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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sampling Slovenian Cuisine with Top Ljubjana Foods

Whenever we visit a new country we love to get to know the local cuisine and taste some local wines and so when we came across Top Ljubljana Food tours we immediately booked. The tour is created to enable you to get to know Ljubljana in under 4 hours, to find out where to go, what to do, what and where to eat as well as learning about Ljubljana and Slovenia's history! It was the perfect mixture of a guided city tour as well as a food tour and we had a fantastic evening learning all about Slovenian cuisine and the history of this incredible country! The tour was fantastic as we not only learnt about and tried dishes from Ljubljana but from all over Slovenia! 


We met our lovely guide Alenka at Ljubljana's iconic triple bridge and we were lucky to have a small group, a British couple and Dan and I. Alenka explained that over the next 3-4 hours we'd be going on a culinary adventure through Ljubljana combining delicious food and drink tastings with historical, cultural and architectural insights. We would be trying the best foods from the best eateries all over the city and she guaranteed us that we'd finish our tour feeling like a local with an insider's knowledge to the city, a full stomach and the confidence to continue exploring Ljubljana and Slovenia. 

Our first stop of the night was Restavracija Güjžina which we were told is probably the only restaurant in Ljubljana which not only holds a selection of dishes but is entirely specialized in food coming from region of Prekmurje, also called granary of Slovenia! It was a lovely, little stylish restaurant where we tried a light, white wine with delicious fresh bread and pumpkin oil which is a specialty in Slovenia and tastes incredible! We were very impressed with the wine and no one in our group had ever tried Slovenian wine so it was a great experience. We then tried Bujta Repa which is a delicious, comforting soup made from pork, turnips and millet - highly recommended when visiting Slovenia! 


From there we had a short walk through the beautiful streets of the old town with Alenka stopping to point out some sights of interest. Our next stop was Okrepčevalnica Ribca, an extremely popular and well established sea food restaurant with a 20-year legacy that have a direct connection with fishermen on the coast of Slovenia ensuring all their food is incredibly fresh! Here we tried fried sardines and calamari paired with another white Slovenian wine which again, we all really enjoyed! The seafood was hot, fresh and full of delicious flavours.


We then continued through the Old Town and past the open-air and undercover markets of Ljubljana and the Cathedral where we stopped to learn about both the Cathedral and its beautiful door! Our third stop of the evening was just around the corner from the Cathedral and was called Klobasarna. The owner of Klobasarna was a man who went from doing something that was passed on to him which was repairing watches to doing something he loves which is cooking sausages! Klobasarna is the first street food place of its kind in Ljubljana to serve one of the most notorious dishes of traditional Slovene cuisine, sausages! Here we tried Kranska Klobasa sausage which was served in fresh bread with mustard and horse radish. It was absolutely delicious and it was evidence how high quality the meat was in the sausages!


Our next stop was one of the most luxurious hotels in all of Ljubljana, the Grand Hotel Union. It was opened in 1905 and at that time it was the finest hotel south of Vienna and Prague and still holds incredibly high standards of service. It is known for it's lavishing interior decoration, refined dining options and rich social life and we sat down in the beautiful, classical Vienna style cafe with a incredibly stacked wine library. Here we tried a delicious wine called Teran, which is also called black wine which was absolutely divine and it paired perfectly with our dried ham which the Slovenians call Prsut! 


Our next walk was the longest walk of the night, though not really long at all but it gave Alenka plenty of time to show us more important Slovenian buildings and statues as well as explaining more about Slovenian history. She was an excellent tour guide, really knowledgeable, friendly, engaging and we also loved learning about her background which gave us a great insight into life in Slovenia.

Our next stop was Pod Lipo which is one of Ljubljana's' oldest inns and has been opened since at least 1820! Inns are the core of Slovenian catering and they're known for their hospitality and ability to provide both accommodation and good food. Pod Lipo is also known for it's peaceful garden in the shade of three hundred year old linden trees, that have also given the name to the inn! Pod Lipo is located just outside the city centre and is extremely popular with locals. Here we tried natural Elderflower juice with Golaz and Zikrofi which was similar to goulash with dumplings and tasted absolutely incredible! The flavours were wonderful and each bite of this warming, comforting meal was divine. We also had our first dessert of the evening at Pod Lipo which was called Struklji which was a warm, savoury dessert which was different to what any of us expected but was lovely!


We then walked back into Ljubljana town centre to Nebotičnik, Ljubljana's skyscraper which is one of Ljubljana's most iconic buildings and also probably the best viewpoints on the skyline of the city. It is home to a restaurant, club and a lounge cafe with classy interior and a selection of delicious in-house made desserts. Here we learnt the history of and also tried Prekhurska Gibanica which is a traditional Slovenian layered cake which was full of delicious, unique flavours and was a great way to end our evening. If you're visiting Ljubljana make sure you head up to the top floor of Nebotičnik because the views are incredible and without a doubt the best views in all of Ljubljana!


We then had a lovely, short stroll through the centre of Ljubljana back to our hotel, Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa. We had a fantastic evening on our tour with Top Ljubljana Foods, before our tour we knew hardly anything about Slovenia, its history and cuisine and we left feeling like experts! Slovenia is truly such an incredible country, Alenka was an excellent tour guide and the tour was a fantastic combination of city and history tour with food tour! We'd highly recommend it to anyone visiting Ljubljana, it's really reasonably priced and we had a fantastic night!


The Aussie Flashpacker experienced our food tour as a guest of Top Ljubljana Foods.
Our opinions are as always, our own.

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