As Slovenia’s international profile rises in terms of travel and tourism it’s well beyond time that visitors to the country were encouraged to see more than Ljubljana and Bled – with most tourists staying for less than two days and following the same routes.
The Slovenian Tourist Board, along with the various tourist offices around the country, as well as private businesses, are making many efforts in this regard. One is getting people to see more of the country, such as with the recently launched Juliana Trail, with some of the best hikes and views in the country, and the Bike Slovenia Green tours, which take you from Kranjska Gora to Koper. But in addition to trying to broaden the range of experiences on offer there’s also a move to deepen them, so that people can get the most of out of their time in the country. One approach – and one we’ll be hearing ever more of in the run up to 2021, when Slovenia becomes a European Region of Gastronomy – is to open up the world of local food and drink.
One event that will give a taste of what’s on offer is the month-long November Gourmet programme in Ljubljana. This is a packed schedule of tastings, markets, menus, workshops, meals, discussions, and so on, which together show there’s a lot more to Slovenian food and drink than Kranjska klobasa, kremsnita and Union beer.
The full schedule can be found here, with a huge number of events over the month. It’s only in Slovene at the time of writing but easily digested by Google Translate, and when an English schedule goes up it’ll be found here. Some highlights follow below.
From 4 to 10 November a number of restaurants and cafés will highlight locally-produced, seasonal dishes for every taste, specially marked on their menus, with the names participating being Gostilna na Gradu, Hiša pod Gradom, Bistro Ek, Magda, Sputnik, Falafel, Paninoteka, Slovenska hiša, Slovenska hiša Figovec, Moji štruklji, Grand café Ljubljana, and Kodila in Landerik.
Martinovanje, St Martin’s Day, celebrates the new wine, and in Ljubljana this is marked with the wine route in the Old Town on Saturday, 9 November. Here just under 100 winemakers and food producers will be selling their wares to crowds of lively folk, getting livelier, in an event that can take you around the country in a few dozen glasses.
The following week, on 14 and 15 November, the 22nd Slovenian Wine Festival comes to Cankarjev dom, bringing together producers, experts and enthusiasts, while Mira Šemić will present the Little Wine School on 28 November.
Slovenian craft beer has exploded on the scene and is evolving fast, with Lajbah Pub being one of the centres of experimentation and exploration in the capital. It’s thus fitting that its hosting three evening events on beer: a panel talk (13 November) and two dinner events pairing various dishes with beer (20 November), as well as with both wine and beer (27 November).
Every Sunday in November the Bistro Švicarija in Tivoli Park will offer a Ljubljana Sunday Lunch, with the food served along with classic hits from the golden age of Slovenian pop music. The same venue will also host a five-course St Martin’s Dinner, with both duck Slovenian pop songs, on 9 November.
Want to cook the classics of Slovenian cuisine? Check out our growing list of recipes
Elsewhere, there’s a meat-focused seven-course Winner, Winner, Beef Dinner at the Rashushka Food Studio (2 and 7 November), as organised by Meat Business and Karakter Distillery. Rashushka will also a special menu introducing the food of Ancient Rome on 23 November.
If you prefer to make your own food, then Rashushka Food Studio have workshop on healthy bread making (15 November), a latte art and tea workshop (16 November), and a workshop on how to use spices
The 66th Slovenian Hospitality and Tourism Convention (11 to 13 November) will include events such as live competitions, a walk through the flavours of Slovenia, lectures, and a charity gala dinner featuring the top chefs Igor Jagodic, Jure Tomič and Tomaž Kavčič, with a wine selection by Mira Šemić. The Convention will also see the presentation of the updated, second edition of the Gault & Millau Slovenia culinary guide, as well as the Gault & Millau Ljubljana / Ljubljana Quality guide to the city.
The New Taste of Ljubljana competition calls on entrants to come up with an original recipe using a set list of ingredients, and then to upload a photo of the dish to gourmet-lj.si between 2 and 13 November. As of writing we don’t know the ingredients, but will update this / write a new story when we do. The winners will then be announced at the November Gourmet Finale on 22 November.
If you prefer taking pictures to making food, then between 2 and 30 November the My Gourmet Ljubljana competition for the best culinary photo is taking place on the @gourmet_ljubljana Instagram profile. Just take a picture of some “Ljubljana food” add post it on Instagram with the #gourmetlj hashtag.