Throughout Slovenia you will find "gostilna" restaurants; traditional places to enjoy good food and wine in good company. Gostilnas often serve dishes prepared to old recipes using local ingredients. As Slovenian countryside is dotted with mainly small family farms, food ingredients are relatively healthy and often organically grown.
There are a variety of great restaurants and pizzerias close to Chalet Lenart; two within walking distance and several within a few minutes’ drive.
You will soon learn that Slovene restaurants cater for healthy appetites built up by all that exercise! The food is always home cooked and although the menu may be limited and perhaps not ‘haute cuisine’, it will be made from the freshest local ingredients and will be both delicious and excellent value.
For such a small country, Slovenia is blessed with an astonishing range of wines, of equally astonishing quality, which you may find hard to believe if you’ve never been there! This is because the Slovene export market in fine wines has been slow to develop, primarily due to low volumes in production of the best wines.
But now times are changing. The quality and sophistication of Slovenian wines is being recognised around the world. Although not yet freely available in off licences and supermarkets, many restaurateurs are getting 'Slovenly', including Heston Blumenthal and Alain Ducasse, and Slovenia is doing really well in the Decanter wine awards.
Slovenia produces a number of different grape varieties, some well-known and some very interesting native ones, like Šipon and Rebula, while more recognisable varieties are lent a sophisticated twist: for instance, Pinot Grigio never tasted so good.
Among international red varieties Pinot Noir and Merlot are worth trying, but the most distinctive red wine is Teran from the Kras sub-region of Primorska, made from a local version of Refosco (Refošk), grown in terra rosa. Best drunk as an accompaniment to homemade pršut (prosciutto).
The limited production means most quality wine is priced around 10 - 15 euros. That said, we’ve bought wine in our local supermarket for 2 euros a litre and while undoubtedly not ‘fine’ it’s a damn sight better than many wines you’d pay £5-6 for in the UK.
The wine growing areas of Podravje and Posavje are within an hour or so of Chalet Lenart, and a day visiting some the many artisan and boutique vineyards is definitely recommended.
Some traditional Slovene dishes
Kranjska klobasa (Carniolan sausage) is probably the best-known Slovenian speciality and is absolutely delicious.
Kraški pršut is dry-cured pork leg. It goes particularly well with a glass of Kras Teran, a red wine grown in the Kras region.
Štruklji is a traditional Slovenian boiled or baked dough roll with a variety of different sweet or savoury filling options, served either as a main or side dish. The best known are tarragon, cottage cheese, walnut, apple and poppy seed štruklji.