Bread in Slovenia

Question: Is bread white, tan, rye? What is the dominant grain? Bread, buns, pasta, grain or?

Bread. One of the essential foods in many cultures. What would French cuisine be without the Baguette? Ethiopian without Injara? Hummus without Pita? America without Wonderbread?

Slovenian bread isn’t very newsworthy. You can buy different types in the many bakeries that are on every other corner, but the bakeries are not on the level of France in terms of sophistication or Italy in terms of yumminess. Although there are bakeries on every corner, they don’t really have much of anything that distinguishes one from the other. I’d say the average bakery in Portland or in a major foodie metropolitan area is probably better. What might be newsworthy, though, is that you can routinely get Buckwheat bread with Walnuts. I love buckwheat-flavored foods, (and so do Slovenians,) so I this is a favorite of mine. In fact, I’ve never seen straight-up buckwheat bread in the states. This tradition should be exported.

Another truly great tradition that should be exported is that you can buy fresh bread by the weight or in halves. My roommates and I regularly buy half a loaf of bread, enabling us to have fresh bread without worrying about eating it before it gets stale. Since there are bakeries on every corner, we can just walk for five minutes in three different directions and pick up a new half loaf of bread when we run out. Brilliant! If I’m buying, I always get a crni kruh, or a brown bread that I think is probably rye-based. No matter what type grain its made out of, it’s whole-grainy, stays moist, and is healthy, filling, and delicious.

Slovenia does have a special bread, called potica. In fact, potica is a point of pride, and it’s practically required to eat it if you come here. Amusingly, most Slovenians I talk to don’t actually care for potica very much. Having tried it multiple times, I can taste why my Slovenian friends don’t like it. There just isn’t much going on in potica, and I’m not sure why. If I describe it to you, you’ll think “yum!” But trust me, you’re not missing much. Generally, potica is a nut roll. I love nuts. I love bread. But potica? Meh. Only once did I try potica and like it, and it was one of those legendary best-ever homemade things that you can’t just run out and buy in the store or even at the farmer’s market. Potica can also come in non-nut varieties as well, and even in savory versions. Again, skip it, unless it is offered to you by a little old lady from Celje.

And that’s it for Slovenian bread!

Pasta: Overcooked.

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2 thoughts on “Bread in Slovenia

  1. Your comments about potica made me smile. My mother is of Slovenian descent and it was (and still is) a yearly tradition at Christmas. My family’s version is amazing! Thin spirals of dough, filled with nuts, drenched in honey. Like a cross between brioche and baklava. It is the one piece of her ethnic background my mother has seen fit to pass on. So I was excited to taste the real thing when I finally paid a brief visit to Slovenia a few years ago. And guess what? It was disappointing. Dry, pretty ordinary. You really have to search to taste it done right. There are actually some pretty good mail order sources in the U.S.

    Enjoy your time in Slovenia. It is a beautiful place, at least the parts we saw.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed my blog post! Slovenia is a very special place, a real “hidden gem.” Every day I wake up feeling lucky to be here, and it has been a joy to explore Slovenia’s special culture, potica and all. 😉

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