Cuisine and wine
The traditional cuisine of Dolenjska was certainly influenced by the neighbouring countries and their traditional dishes, so it is possible to find Italian, Hungarian, Balkan and other characteristics in the local cuisine.
Everyone should definitely try ‘štruklji’ (rolled dumplings), ‘žganci’(hard-boiled corn mush), ‘matevž’ (a kind of traditional side dish made of mashed beans and potatoes that goes well with meat and stewed cabbage), different kinds of porridge (millet, barley and buckwheat) and buckwheat and corn žganci. We also serve polenta, ‘mlinci’ (flatbread), stewed sauerkraut and sour turnips, which were once the staple diet of our ancestors. Those who have a liking for meat should definitely try grilled lamb and roast suckling pig, pork sausages, ‘krvavice’ (sausages similar to black pudding), venison, roast meat and fish – the freshwater trout, with plenty of home-grown vegetables.
One of the specialties is the traditional food served with ‘koline’ (pig slaughtering) which is still an important event in rural Slovenia, almost a kind of holiday. Poultry is also popular, especially roasted duck with mlinci and red cabbage. The region is well-known for its excellent dried meat products – many people in Dolenjska make their own salami and sausages.
In the past, people in Dolenjska only ate one variety of mushy potica; now it has been replaced by ‘ocvirkovka’ or ‘špehovka’ (potica made with dripping or lard), which is still traditionally eaten during Shrovetide, just as the walnut potica is eaten during Easter, or ‘poprtnjak’ (traditional Christmas bread) is eaten at Christmas. One of the oldest types of cake that is often mentioned is ‘pogača’ (flat cake) that is associated with Christian holidays. Some types are specially shaped and decorated.
One of the best-known flat cakes is the Belokranjska pogača; no feast or wine tasting in a vineyard cottage is complete without it. Belokranjska pogača is a protected traditional dish. The inhabitants of this region place a special value on homemade bread. It is still baked in a lot of homes across Dolenjska, Bela krajina & Kočevsko-ribniško and can be found in many good inns.
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