, between the Adriatic sea, Southern Alps, Pannonian Plains and Dinaric Karst Mountains.
Slovenia borders Italy in the West, Austria in the North, Hungary in the East and Croatia in the South.
The geographical position of Slovenia on the crossroads between the North and the South, the East and the West of Europe, always played an important role. Throughout the history this transient position shaped our way of life, our culture as different influences can be noticed in all parts of our culture.
Despite its "small" size, Slovenia is a country of a lot of varieties. This is also one of the most important characteristics of the Slovenian cuisine, which can be described not as one but as a mix of many different cuisines. In our food we can see influences of our neighbouring countries, regions and also migrations that took place across our territory. We can talk about influences from the Mediterranean Cuisine, Central European Cuisine - from Germany, Austria and France, then Hungarian Cuisine and the Cuisines of the Balkan Region that were historically very much influenced by Byzantium and Turkish Cuisines. We also have to take into account our Slavic origins and the specifics of our social structure and its development throughout history. For many centuries we were under foreign reign.
Slovenian food is based on a very simple and modest rustic - farmers diet made of very few different ingredients, mostly wheat - bread, žganci, kaša and a few vegetables, which our chefs slowly developed into a rich and diverse cuisine by adding their own creativity and their own way of preparing the dishes. In different parts of Slovenia the same dish can be prepared in a different way, for example žganci, which makes our cuisine even more interesting and diverse. Over time, new foods were introduced and incorporated into our everyday cooking. Today we are talking about 24 gastronomic regions with many specific local dishes of their own. We can proudly say that our cuisine can compete and be compared to cuisines that are well known and appreciated all around the globe.
In the last few decades the way of life has been changing fast. With globalisation a lot of new influences arrived, a lot of new foods were introduced and we can say that fast food took over slow food. Preparing traditional food in many cases means slow cooking and a lot of preparation. Today families don't want to spend so much time cooking and traditional recipes are starting to sink into oblivion. Luckily we have many experts and enthusiasts who want to preserve and revive traditional cooking. There are more and more restaurants that have at least a few traditional dishes incorporated in their modern way of cooking, which is very much appreciated by their guests. This is also a living proof that our traditional dishes are very tasty and can be easily incorporated into modern fusions.
As a member of the EU family, we registered and protected many of our traditional dishes, for which we received European certificates. We still have a long way to go and as dr. Janez Bogotaj says, we have to be much more determined and not so modest, because we have great food with excellent tastes to offer to the world.
I can say that cooking is my hobby. I always enjoyed preparing some special meal or baking something special for family and friends. When abroad I have the opportunity to present Slovenian food, my way of course, to different people and I think they like that. In Japan where I am at the moment I am surprised, again and again, with their interest for everything new and different. And there is also something special about our food which makes this connection even stronger and that is buckwheat - soba - ajda. We have many traditional dishes where the buckwheat flour or seeds - kaša are the main ingredients. They are very tasty, not to mention how healthy they are.
In this blog I will present some traditional recipes of Slovenian cuisine and also some other dishes that are often on my family menu and I think might be interesting for you. I hope you will be able to enjoy it too.
In last 15 years of my life I had an opportunity to live in a very different countries around the world. As a sociologist I want to learn as much as possible about different cultures, traditions… I can see how important part of every society, culture is food. And what amazes me the most is really big variety from which we can all benefit and enjoy.