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Slovenia Dinner

Dolenjske Toplice, May 8, 2015

Famous Slovenian personalities inspired the menu

The theme of the dinner was famous Slovenian personalities connected to the region around the town of Dolenjske Toplice – near Novo Mesto in south-eastern Slovenia.

Robert Gregorčič, Chef of Gostilna Oštarija, and his team prepared a well-researched, interesting thematic dinner. All the dishes were in some way related to those – in particular from the fields of literature, art and social sciences – who had spent at least a part of their life in the surrounding region.

On a warm spring Friday evening, we were welcomed with an aperitif in the restaurant’s courtyard. The menu (together with the names of those personalities who inspired the courses) was as follows:


Primož Trubar (1508-1586) – Protestant reformer
Rye cake with walnuts, stuffed bacon rolls, fried curd, prunes cooked in brandy
Cviček Sparkling Wine – Frelih


Julija Primic (1816-1864) – poet
Snails, pureed beetroot and potato salad
Pleter Chardonnay 2011

Janez Trdina (1830-1905) – writer and historian
Creamy soup of frog’s legs with wild garlic

Oton Župančič (1878 – 1949) – poet, translator and playwright
Sheep’s cheese dumplings and asparagus tempura
Sturm Rosé 2013

Božidar Jakac (1899-1989) – artist
Pork ‘needles’1 on butterbean purée
chanterelles with hazelnuts, caramelised carrots with fir honey

Kerin Blaufränkish 2011

Pino Mlakar (1907-2006) – ballet dancer, choreographer, and teacher
Roasted corn dumplings with strawberry cream
Keltis Muscatel 2013

1 ‘Needles’ are a Dolenjska specialty. Belly pork is spread out to form a square. Pork trimmings and fresh or smoked bacon are chopped to form a farce which is seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, mint, thyme and basil. The pork with its filling is then rolled into a thick sausage which is on the side and at both ends stitched using a needle and thread (hence the nickname of ‘needles’. You can leave it to rest or even put it in a smoker but most often a ‘needle’ is cooked straight away by baking it in the oven with plenty of lard used for regular basting.

During his closing words which included special thanks to our hosts, Conseiller Gastronomique, Professor Dr Janez Bogataj pointed out that the “thematic dinners” may serve as an excellent opportunity for a new approach to the understanding of the Slovenian culinary mastery.

Tomaž Dular