Christmas is right around the corner, and like many countries around the world, the Christmas traditions in Slovenia are centred around celebrating our faith, being with family and close friends, and of course, indulging on good food and drink. Slovenian cuisine plays an integral part of this special time of year.
What are the most popular Traditional Christmas foods in Slovenia?
There are two specific food groups, flour-based and meat-based. The flour-based dishes consist of a bread, such as the gorgeous 'poprtnik' (pictured below). This is a festive sweet bread made at Christmas time.
This sweet decorated bread symbolizes good health and an abundance of good fortune for the upcoming New year!
A Christmas table is definitely not complete without the “QUEEN of ALL Slovenian desserts” our delicious national treasure — the Traditional Slovenian Potica.
Traditionally the 'Potica' has a walnut filling, but it can also include a poppyseed, honey, raisin, cheese, tarragon or chocolate filling. If you are looking for a savoury version the 'pork crackling' filling is the one for you.
The dessert platters, are always so plentiful too, highlighting many varieties of mouthwatering homemade cookies, different types of cakes, sweet breads and sweet buns filled with jam -- like the traditional 'Buhteljni'. (pictured below)
Traditional Slovenian Sweet buns filled with jam | Domači Buhteljni | Buhtlji
Slovenian Christmas Feast: Meat-based Dishes
"It's bad luck to begin the new year by scratching backwards with claws; it's better to push forwards with a snout!"
Slovenian's have a strong belief that by eating pork, it will bring you good luck and a prosperous New year. December, is also the time for 'koline'. In Slovenia, 'koline' is a tradition where families and friends, of the same village, slaughter a pig and store away meat dishes for the winter months ahead.
Every region has their own special 'pork' dish and they each claim that they have their own special recipe in which to prepare it. Some of these delicious dishes include; blood sausages (krvavice), kranjska (carniolan sausage), 'šunka' (prosciutto) 'zabilo' or 'zaseka' (lard), ocvirki (pork crackling), pork roast, preserved meat in a special container called a tünka.
Christmas dinner in the Primorska region of Slovenia, has to include bakalá, a dish made from dried salted cod, and in Ljubljana, 'carp' is mandatory at Christmas. Some other fish and seafood dishes would include, shrimps, clams, venison, carpaccio, steak, and lamb.
Seasonal Produce, Vegetables & Fish Dishes:
Slovenian's pride themselves by being a "Green" country so it goes without saying that nature plays a big role in our cuisine and what is served along side our delicious main dishes during each season. It's all about eating fresh seasonal produce, from farm to table! The seasons always dictate the holiday celebratory dishes.
In December, the seasonal vegetable dishes include cabbage, turnip, lamb’s lettuce, chicory, and of course, potatoes!
Cabbage and turnip were most often fermented, and the fermentation process still is very popular to this day. There are many amazing health benefits with enjoying eating them this way - BONUS!
The most popular Slovenian side dish, any time of year, is our famous potatoes. 'Pražen krompir ', 'Restan krompir', 'tenstan krompir'. These potatoes are pan-fried (or sauteed) with lard and onions. It's no surprise, with how popular these potatoes are in Slovenia, that we even have an Association for the Recognition of Pan-fried Potatoes as a main dish!
Slovenian Sauteed Potatoes (Pražen, Restan, Tenstan krompir) ( *Serves 2)
- 4 potatoes or 500g
- 1/2 to 1 cup beef soup stock (goveja juha)
- about 2 Tbsp's lard (you can use butter or oil) * optional: to include 1 Tbsp of 'ocvirki' (pork crackling)
- 1 onion, chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
Boil potatoes in water. Once done cooking, drain, cool and slice the potatoes. Set aside. Fry the onions with the lard (butter or oil) until translucent, add the sliced potatoes. Mix all together, pushing the spatula down on the potatoes to make them into a "restan krompir". To transform them into a "tenstan krompir" we ladle some beef stock (goveja juha) to the potatoes! Serve as a side to your favourite meat dish. Dober tek!
Need ideas for a delicious Christmas menu? Tap on a photo below to bring you to the easy to follow step-by-step Recipe Directions:
HOW TO MAKE A ROASTED DUCK
BREADED CHICKEN/PORK SKEWERS | CITY CHICKEN
SARMA | CABBAGE ROLLS
SALTED CAKE | BELOKRANJSKA POGACA
JUICY CHICKEN SCHNITZEL
SLOVENIAN MEATLOAF | Štefani Pečenka
Easy Homemade | Grated Pasta Dough for Soup | Ribana Kaša
SLOVENIAN CREPES FILLED WITH RICOTTA CHEESE
How to Make ČEVAPČIČI
TRADITIONAL SLOVENIAN GOULASH
TRADITIONAL SLOVENIAN POTICA
SLOVENIAN SWEET BUNS FILLED WITH JAM | BUHTELJNI
KRHKI FLANCATI | ANGEL WING COOKIES
ANISE COOKIES | Janeževi Upognjenci Traditional Slovenian Recipe
CHOCOLATE WALNUT MERINGUE CAKE
KIFLICE | JAM FILLED CRESCENT COOKIES
STARAM MAMA'S WALNUT MERINGUE COOKIES
VANILLA HALF MOON COOKIES | WALNUT CRESCENTS
Which of these Slovenian Christmas dishes have you tried before or would you love to try during this upcoming Christmas season?
❤️ I want to see your delicious photos!
I hope these recipes becomes new favourites for you and your family to enjoy for years to come. If you make something and post it on social media, please tag #sloveniankitchen or @slovenska_kuhinja. I love seeing what you're making!
Lots of love,
Michelle Pušič Ryall XO